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Should we be concerned about Quentin Goodin?

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Xavier’s highly touted freshman is off to a rocky start, is it time to get worried?

NCAA Basketball: North Dakota State at Xavier Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

These are the moments when it’s instructive to remember who the people we weekly stake our happiness on are. Quentin Goodin is a college freshman from Campbellsville, Kentucky who is currently adjusting to living on campus, living in Ohio, taking semi-serious classes, college girls, and not having Mom and Dad essentially within earshot. Quentin is also playing basketball for a team ranked in the top 15 in the nation and under all the scrutiny that comes both with that, and with being Mr. Basketball in any state. (Goodin wasn’t in KY, though he was a finalist). I say all of this because Goodin is not thriving at the moment, and simply piling on just doesn’t seem right.

It’s probably not the easiest task in the world to back up Edmond Sumner. While the starting point guard is vapor thin but somehow seems to have the otherworldly leg power of Usain Bolt combined with ability to maneuver the basketball as deftly as a yo-yo, it’s going to be difficult to match up off the bench. Thus far, Goodin is posting a 3.2/1.3/1.9 line on 46% shooting in about 15 minutes per game. Those numbers actually aren’t bad on their face, but they’re hiding some serious issues.

Quentin Goodin turns the ball 35% of the time that he touches it. That’s worse than LAJ last year and roughly comparable to LAJ’s freshman campaign. In both of those cases, though, Xavier had Myles Davis, Remy Abell, and yes, Brandon Randolph to fall back on. Now, Xavier has no other point guard options. It’s Edmond Sumner, Q, or a swing man. With Xavier already not doing terribly well in protecting the ball, a backup guard who heaves it everywhere isn’t really an asset. If there’s one reason that Goodin isn’t playing as much as he could be or that Xavier seems to stagnate when he plays, it’s this. It’s not your imagination, the Musketeers are markedly worse with Goodin on the floor.

The last time that Goodin posted back to back games with a positive offensive rating was against UNI and then NDSU. He’s made multiple shots in a game once since then and had multiple turnovers in seven of his eight appearances after that game against the Bison. In short, it’s not been good or even particularly close to it. The last time Goodin made a three? You guessed it, NDSU.

Somewhere underneath that avalanche of bad news is a very talented ballplayer, but is there any reason to think he can swim his way back to the top? Well, yes. Currently, Quentin’s top statistical comps are Dexter Strickland, Kedren Johnson, and Justin Cobbs. That LAJ doesn’t appear there is something of a comfort. Goodin profiles well with those players because he also passes the ball well. His assist rate of 21% is very workable if the TO rate wasn’t so high. You may not have heard of Kedren Johnson, that’s because he never figured it out and instead just kept coughing the ball up. Dexter Strickland went on to be a solid piece for a good UNC team, and Justin Cobbs, well, Justin Cobbs was excellent.

So yes, there are reasons to be concerned about Quentin Goodin. He simply turns the ball over way too much to be an effective ballhandler at the college level, and his outside shooting hasn’t come around yet at all. On the other hand, he’s a big body guard who has played mostly without fear this year. He attacks the rim frequently and finishes there better than Sumner did as a freshman or Myles Davis ever has. He also occasionally does this. Right now a guy with his statistical profile and body size can go either way. Coach Mack turned Dee Davis into an elite point guard and figured out a way to survive with Brad Redford handling the ball. There’s no reason to think that Quentin Goodin still can’t be exactly what was advertised.