If Travis Ford’s goal is to lock down the St. Louis area on the recruiting trail, then Friday was a good day. Ford and the Saint Louis Bilikens landed a commitment from 2017 shooting guard Jordan Goodwin, a 247Sports top-50 recruit who is from nearby Belleville, Ill.
The 6’4 guard had offers from Illinois, Northwestern and Missouri, among other power conference schools, making his commitment a significant local win for Ford in his first few months on the job.
“It wasn’t an easy decision,” Goodwin told the Belleville News-Democrat. “Me and my parents thought it was the best decision. Being close to home and having everybody with you, putting the city on my back, playing for an outstanding coach in Travis Ford. I like having him in my corner, especially seeing how he develops players.”
Though Goodwin told the News-Democrat that Northwestern was his runner-up, he had to resist a very public recruiting effort from 2017 five-star Illinois commit Jeremiah Tilmon.
It isn’t hard to connect the dots with the timing of Goodwin’s decision. Ford brought former Missouri assistant Corey Tate onto his staff just a few weeks ago, and Tate is reportedly close with Goodwin after meeting him through the St. Louis Eagles AAU program.
While Tate failed to turn his St. Louis connections into commitments at Missouri, they’ve already paid off for Ford.
There might also be more opportunities in St. Louis. Missouri, the lone power five program in the state, has struggled to recruit in the city in the past decade, and Billy Donovan, who poached the area’s top talent on occasion (Bradley Beal, David Lee), isn’t in the business anymore.
The Goodwin commitment doesn’t signal that Ford will have a monopoly over St. Louis-area talent, nor that the talented guard is the second coming of Larry Hughes. Nevertheless, it’s a big win early on for a program that needs a talent infusion after sagging the past two seasons.