Vernon Goodridge from Philadelphia Lutheran Prep, a 6-foot-10, 225-pound center, told us Wednesday evening that he's very close to making a college decision. He also gave us a sneak preview of what that decision will be, though he has not yet set the date for a formal announcement.
With Pittsburgh bowing out of the race after accepting a commitment from a junior college power forward Goodridge is down to just Mississippi State and Georgetown. When we asked if he was leaning one way or the other, he was candid with us.
"I'm really leaning towards Mississippi State right now," Goodridge stated. "I should have a final decision by this time next week, but I think it's going to be Mississippi State."
Goodridge's mother, stepfather, and aunt visited the Mississippi State campus recently, and have apparently given Starkville and the Bulldogs the thumbs up. Goodridge also told us that his friendship with Brooklyn native and current Mississippi State point guard Gary Ervin is a key part of his decision making process.
"It makes things easier with him being there," Goodridge said. "We trust each other's judgement and he told me how things are down there and said it was a good situation. When I first started playing basketball Gary was on my team and we just started hanging out and became good friends."
So why hasn't the decision been finalized? There are still some lingering feelings for the Hoyas, and if we've learned anything from covering Goodridge's recruiting situation over the past year, it's that things tend to change quickly.
"I like Georgetown's history," Goodridge explained. "It's definitely tempting to become a part of their tradition, and I'm still considering them."
Goodridge told us that he'll definitely sign in November. He said that he already has the required SAT score, but needs to improve his grades to be elligible next fall.
Vernon is a tremendous raw athlete with incredible spring for someone his size. He is a tough rebounder and gifted shot-blocker. He has some tools to work with at the offensive end of the floor, but he's far from a finished product and generally has more success scoring in transition. Goodridge is the #24 ranked player nationally in the class of 2005 by Rivals.com.
He averaged 10 points, 12 rebounds, and 9 blocks per game last season. Philadelphia Lutheran is set to play their first game tonight against Philadelphia Christian Academy. However, Goodridge is being held out as a precautionary measure while some medical tests are being run.
"It's nothing serious," he said. "I've been really tired lately, and my doctor in New York just wants to make sure that everything checks out before I get back to playing."