In 20 seasons as a college basketball coach, first-year St. Louis University coach Travis Ford built his reputation as a solid recruiter.
Judging from his early success at SLU, which included picking up a signed letter of intent from Althoff all-state guard Jordan Goodwin on Wednesday, Ford is on his way to building a winner at Chaifetz Arena.
“He was a priority from Day 1,” Ford said Wednesday. “We knew how important it was that (his family) got a chance to see him play the majority of his games. We kind of put the full-court press on, to let him know this was the right place.
“I told him ‘We’re building something special and need you to kickstart us, the guy that helps us do that.’ He and I hit it off, I think he loved the system and he sees how he can get better.”
Along with Goodwin, the Billikens also on Wednesday signed 6-foot-7 senior Hasahn French, a power forward at Commonwealth Academy in Massachusetts. They already have a verbal commitment from 6-9 Webster Groves (Mo.) junior Carte’are Gordon, considered a top 10 national recruit in the Class of 2018.
Joining Goodwin and French next season with the Billikens will be a pair of transfers, Javon Bess from Michigan State and Adonys Henriquez from Central Florida.
Ford made it clear that he considered Goodwin a major catch.
“I saw him play with the St. Louis Eagles and absolutely fell in love with his competitiveness,” Ford said. “I fell in love with how he affected the game in so many ways, I loved his passion for the game and how it showed when he played.
“When we got to know him, we saw that it was important for him and his family to watch hm play every game. It was important for him to represent his community, represent St. Louis and stay close to home. “
One thing Ford won’t do is try to lock the versatile Goodwin into one position.
“I think he’s really good with the ball in his hands,” Ford said. “He’s very vocal on the court, he’s a natural leader. You see that on the basketball court and you see it on the football field. He can play multiple positions.”
Another thing that immediately struck Ford was the way he saw Goodwin interact with teammates and non-teammates. Players seem to be drawn to him — and Goodwin does what he can to make the other four players on the court with him a little better.
“Everybody’s that’s crossed paths with Jordan Goodwin, they all know Jordan Goodwin and love him because of his personality,” Ford said. “His teammates like him and people want to play with him because he’s a unselfish basketball player. Very unselfish. We’ve definitely seen that.”