July 17, 2011

UA in top four for dual-sport star

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. | Shaquille Goodwin may be destined for a career in the NBA one day, but the 6-foot-8, 230-pound big man isn't ready to give up football, the sport he started playing first while growing up.

"I'll play both sports," Goodwin said. "I started out playing football before basketball, so I'm not just going to give it up."

Goodwin recently named Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Memphis as his top four schools and said all four are giving him the chance to play both sports when he gets on campus.

"The reason those schools stand out is because other schools come and go, but from start to finish, those are the main schools that stayed on me and showed me they're interested," Goodwin said. "Those top four schools have said that I can play football and basketball. That's why they're in my top four."

The Memphis native said he has talked to both Anthony Grant and Nick Saban about the possibility of playing both sports if he were to choose Alabama.

"(Saban) told me that he doesn't mind the basketball thing, but he likes players to focus on football mainly," Goodwin said. "He said I can still play both."

The Rivals.com five-star in basketball projects as a tight end or defensive end on the football field. He visited Tuscaloosa last fall for the Crimson Tide's 31-6 victory over Florida.

"I went up there for a football game, and I've never seen that many people at a game before," Goodwin said. "It was cool. I haven't been to a basketball game, but I need to go."

Grant, UA's head basketball coach, followed Goodwin and Memphis YOMCA around this past week at the Nike Peach Jam where Goodwin helped lead his team to the finals of the event.

"I like it because he's been consistent all year, so it's not like I'm surprised that he's here," Goodwin said. "I like the support."

Goodwin's relationship with Grant and the UA coaching staff is one of the main reasons the Crimson Tide is one of the main contenders to land his signature.

"I think he knows how to have fun, but then again, he knows when to get serious," Goodwin said. "That's what I'm looking for in a coach. I think if I did go there, we would have a good relationship."

The Decatur, Ga., native is not sure when he's going to make a decision but wants to sign his letter of intent with his teammates from Southwest Dekalb High School.

This summer, Goodwin has been playing with both Memphis YOMCA and the Atlanta Celtics on the AAU circuit, and he also competed in a number of national camps in the month of June.

"It's been real crazy," Goodwin said. "I've been to like 11 camps and five tournaments, so every week, I've got something to do."

Once basketball wraps up, Goodwin won't have much of a break before he has turn his attention back to the football field.

Reach Greg Ostendorf at [email protected]

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