June 7, 2012 • Colorado Springs, Colo.
Twenty-three of the nation’s premier 18-and-under players gathered at the U.S. Olympic Training Center on Tuesday evening as training camp got underway to determine the 12-player USA Basketball roster for the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, which will be played June 16-20 in Sao Sebastiáo do Paraiso, Brazil.
Only one of the 23 players, however, will be a two-sport athlete in college. Standing 6-8 and weighing in at 235 pounds, Shaq Goodwin will play basketball this fall for the University of Memphis. Next fall, the former Georgia’s Southwest DeKalb High School football standout will suit up on the gridiron for the Tigers.
A lightning-quick wide receiver who has been reported to run the 40-yard-dash in 4.6 seconds, Goodwin towers over his opponents. He has the ability to leap up and grab a ball from out of the air with ease – a trait that helps him catch passes on the field and basketball court, and nab rebounds away from opponents’ hands.
Born two weeks after the 7-1 center Shaquille O’Neal lit up the world stage and was named MVP of the 1994 FIBA World Championship en route to winning gold, William Shaquille Goodwin picked up his lifelong nickname the day he was born.
His parents knew they were going to have a big baby and they said that if he was 20” or shorter, he’d go by his dad’s name, William. However, if he was at least 21”, his parents would call him Shaq. The post-delivery measurements were announced, and the newborn was exactly 21” long.
Voila! Shaq Goodwin had arrived.
Through the years as he began playing sports, Goodwin gravitated to both basketball and football. He decided that since the Memphis hoops squad was rated better, he would sign a basketball scholarship. Because of that, Goodwin has to take a knee this year and watch the Tigers football team from the stands.
Come 2013, however, he will be all about football. Until basketball season begins, that is.
In case you were wondering, Shaq is also very adept at blocking shots. (Photo: Steven Maikoski)