CHARLESTON — Montell ‘Silk’ Goodwin has a stoic demeanor to him at almost all times on the court.
There are no extra antics after he makes a 3-pointer, or even a big smile on his face. Even after a nice pass to a teammate for a spot-up 3 or a layup, Goodwin has basically the same look on his face.
About the only time his facial expression changes is a little wince when he misses a shot, which is few and far in between.
Goodwin’s emotion remains consistent throughout games, just like his play has been ever since he joined the Eastern Illinois men’s basketball team from Mineral Area College in Missouri last season.
Goodwin played in 29 games as a junior and started 26 of those games. He finished second on the team with 14.3 points per game, and he was 10th in the Ohio Valley Conference with a 39.1 3-point percentage. He hit 68 3s as a junior.
On paper, nothing has really changed for Goodwin. He’s started all 29 games this season and is averaging 14.8 points per game as EIU goes Wednesday’s OVC Tournament game against Tennessee State. He has 95 assists this season and has hit 69 3-pointers.
The 137 3-pointers he’s made in only two seasons ranks 10th all-time in EIU history.
“(The last two years) have been pretty fun,” Goodwin said. “My teammates, they look for me, they try and get me open and vice versa. It feeds off each other.”
While the numbers are about similar on paper statistically, it’s been a much different season for Goodwin. Last season, Goodwin mostly played the two spot (shooting guard) and would give Terrell Lewis a breather now and again at the point.
That was the plan again this season until Lewis went down with an ankle injury eight games into the season. Lewis was EIU’s primary point guard the past four seasons, but head coach Jay Spoonhour needed someone else to run the point, especially once news came across that Lewis would miss the rest of the season with the injury.
A good amount of the point guard duties went to Goodwin, who also played the position at Mineral Area. He did share responsibilities with junior D’Angelo Jackson and sophomore Logan Koch, who was redshirting before Lewis’ injury.
But then Jackson suffered an ankle injury. He later returned a few games ago but is dealing with the injury again. Then Koch went down with a season-ending Achilles injury. Spoonhour turned to walk-on Shawn Wilson to help out Goodwin, who was playing almost 40 minutes in every game. Wilson had a breakout game in a win against Tennessee Tech, but he broke his hand late in the game.
So Goodwin has had to shoulder the point guard responsibilities every game during OVC play and is averaging 37.7 minutes per game in league play.
But Goodwin isn’t fazed by the transition. The only difference to him is that he goes to the trainer two times in a day instead of one.
“It’s been a pretty good transition because I played a little bit of point guard (at Mineral Area),” Goodwin said. “It wasn’t a big adjustment. I just had to be more vocal, slow the tempo down and get guys in position. It’s been pretty good.”
While Goodwin might downplay the transition, Spoonhour doesn’t. The season could’ve gone south with so many injuries, but it didn’t, and Goodwin was one of the key reasons why EIU was able to make the OVC Tournament.
“We needed someone to be steady when things (got dicey). Silk has been a steadying guy, a calm, steadying presence out there,” Spoonhour said. “Everyone is trying to trap him and get into him, and he just keeps on battling and it’s not even what you would consider his natural position. Then he’s just the best guy you can ever be around. I am happy for him.”
Goodwin’s collegiate career will wrap up soon, but he’s hoping his basketball career isn’t. He hopes to continue to play professionally after this season.
“After this season, I will hire an agent and go from there,” Goodwin said.
If this season is any indication, Goodwin has shown plenty of teams in the U.S. and in Europe that he play both guard positions and will do anything a team asks of him.