The senior forward's personality isn't much different from his on-court persona: he's the strong silent type who often defers to his more vocal teammates on the Christ the King boys' basketball team.Recently though, Gooding the good soldier has morphed into Gooding "Da Man." With his college status up in the air, the Brooklyn resident has shed his nice guy persona and has had to play more selfishly. He is auditioning for his future at local exhibition games like the Wheelchair Classic, and he is one of three Queens' players selected to compete in the Jordan Classic's regional game Saturday at Madison Square Garden. It's a chance for Gooding to increase the pool of college coaches already interested in him."I was excited when my coach (Bob Oliva) told me the news," said Gooding, who has been courted by the University of San Francisco and Toledo. "I was getting over a fever when he told me, and the next day after I woke up I was feeling better. It's not really my style to try to score a lot of points and be the focal point, but this game will give me the opportunity to show college coaches what I can do, so I have to try and do a little more."Overshadowed by more celebrated teammates like junior Larry Davis and seniors Chris Martin and Columbia-bound Niko Scott, Gooding was a background player who displayed his skills in the flow of the offense, hardly deviating from his supporting role unless he had to. He buried a pair of game-winning free-throws in a 69-68 win over Rice on January 28 that brought him local recognition, but for the most part Gooding was an important player on a nationally ranked team. Now, he must he prove he can do it on the college level."I'm looking forward to the challenge," he said. Cardozo's Vic Morris, who is attending prep school before he goes to Hofstra University and Drew Gladstone were also chosen to play in the Jordan Classic. It will be Gladstone's third appearance at the Garden and his second time attending the Jordan Classic.Last year Gladstone made the trip with family and friends to Washington, D.C where he watched LeBron James dominate the competition and boost his reputation even further. Gladstone hopes to do the same Saturday. He has received interest from Columbia, University of Pennsylvania and Brown but hopes to augment that list with a strong performance."Watching LeBron play, I never thought I would have the chance to play here," he said. "It's another chance to play on a big stage to show a broad variety of coaches my game. Hopefully, I can open up some eyes."Duke-bound Carrem Gay, a senior on the Christ the King girls' basketball team, scored 12 points and had 6 rebounds in the McDonald's All-American game in South Bend, Indiana March 30. Gay was also named New York State's Ms. Basketball last month.Reach reporter Mitch Abramson by E-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 130.
©2005 Community News Group
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