Wed May 04 12:11am EDT
At a time when dozens of underclassmen are transferring in search of greater player time or a coach with whom they're more compatible, the departure of Gonzaga point guard Demetri Goodson is still noteworthy for one reason.
He's not just leaving the Zags. He's also leaving basketball.
Goodson intends to play college football in his home state of Texas next year, either at Texas A&M where his older brother played or under former Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione at Texas State. The junior will have two years of football eligibility remaining since Gonzaga doesn't have a program.
"I would like to thank my coaches and staff for the opportunity to play here," Goodson said in a statement released by the school. "I also want to thank the city of Spokane and all of the Zags fans who have supported me over the years. It's been an awesome experience."
It's difficult to evaluate what kind of football prospect Goodson is since he hasn't played the sport since his sophomore year in high school, but there's reason to believe he could follow in the footsteps of older brother Mike, now a running back with the Carolina Panthers. Goodson is talented enough that Arizona State offered him a football scholarship before he signed with Gonzaga and chose to only focus on basketball.
The unexpected departure of Goodson makes Gonzaga younger at guard yet it won't alter expectations for next season much at all.
Although Goodson sank a memorable game-winning runner in the NCAA tournament against Western Kentucky as a freshman, he hasn't progressed since then despite starting 68 of 69 games the past two seasons. He averaged 5.2 points and 2.6 assists last season, shooting just 40.9 percent from the floor and 25.9 percent from 3-point range.
Among the candidates to replace Goodson in Gonzaga's starting lineup is freshman Kevin Pangos, a highly touted Canadian recruit named the top point guard at the U-17 World Championships last summer. The Zags also return freshman David Stockton, who excelled off the bench the second half of the season and pushed Goodson for playing time.
The other benefit of Goodson's departure for Gonzaga is it potentially frees up a scholarship for Bryce Jones, a USC transfer scheduled to visit the Zags next week. Jones, a part-time starter at USC as a freshman, is also considering UNLV and San Diego State.