Noie: Everything about to change for Notre Dame freshman Dane Goodwin

Nobody could find the guy who had been a key contributor to the cause.
ND Insider

{child_flags:featured}THE GAME CHANGES

{child_byline}Nobody could find the guy who had been a key contributor to the cause.

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He wasn’t in the Notre Dame locker room. Or out in the adjacent hallway. He wasn’t back in the NBA arena where he had just played one of the best games of his young college career, or sitting on the bus waiting for a return ride to campus.

Minutes after Notre Dame snapped a two-game losing streak Saturday with an 88-80 victory over Purdue in the eighth-annual Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, freshman guard Dane Goodwin already had showered and changed and packed up his stuff and was gone. Disappeared.

Poof!

Five, 10, 15 minutes passed. Still no sign of No. 23. Goodwin eventually was located sharing some quality time with his family, who’d made the two-and-half hour drive across Interstate 70 from their home in suburban Columbus, Ohio. Summoned back into the bowels of the building to meet the media, Goodwin offered a quick apology for his quicker exit. He was just doing what he’d done each of the previous nine games — get back to the locker room, get showered, get changed and get out. He didn’t think anyone would want to talk with him.

Those days of anonymity may be over after how the 6-foot-5 guard operated Saturday, and how his role is about to change for the rest of this season, maybe for the rest of his career.

No more early exits post-game. Goodwin’s going to be around. Likely a lot

With the loss of senior guard and captain Rex Pflueger to a season-ending left knee injury suffered late in Saturday’s game, Goodwin rotates into a role of a key guy. A really key guy. When Notre Dame (7-3) hosts Binghamton on Tuesday, Goodwin makes the first of what could be a whole lot of starts in an Irish uniform.

He’s ready to answer. He showed as much Saturday.

“It’s gotta be high,” Goodwin said of his confidence level. “I’m stepping into a new role here and I feel good. I’ve got the guys around me picking up, helping, putting me in spots.”

His game was headed this way. Maybe not yet in a starter’s sense, but certainly a main rotation guy. Goodwin entered the week having played at least 21 minutes in four of the last five games. He’s averaging 5.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 17.9 minutes. He might not play fewer than 17 minutes a game the rest of the season. Pflueger’s loss — large from a pure leadership standpoint — also leaves a big minutes void in the rotation. Pflueger was averaging 30.5 minutes per game. He often was one of two Irish (along with fellow captain T.J. Gibbs) that coach Mike Brey often worked to have on the floor at all times.

That Goodwin is even here with this team to step into a starting/main role so soon is sort of surreal. Not Twilight Zone surreal, but pretty close.

Had everything about college basketball remained status quo (yeah, right), the 2018 Ohio Mr. Basketball and Gatorade state player of the year would have remained close to home to play college basketball. Goodwin committed to Ohio State as a freshman at Upper Arlington High School. When Buckeyes coach Thad Matta stepped away for health reasons in the summer of 2017, Goodwin had second thoughts about that commitment. He quietly visited Notre Dame that summer, days before the Irish staff received a commitment from a prospect who played his position.

Goodwin was interested in the Irish, but Notre Dame was way down the recruiting road with fellow freshman guard Robby Carmody. Didn’t matter to Goodwin. If a scholarship offer was extended to Goodwin, Carmody still would get the first look at earning minutes this season.

Goodwin was cool with that; Carmody was cool with the Irish adding Goodwin. Days after Carmody committed, Goodwin followed. Carmody became the first freshman to start an Irish season opener since 2002.

Less than 24 hours before Pflueger’s anterior cruciate ligament crumbled, Carmody announced on Twitter that he would miss the rest of the season with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Carmody will get the year of eligibility back and have four seasons remaining starting next season. He becomes another piece of the 2019 recruiting class.

Goodwin’s now the guy at wing guard. It took him a few games this season to find his footing, but he looked Saturday like he’s found it. He set season/career highs for field goals (four), points (11) and minutes (25) against the Boilermakers. He battled on both ends. His work even allowed the Irish to downshift and play him as the second big. Didn’t faze Goodwin.

“It definitely felt good,” he said of his effort.

Good for his confidence in that game and all that await. Somebody’s going to have to fill Pflueger’s work load. Goodwin believes he can do it. He has to do it.

“Being ready to play is something I need to do,” Goodwin said. “Taking open shots, finding people, rebounding. Rex kind of did all that for our team. Now I’ve got to fill that role a little bit.”

More like a lot. Goodwin was one of several bright spots this weekend for a program that needed something to feel good about following two-straight losses. Pflueger’s injury or not, Brey likes where Goodwin’s game is. And is headed. It’s trending in a direction that doesn’t surprise Brey. Even before the season started with an August foreign tour of the Bahamas, Goodwin’s name often was the first of the five freshmen mentioned by Brey. Watch how he plays, he would offer to observers. How he moves. Defends. Rebounds. Kid just knows how to play.

What else would you expect of someone whose father (Damon) graduated from the University of Dayton?

It was only a matter of time before Goodwin carved a larger role.

“Big-time,” Brey said of Goodwin’s game at Bankers Life. “He’s one fearless guy. We’re really confident in him. He is a fearless winner.”

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{child_related_content}{child_related_content_item}{child_related_content_style}Bio Box{/child_related_content_style}{child_related_content_title}Men’s Basketball{/child_related_content_title}{child_related_content_content}

WHO: Notre Dame (7-3) vs. Binghamton (3-8).

WHERE: Purcell Pavilion (9,149).

WHEN: Tuesday at 7 p.m.

TICKETS: Available.

TV: ACCNetwork Extra. (U.S. cable/internet subscribers only; requires login from cable television provider to access content).

RADIO: WSBT (960 AM/96.1 FM).

ONLINE: Follow every Notre Dame game with live updates from Tribune beat writer Tom Noie at twitter.com@tnoieNDI

MEN’S BASKETBALL

NOTING: Senior forward Caleb Stewart had 15 points and nine rebounds and freshman guard Sam Sessoms added nine points in Binghamton’s 58-48 home loss Saturday to Youngstown State. The Bearcats shot 32.7 percent from the field, 22.7 percent from 3 and 73.3 percent from the foul line. They trailed by as many as 14. … Binghamton has lost three in a row. It has wins over Misericordia, Sacred Heart and Division III Hartwick. ... This game starts a stretch of three in a row on the road, where the Bearcats are 0-4. … A member of the America East, Binghamton is located in Vestal, N.Y., with an enrollment of 17,000. … The Bearcats return four starters and have eight new players following last season’s 11-20, 2-14 and ninth place in the America East finish. … Binghamton was picked this preseason to finish sixth in the nine-team league. … Stewart leads the America East in blocks at 2.1 per game. … Binghamton ranks second in the nation behind only Duke for blocks per game. The Blue Devils average 7.5; the Bearcats 6.9. … Following 21 total wins the previous three seasons, Binghamton has won a combined 23 games the last two years. … Notre Dame won the only meeting between the teams, 82-39, on Nov. 14, 2014. … This is Notre Dame’s first home game since a Nov. 27 victory over Illinois. … Coming off Saturday’s 88-80 win over Purdue in Indianapolis, Notre Dame closes non-league play with three home games before opening Atlantic Coast Conference play on Jan. 1 at Virginia Tech.

QUOTING: “We’ve been trending that way.” — Coach Mike Brey on the Irish finishing with a season-high 20 assists in Saturday’s victory over Purdue.

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“It’s gotta be high (confidence level). I’m stepping into a new role here and I feel good. I’ve got the guys around me picking up, helping, putting me in spots.”

Notre Dame freshman Dane Goodwin

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WHO: Notre Dame (7-3) vs. Binghamton (3-8).

WHERE: Purcell Pavilion (9,149).

WHEN: Tuesday at 7 p.m.

TICKETS: Available.

TV: ACCNetwork Extra. (U.S. cable/internet subscribers only; requires login from cable television provider to access content).

RADIO: WSBT (960 AM/96.1 FM).

ONLINE: Follow every Notre Dame game with live updates from Tribune beat writer Tom Noie at twitter.com@tnoieNDI

MEN’S BASKETBALL

NOTING: Senior forward Caleb Stewart had 15 points and nine rebounds and freshman guard Sam Sessoms added nine points in Binghamton’s 58-48 home loss Saturday to Youngstown State. The Bearcats shot 32.7 percent from the field, 22.7 percent from 3 and 73.3 percent from the foul line. They trailed by as many as 14. … Binghamton has lost three in a row. It has wins over Misericordia, Sacred Heart and Division III Hartwick. ... This game starts a stretch of three in a row on the road, where the Bearcats are 0-4. … A member of the America East, Binghamton is located in Vestal, N.Y., with an enrollment of 17,000. … The Bearcats return four starters and have eight new players following last season’s 11-20, 2-14 and ninth place in the America East finish. … Binghamton was picked this preseason to finish sixth in the nine-team league. … Stewart leads the America East in blocks at 2.1 per game. … Binghamton ranks second in the nation behind only Duke for blocks per game. The Blue Devils average 7.5; the Bearcats 6.9. … Following 21 total wins the previous three seasons, Binghamton has won a combined 23 games the last two years. … Notre Dame won the only meeting between the teams, 82-39, on Nov. 14, 2014. … This is Notre Dame’s first home game since a Nov. 27 victory over Illinois. … Coming off Saturday’s 88-80 win over Purdue in Indianapolis, Notre Dame closes non-league play with three home games before opening Atlantic Coast Conference play on Jan. 1 at Virginia Tech.

QUOTING: “We’ve been trending that way.” — Coach Mike Brey on the Irish finishing with a season-high 20 assists in Saturday’s victory over Purdue.

“It’s gotta be high (confidence level). I’m stepping into a new role here and I feel good. I’ve got the guys around me picking up, helping, putting me in spots.”

Notre Dame freshman Dane Goodwin