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The Tamir Goodman Story

December 18, 2001 Columns No Comments

Goodman In Search of a Good Home

by Dan Hauptman

The Jewish Jordan. Maybe the “Jordan” in the moniker was referring to Reggie Jordan. Or Charles Jordan. Because Tamir Goodman surely is not in the same name, sentence, paragraph, or article as the one and only Michael Jordan.

Although Goodman is only a sophomore in college, he has already spent several years living in a world with high expectations and a very unrealistic nickname. The only reason: the little hat that he wears during games and his superior play against lower level high school competition during his adolescent years in Maryland.

First, there was the hype about him possibly playing his collegiate ball at the University of Maryland. That fizzled out, and Goodman eventually went to Towson University to play for head coach Mike Jaskulski.

Playing for Towson is a far cry from performing every night in the Atlantic Coast Conference, something Goodman would have had to do had he become a Terrapin. Nevertheless, he was given an opportunity to hone his skills at a Division I school without the pressures of performing in front of the nation night in and night out.

As a freshman at Towson, Goodman started 23 games, averaging 6 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4 assists per game. The team finished 12-17 last season, leading to the dismissal of Jaskulski. A new coach, Michael Hunt, was brought in to coach the Tigers, further lengthening the learning curve of Goodman.

In the early part of this season, things didn’t seem kosher between Hunt and his sophomore guard. Goodman wasn’t in the starting lineup in any of the Tigers’ seven games, and he played less than 12 minutes per contest. He only scored 13 total points, pulled down 4 rebounds and only dished out 10 assists in his 81 minutes on the floor. This was not the same kid who was written about in Sports Illustrated and other national publications shortly after he was Bar Mitzvahed.

Then came the incident after a Towson win against Morgan State on Saturday, December 8th. Following the game, the 6-foot-2 guard told university police that Hunt held a chair over his head in a frightening manner, and later, while screaming at the team, the coach kicked a stool that hit the sophomore’s leg. According to Karl Goodman, Tamir’s father, Hunt was upset at his son – who was scoreless in three minutes against Morgan State – for smiling after the coach told him to back away from a team huddle. Hunt and Tamir Goodman are both under “gag orders” and cannot speak about the situation until Towson finishes its internal investigation.

The fallout from the post-game encounter has only begun to unravel.
The legal end of the matter seems to be over, as Karl Goodman, a lawyer, said that the family asked the State Attorney not to pursue assault charges against the first-year coach. However, Tamir Goodman’s short stint at Towson University seems to be finished. He has told athletic director Wayne Edwards that he will not play basketball for the school as long as Hunt is the head coach.

“He’s not quitting the team, but he said he would not play for Hunt under any circumstance,” Karl Goodman told the Associated Press. “We’re hoping Towson will honor the scholarship until the end of the spring semester, then Tamir will look into transferring.”

According to his father, Tamir is looking at playing at a Division I school in New York as early as next season. Possibilities include: Hofstra, Manhattan, Fordham and Iona.

There must be special rules instituted for him to play in all the games at any school he ends up transferring to. As an Orthodox Jew, Goodman cannot play from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. In the Jewish faith, this period is known as the Sabbath. Towson was able to schedule most of its games around this period, something that Goodman’s next home school likely will not be able to do.

Life may be a lot different for Tamir the next few years. No longer is he a kid plastered all over glamorous magazines with a catchy nickname following him everywhere he goes. He is now a man looking for a uniform to play in. He is also a player who will surely be viewed in a negative light only because fans have known and heard about this Goodman kid long before he ever played a college game.

The fact that he is Jewish and wears a yarmulke has given him a tremendous amount of unwarranted publicity thus far in his young career. Although Tamir Goodman’s faith is going nowhere, the nickname “Jewish Jordan” will be all but off his back once he steps foot in his new school. From now until then, he is done with basketball, so just call him Tamir the student.


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