Xavier basketball was rolling to a nerve-wracking end to the season, then a global pandemic hit the brakes so hard I went right into the windshield. We’ve shaken ourselves off a bit here and will continue, somewhat belatedly, with our breakdown of one of the weirdest Xavier seasons on record.
Quentin Goodin didn’t end up the first Musketeer to lead the team in assists for four straight years. That he didn’t was a function of a season that went oddly, then badly, then devolved into a series of fits and starts. Xavier’s point guard became the lightning rod for a frustrated fanbase as he tried, and struggled, to get his game back to the level it peaked at in his sophomore year. When the team finally walked off at MSG, it was Quentin Goodin who was most left wondering where it had all gone wrong.
Goodin was always something of an underappreciated player. He stepped in for Edmond Sumner in his freshman year, had a good sophomore year, then battled injuries. His numbers were never flashy, even though his game occasionally was. He could shoot, but wasn’t a consistent shooting threat. He could get into the lane and finish, but struggled to beat his man off the dribble at times. For Xavier fans used to watching Tu Holloway, Dee Davis, and Edmond Sumner run the offense from the lane, Goodin’s style of keeping play in front of him wasn’t bad, just different.
Q started every game until Xavier’s January 22nd win at Georgetown. In those 18 games he posted an efficiency of 100 or better eight times. Five times, his efficiency was under 60 (and once it was 61). Even as the team picked up wins over UConn, St. John’s, and a host of cupcakes, Goodin never got his game going. The one thing that didn’t waver was his ability to set his teammates up. Q averaged four assists per game in that span and had games of six, seven, eight, and 11 assists.
Come the middle of Big East play, though, it was clear something was wrong with Goodin. He couldn’t buy a bucket, but he kept putting them up. Despite missing two games with an injury, and shooting 28.4%, Goodin was still third on the team in threes attempted. That two game break came after a four game stretch in which he made just 2-28 shot attempts. When Q returned from injury, it was a to a team where he was no longer the starting point guard.
In the first game back he was a spark off the bench, pouring in 19 on 5-10 shooting in a double overtime loss to Marquette. In the next game he shot 2-5 but had five turnovers to go with no assists. A game later he was 4-8 from the floor with three assists. It seemed like Q had found a role as a solid backup, but once again things changed. After that game against DePaul Quentin wouldn’t make a three pointer for an entire month. For the rest of the season he only made eight shots. The turnovers decreased, but so did the assists as Q increasingly became a one dimensional player who had lost his dimension. When he got back in the starting lineup after an injury to Paul Scruggs, he managed 14/3/4 in three games.
Quentin Goodin had an unusual arc at Xavier and didn’t deserve the derision that he occasioned by the end of it. From savior, to burgeoning star, to struggling starter, and finally to bit player, Q accepted each role as it came. Unfortunately that meant he didn’t make Xavier history in his final season, but his failure was simply in execution, not effort. Ultimately, he gave what he had, which is all that can reasonably be asked.