Del City’s Nate Goodlow is having a senior year to remember.
Honor Roll? Check.
Homecoming King? Check.
Tournament of Champions team title and MVP honors? Check.
Del City’s first boy’s state basketball championship in 40 years? We’ll have to wait until March to see about that one.
Goodlow and the Eagles have to be considered one of the favorites to win the Class 5A gold ball this season after beating Tulsa Memorial and Booker T. Washington to win the prestigious Tournament of Champions over winter break.
“Obviously, they’re really good teams,” said Goodlow, a four-year starter who averaged 16.7 points and 5.3 assists in the three games to earn MVP honors. “It just let us know that we have what it takes to beat good teams.”
“It was a new experience for a lot of our kids,” said Del City Head Coach Lenny Hatchett, whose team advanced to the 5A title game last season. “Playing in a tournament of that caliber, it was special.”
The Eagles have been tough to beat the past couple of seasons thanks to Goodlow’s play on the court and leadership off the court. The 6-2 guard is the team’s leading scorer most nights, and he also maintains an impressive 3.8 grade point average.
“You have to be a student-athlete first,” admitted Goodlow. “You’ve got to have your grades so you can play. It’s always been said to me that I have to keep my grades up. I’ve always been a good student.”
That school-first mentality can’t help but rub off on his teammates, especially the underclassmen.
“If they see me doing it they’re going to want to do it,” claimed Goodlow. “Putting in the extra effort is going to make them want to put in the extra effort.”
“All of our seniors really lead by example in that category,”added Hatchett. “They take care of business in the classroom. It’s important that they show up on time and listen to their teachers and try as hard as they can in their classes.”
Goodlow has already received some interest from smaller in-state schools. Following his recent performance at the Tournament of Champions, he surely caught the eye of more college coaches.
“I want to play in college but my main goal is to get my college paid for,” said Goodlow, who played for the competitive Team Griffin AAU squad last summer.
“I do think he can help a lot of schools just because of the way he approaches the game,” remarked Hatchett. “His motor, how he plays with so much intensity. I think there’s a lot of schools that are missing out on him.”
In the end, Goodlow knows that stats aren’t the most important thing. It’s winning Del City’s first boy’s basketball state championship since 1980.
“I’m playing pretty good right now for my team, said Goodlow, who likes to pattern his game after NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook. “I’m moving the ball around. I’m scoring. I’m willing to do whatever it takes for us to win. We just have to stay focused and stay humble.”
“He’s a winner,” said Hatchett. “He understands what it takes for us to keep getting better. He’s bought into the program, what we’ve tried to sell these kids. You know, get better every day. He’s been a man of high character and tries to do things right all the time. That’s all you can ask for in kids these days.”