Little known fact about Travis Ford: he’s a decent recruiter. The final ESPN 100 rankings for the class of 2017 make this clear, as both members of Ford’s first recruiting class are included in the list. Guard/attack dog/hometown hero Jordan Goodwin is ranked as the 52nd best player and forward/dunk machine/physical freak Hasahn French is ranked at 87th. They are the only two players in the ESPN 100 signed to A-10 schools.
Based solely off rankings, Ford has done an impressive job recruiting, but the type of players Goodwin and French are make it impossible to not be excited for next year.
Both players have incredible high motors and are extremely tough. They both already are physically ready for the A-10, with Goodwin at 6’4, 220 and French at 6’7, 230. Goodwin is a relentless scorer who can overpower other guards driving to the rim, and has the playmaking ability to play point. For perspective on the matchup problems Goodwin will pose, he was recruited to play tight end at Iowa, and now he’ll be playing in the backcourt in the A-10. French has dunks that make the rim look like it’s nine feet tall and is one of the hardest working rebounders in the class of 2017. The two highest ranked recruits coming to the A-10 are also two of the recruits with the highest motor, and that bodes very well for the Billikens.
Taking into account transfers Adonys Henriquez, DJ Foreman, Javon Bess and Ty Graves as well, and the Billikens are going to be a completely different team, and with the A-10 going into a down year, it’s entirely possible that the Billikens could be challenging for a NCAA Tournament bid if things go right, and all but certain they’ll see vast improvement compared to last season.
Goodwin and French are ushering in a new era of Billikens basketball, and a new style too. Simply put, the Billikens just haven’t had athletes like these two players in forever. Mike Crawford led the team in dunks last season, and he played through a pretty serious hamstring injury the entire season. French probably had more dunks in one high school game than Crawford did all season. Goodwin is a pure winner and no one seems more determined to bring glory back to their hometown school than him. Much like the first new Billiken mascot that was replaced, I’m not sure exactly what SLU is next season, but it’s definitely frightening.