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As an avid gamer and an aspiring video game designer, Chandler Goodwin plays plenty of NBA 2K18.

When the Marquette Catholic senior creates a version of himself, he isn't building a 6-foot post player, which is the role Goodwin fills with the Blazers.

"Everyone wants to play guard. The only reason I'm not a guard is they need to have me as a post," Goodwin said. "I'm the strongest player on the team. I don't mind doing what I need to do to help the team. I've always been able to play down low. I like the challenge. I've always done well when I've gone up against guy who are supposed to be strong."

Goodwin's actually closer to 5-11 to be exact. He only exceeds 6-foot when he's measured from the tips of his long dreadlocks, which he wraps in a pony tail for games. While Marquette doesn't play extensive straight up man to man, he's typically guarding a taller player, so he's giving up several inches.

"He's undersized for his position but he's quick and strong and has a lot of heart," coach Fred Mooney said. "He's an energizer. He plays with an unbelievable amount of energy."

Banging with bigs is nothing new for Goodwin, who had to guard taller, broader teammates in practice as a younger player.

"Going up against those guys made me want to get in the weight room," he said. "I really like lifting. We don't lift as a team, but I've gotten some other guys to start lifting, too. It makes the game easier. It takes a less effort to do the same stuff."

A short, chubby kid growing up, Goodwin first played Pop Warner football in Gary. He didn't pick up basketball until seventh grade at St. Stanislaus in Michigan City after his family moved there.

"I wasn't really good, then I started to grow," he said.

A C team player as a freshman, when Marquette was Class A state runner-up, Goodwin was on junior varsity as a sophomore. He assumed a prominent varsity role last season as the Blazers reached the 2A semistate, coming up a basket shy of another trip to state.

"After coach (Donovan) Garletts said he wasn't going to be back, coach Mooney told me I was going to be a big part of the team," Goodwin said. "In the past, my job was just getting boards, playing defense, not scoring. I knew I could score."

Goodwin is second on the team in scoring (12.1 points per game) and rebounds (5 rpg) and first in assists (2.7 apg). Outside shooting has never been his strength, but he's improved his range enough to at least keep defenses honest, which shows in his 55 percent shooting accuracy, best among Marquette regulars. Goodwin also tops the team in trips to the foul line, where's he's progressed from a 54 percent shooter last year to 66.

"If I'm open, I'll take it," he said. "I'd rather just attack, get to the free throw line. I didn't shoot much last year, so I wasn't even working on it. I wanted to be a threat this season, so (defenses) have to respect me. We've got a lot of shooters on the team. One dribble in the paint and they close up on me and they're open."

Marquette runs what Mooney describes as a position-less, read-and-react offense with four-out and five-out sets that don't pigeon hole Goodwin in the paint. He's at his best playing on the wing, where his skill set creates a mismatch with either a smaller guard or a slower post.

"He worked really hard on outside shooting. He's exponentially improved over the year," Mooney said. "He's a cut and slash guy. We need him to play defense, get the ball off the glass, (make) putbacks, hustle. When he's filling his role in the paint, we're a lot better. We're not deep enough this year to have guys play on an island. We just don't match up."

While Goodwin has always had the dream of playing in college, he's also realistic about the market for 6-foot post players. If it doesn't materialize, he’ll look into walking on depending on where he goes. He's become more serious about his academics since he's been at Marquette, becoming intrigued by the idea of creating video games as a career.

"My freshman year, I just wanted to fool around, but that's not how it works here," Goodwin said. "When I grow up, I want to do something I like."


Sports reporter

Jim was keeping standings on his chalkboard from the time he could print and keeping kickball stats in grade school at St. Bridget's. He covers all manner of prep sports for The Times and is a long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan.