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Program Changers: Reflecting on Jordan Goodwin and Hasahn French Ahead of Senior Night

It feels somewhat surreal that Monday night will be Jordan Goodwin and Hasahn French’s last game in the Chaifetz Arena. Part of that is due to COVID-19 cutting the past two years short, but Goodwin and French have been so good for so long, while so completely embodying the Team Blue philosophy of Travis Ford’s Saint Louis teams, that it feels that the pair could be Billikens forever. 4 years and 110 games together have gone by in a blink of an eye for Billikens fans, and for what feels like eternity to fans of the 13 other A-10 teams. 

Goodwin and French have spent the last 4 years terrorizing opponents, racking up steals, blocks and rebounds while etching their names all over the Billiken record book. Goodwin and French are currently 11th and 25th respectively in points scored and 4th and 5th in total rebounds (Goodwin has 960 and French has 950, so it’s not out of the question that they could reach 1,000 rebounds apiece), Goodwin is the all-time leader in steals and 6th in assists, and French is the all-time leader in blocks. By any and all standards, they are two of the greatest Billikens of all time. Most teams would be lucky to have a player who is a walking double-double. For the past 2 years, SLU has had two. We may never see another duo quite like them again. 

The Billikens are on the outside looking in on the NCAA Tournament, and it likely will take winning the conference championship for French and Goodwin to go dancing one last time after an unfortunate month-long COVID pause and subsequent struggles. However, SLU’s rampage through Brooklyn at the A-10 Tournament in 2018 is one of the greatest weeks of Billiken history, and last year’s team was looking very dangerous before the world shut down as well. Goodwin and French were the only teammates in the country to both average a double double, as Goodwin averaged 15.5 points and 10.4 rebounds and French averaged 12.4 points and 10.4 rebounds, which is just absurd even before you consider that Goodwin is a 6’3 guard. 

Regardless of what happens against UMass and in the conference tournament this year, Goodwin and French will have been a part of winning season’s in all four years at SLU. That may not seem terribly surprising now, but when the pair arrived on campus, SLU had suffered three straight 21 loss seasons, as the Jim Crews era collapsed and Travis Ford began his rebuild. In the three years before Goodwin and French’s freshman year, SLU went 34-63. With Goodwin and French on campus, SLU has gone 75-42. 

Simply put, Jordan Goodwin and Hasahn French have been program-changing players in the purest sense of the word. Goodwin put SLU back on the map as a place for local recruits to come play. Since the Althoff High product committed, Ford has secured fellow local stars such as Yuri Collins, Terrence Hargrove Jr., Fred Thatch Jr. and Javonte Perkins. Goodwin and Ford have revitalized SLU’s claim to being the city’s team and Goodwin’s decision to commit is the catalyst for all of it. 

French’s decision to come to SLU is no less important. Another four star prospect, French chose to come play for a team that not only was putrid in the past three years, but one that was halfway across the country from his native New York, and his presence down low has been an essential part of SLU’s identity from his first minute on the court for the Billikens. 

It’d be tempting to call Senior Night at Chaifetz the end of an era, given Goodwin and French’s importance to the program. However, when they are honored (alongside fellow senior Perkins, who has not ruled out returning to SLU next season with the extra year of eligibility the NCAA has granted all players this season), it will merely be the end of the beginning. 

Goodwin and French have established an identity and culture that will continue beyond their time in a Billiken uniform, through their relentless grit, toughness and team play. Very few players can say they accomplished that at any level of basketball, but these two doubtlessly can. 

SLU fans have been extremely lucky to have had the privilege of watching Jordan Goodwin and Hasahn French the past four years and even luckier that their impact will continue even when they aren’t suiting up. And though there is only one more game at Chaifetz, the A-10 tournament follows, with one last chance for the pair to conjure some magic. No matter what happens, Billiken fans can be content in the knowledge they are lucky enough to watch Goodwin and French leave it all on the floor in Billiken blue at least a couple more times.