Posted Apr 16 2011 11:44AM
In his four-year career at the College of Charleston, Andrew Goudelock squeezed off nearly 1,000 3-point shots, almost 400 of which found the bottom of the net.
That was a success ratio of 40 percent, a great number by anyone's standards. But what's more impressive than that number of takes and makes is this: On most of those shots, it's doubtful whether Goudelock knew or cared where he was on the floor in relation to the 3-point line. When Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said before his team's NIT game against Charleston last month that Goudelock will "shoot it from one dribble over half court, but he makes them," he was only half kidding. Goudelock's got popcorn stand range and the cold-blooded confidence to let it fly.
College coaches talk all the time about how, if a player has one great skill, it could be enough to land him in the NBA. If that's true, Goudelock, with his pure stroke and next-level range, has a chance.
"He definitely has a chance," Charleston coach Bobby Cremins said. "His shooting is uncanny, just uncanny. It's really spectacular. It's a sight to behold."
Just in case anyone forgot about his one great skill, Goudelock has been on a mission in April to jog some memories. At the Final Four, he won the 3-point shooting contest one day and scored a game-high tying 21 points in the East-West All-Star game the next. A few days later in the Portsmouth Invitational, Goudelock put that textbook jumper of his on display one more time, taking 22 3-pointers in three games and making 13 of them. Yes, that's 59 percent.
Granted it was still the college 3-point line, but as NBA director of scouting Ryan Blake said, matter-of-factly, "an NBA 3-point line was not needed to gauge [Goudelock's] range. It is well beyond that."
Some shooters are born and some are made. Goudelock is a little of both. "I was born with the touch," he said, "but I had to work on getting it to where it is."
Goudelock calls his pre-high school jump shot a "flick." He knew it wouldn't hold up.
"I could make shots, but it looked funny," Goudelock said. "I knew when I got older, it would get blocked. People were getting taller, and I'm not that tall. I knew once I got the form and the mechanics down, it was all about repetition. And then it was the mental aspect. I've always had confidence in my shooting."
That confidence was shaken four years ago when Goudelock, who's from Stone Mountain, Ga., showed up at the College of Charleston. His parents had remembered Cremins when he coached at Georgia Tech and wanted their son to play for him. Goudelock, whose Division I scholarship offers could have been counted on one hand, reluctantly agreed. But homesickness set in quickly, and then the clashes with Cremins started.
"At first we didn't like each other at all," Goudelock said, laughing at the recollection. "He'll tell you. It was really rocky. And I was immature. I thought I knew everything. I didn't think I'd be at Charleston very long."
Cremins wasn't about to let Goudelock slip away, but he never went easy on him.
"I was hard on him early on," Cremins said. "But I give him all the credit. He finally bought in and understood where I was coming from. He knew I had put some players in the league at Georgia Tech. And that's his ultimate goal. I laid out some things he had to do in order to do that. And he's still working on them."
Which brings us to the point Goudelock alluded to earlier. If he were 6-foot-6, you wouldn't be reading this story because it wouldn't have been written. Goudelock would have been a certain NBA draft pick as a game-breaking shooter with prototypical two-guard size.
But Goudelock isn't 6-6. He's 6-2, which means, as Cremins said, "the scouts would love to see him play some point guard."
Cremins did his best to accommodate Goudelock this season, letting him run the offense at times. And to his credit, Goudelock averaged 4.2 assists, even as he was hoisting 322 3-pointers. But Goudelock also committed 119 turnovers, indicating his decision making could stand a bit of tightening.
In his first two games at Portsmouth, Goudelock showed he had combo guard possibilities, averaging 24 points, making 12 of 17 3-pointers (70 percent!) and passed for six assists against four turnovers. But then came Goudelock's third game, and in a head-to-head matchup with former Penn State star Talor Battle, he committed five turnovers and handed out just one assist. Worse, he was 5 of 15 from the floor and 1 of 5 from three.
"When he came back from Portsmouth, he talked more about the game he didn't play well than the two he did," Cremins said. "He said, 'Coach, I didn't finish it.' But he's still going to get his shot [in workouts for NBA teams]. And when he gets his shot, he's going to have to do his thing."
Goudelock, ever the competitor, won't lack for confidence in those workouts. And he'll also take some added inspiration with him.
While searching the Internet before the season began, he came across an old story about another Andrew Goudelock. It was the brother of Goudeock's biological father and the man for whom he was named. The first Andrew Goudelock was a high school football star in Georgia, but his legacy is not how well he played, but that he played at all. After he was diagnosed with bone cancer and had to have his left leg amputated just below the knee, he kept playing, without a prosthesis. And he didn't just hobble around logging time. After his senior season, Andrew Goudelock I was chosen to play in the Georgia high school all-star game.
"I'd never heard the story," Goudelock said. "I told coach Cremins, and he talked to the team about it. And he said there was a message in it for me, to have courage like my uncle did, no matter what happens."
In the weeks ahead, when he laces his shoes just before stepping on the court for workouts with NBA teams, Goudelock will think of his uncle -- who died in 1986 -- and be reminded that anything is possible.
"I've been lucky enough to do a lot in my career," Goudelock said. "But I have a lot more to do. My goal is to play in the NBA, but I don't want to just be on a team. I want to contribute and do as much as I can for the organization I go to. I want to do my best, just like my uncle did, regardless of the challenges I'm going to face."
Chris Dortch is the editor of the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook.
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