It takes only a scroll through the comments on the site to see that Quentin Goodin has his detractors. He’s “having a horrific year,” or it’s his shot selection, or he isn’t passing well enough, and so on and so on. A venture into Twitter isn’t recommended for anyone fond of Q and would presumably be traumatic for his family members. Not since Dee Davis has a player drawn so much attention, and ire, from the fanbase almost regardless of the game.
There’s nothing wrong with critiquing performance as a fan, it’s part of the game. The question becomes whether Q deserves the vitriol. Increasingly this year, it’s appearing that the answer is no. Goodin is averaging 8.1/2.7/4.0 on .381/.348/.600 shooting. Despite the online impression that Xavier’s point guard has cratered, those numbers are eerily similar to Q’s career averages of 8.1/2.7/4.3 on .388/.299/.676 shooting.
So what made everyone #madonline? There’s no denying that Goodin got off to an awful start this season. Through the UConn game his numbers were, quite frankly, appalling. 4.8/1.7/3.0 on .278/.250/.444 shooting. In that span he was shooting 2.7 threes per game and taking six shots overall. In the 28 minutes per game that he was playing, he was just bad.
After that, Q almost flipped a switch. After the UConn game, Q made a couple of adjustments. For one, he started shooting the ball more, not less. From six shots a game, Goodin has been taking nearly nine per game in five more minutes per game. That increase in shot frequency has not come with an increase in three point attempts, that number has stayed essentially the same. That speaks of Goodin getting to the rim more and, more importantly, actually finishing once he gets there. Inside the arc Q is finishing at a 45.7% rate, up from 31.3%
The raw numbers since UConn are those of an above average point guard. (It’s worth noting here that it has been seven game, more than half the season, of this). Q is averaging 10.9/3.6/4.9 on an excellent shooting line of .443/.423/.688. Turnovers are basically the same despite an increase in minutes and his defensive rating has held firm.
So what has changed? For starters, Q is getting into better positions. Tyrique Jones, Zach Freemantle, and Jason Carter have been able to find the guard lurking on the backside of the defense as teams collapse on the post. Jones own effectiveness inside is part of the reason that Goodin has more space, as is Xavier’s overall increase in shooting in the ball. Paul Scruggs is shooting 33% behind the arc, as is Bryce Moore. Jason Carter is shooting 30%, and KyKy Tandy is right there with him. Q leads the team overall at 34.8%, but as the rest of the team slowly climbs toward mediocrity, space opens.
As of right now Xavier has a point guard capable of taking this collection of talent a long way. It’s not reasonable to assume Q will keep shooting 42% behind the arc, but he’s demonstrated before that he can shoot the ball well for long stretches. If he remains a threat from there and keeps finishing inside, he’s a legitimate scoring option. Against TCU Q set a second half of the season high with three turnovers, but more than compensated with 11 assists. He can do that, and if he can do that, Xavier can keep winning big games.