Every year at the Tournament of Champions there is a surprise on the roster packets. A player hooks up with a team for the weekend and instantly becomes the talk of the tournament. This year it was Vernon Goodridge and his addition to the already talented Blessed IJN squad. He didn’t disappoint in his showing.
Goodridge, a 6-foot-9, 215-pound defensive stopper from Philadelphia’s Lutheran Christian Academy, lived up to his billing as one of the most athletic big men in the class of 2005. The No. 150 ranked player by Rivals.com skies for blocked shots and loves to clean the glass on both ends of the floor. Offensively, he still has a lot of room for growth.
“It’s been going good so far,” Goodridge said. “I’ve been trying to play every game like it is my last. Keeping focused - that’s my main thing. Rebounding, trying to block shots. I think I’m pretty good at those things. That’s what I think I do the best. I’m kind of different.”
Different indeed. He has that freakish athletic ability that propels prep players to the professional ranks earlier than most. The Philadelphia Lutheran product has garnered attention from a number of high major programs because of his given talents.
“I’m getting letters from Arizona, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Clemson, St. John's, Iowa State, Louisville and some more,” he said.
The New York native said he knows he’ll need to improve his offensive skills in order to be considered as one of the elite prospects in the rising senior class. But the consider the learning curve he is on.
“I just starting playing and started watching games,” Goodridge said. “I’m learning more about schools and basketball as I go along.”
As he gathers information about the respective programs across the nation, he’s also keeping tabs on the other side of college life. Academics, particularly schools with automotive engineering programs, is something he is looking at.
Goodridge will play at the adidas Superstars camp in July. He knows that much. What AAU team he plays for is still up in the air. At any rate, Goodridge has great potential to become of the top big men in his class. Like he said, he’s different.