Cameron Goodwin is the fourth graduated senior member of the MHSAA 5A state boys’ basketball championship Center Hill Mustangs heading to play in the collegiate ranks.
Two players are heading to four-year programs and two others will be competing at the junior college level, including Goodwin.
A three-point shooter who also is a defensive specialist, Goodwin Sunday afternoon signed to play at Dyersburg (Tenn.) State Community College.
The newest Dyersburg State Eagle had an ever-changing role to play on this year’s Center Hill championship squad.
Goodwin was a starting guard for coach Newton Mealer’s Mustangs for the first 10 games of the year and during that stretch, Center Hill was 10-0.
With the improving development of transfer Ken Lewis from Lake Cormorant, Mealer sat down with Goodwin and talked about some lineup changes he wanted to make that involved his senior transitioning from a starter to a reserve role.
“Ken Lewis came in and Cameron knew that Ken was playing a little bit better, he was willing to take that role of coming off the bench and that’s what helped us win a state championship,” Mealer said.
The move was also one Goodwin was willing to do, sacrifice a starting spot to make his team better.
“I was OK with coming off the bench because I knew that if I could come off the bench we had a chance to win a state championship,” Goodwin said. “I really accepted my role and this was the best year of basketball in my life.”
The career statistics over four years are not gaudy, at 3.1 points-per-game, but everyone agrees that Goodwin has the range to shoot well from beyond the arc and also to clamp down on the opponent's top offensive threat.
“Cameron is the epitome of a teammate,” Mealer said. “He lays it all on the line every single day, is a great three-point shooter and was one of our best defensive stoppers so we used him a lot to guard the other team’s best players.”
It didn’t take long for Goodwin’s new coach, Charles Taylor, to want Goodwin on his roster.
“I loved him from the first time I saw him,” Taylor said after Goodwin put ink to his National Letter of Intent. “I challenged him in a few ways, brought him in for a couple of tryouts but I knew I wanted him from the beginning. His film looked incredible and after the first 30 seconds I knew this was a no-brainer.”
Taylor and Mealer both shrugged off the lateness of the commitment, having come after school was let out for the summer. Taylor stated that junior college recruits can come in late in the process over four-year players.
“At the junior college level, most of the time in order to get the player you want you take your time,” Taylor said. “A lot of kids miss the boat for university or college basketball, so it’s best to take your time and get the perfect fit for your program.”
Goodwin said he’s looking forward to being part of the Eagles’ team in West Tennessee.
“It’s the perfect place for me,” he explained. “The coach and I got along really well. It’s kind of the same fast speed basketball that we played here at Center Hill so it’s a perfect fit for me.”
Taylor said the Eagles, which he inherited as new head coach last year, are improving. They had been cellar dwellers in the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association, but last year’s team led the league standings for most of the season but stumbled in the last couple of weeks to end up in a tie for third place.
RILEY WATCH: Former DeSoto Central baseball standout Austin Riley was named the National League’s Rookie of the Month for May as he continues to hammer home runs for the Atlanta Braves. Riley, the Braves’ first-round draft choice after he helped the Jaguars to a state title in 2015, was promoted to Atlanta in mid-May and promptly crushed seven homers for the month. and drove in 20 RBIs while hitting .356.
WILLIAMS SIGNS WITH TORONTO: Another DeSoto County native will be pursuing a professional baseball career. Kendall Williams, of Olive Branch and IMG Academy in Florida, has signed with the Toronto Blue Jays after he was drafted in the second round of the recent Major League Baseball entry draft. A right handed pitcher, Williams reportedly has a 94 mile-per-hour fastball and has been working on getting better with the curve ball. Williams had previously committed to play collegiately at Vanderbilt.
PLUMLEE LEADS BULLDOGS TO OMAHA: The Mississippi State baseball Bulldogs will head back to the College World Series after sweeping Stanford this past weekend. MSU pitcher Peyton Plumlee of Lewisburg stood out on the mound Sunday in the series-clinching 8-1 victory. The senior hurler tossed 6.2 innings, allowed just two hits and one earned run. Plumlee also struck out six and the only run he allowed by the Cardinal was a solo home run.
Ole Miss faced Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark. Monday in a deciding super-regional game with the winner also heading to play in the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.
ARKABUTLA FISHING REPORT: The weekly fishing report from the Army Corps of Engineers shows a rising lake elevation at 231.1 as of 7 a.m. Sunday morning with murky water conditions. The Corps reports that white bass have started moving into the main lake area and away from the river and creeks. Jigs or small crankbaits over sand bars in the channels or over sandy points are suggested. Largemouth bass are in 3-7 feet of water on the outer edges of cover in the clearest water available where weedless lures can catch or locate fish.
Crappie anglers are using spider rigging jigs and or minnows or pulling crankbaits 7-10 feet deep. Best luck has been in or out from the willows in the mouths of major creeks. Catfish are best found using natural baits on trotlines over newly re-flooded flats. The outlet channel is where crappie is found with jigs and/or minnows out of the current, or with natural baits near the bottom. A two-jig rig just off the bottom has been successful for white bass in the outlet channel. Largemouth bass is found with crankbaits or jig-n-pig in any cover on the rocks in the spillway.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.