by Christian Mordi / @mordi_thecomeup
Angel Goodrich deserved a smooth comeback. Sometimes, though, life isn’t fair. The Oklahoma native worked her tail off in rehab to get back on the floor from a torn ACL. The story seemed to have a good ending; Angel had recovered, and was once again living her dream. Then in a flash, basketball was snatched away from her again as she tore her ACL in her other knee.
There were moments of doubt. Would she play again? Would she ever be the same lightning-quick blur she was in the past? No one would have blamed Angel if she threw in the towel and gave up on basketball.
A wise man once said, “It isn’t the hand you are dealt that matters, but how you play it.” Angel chose not to give up, and the fruits of her labors are turning out great, as last year she led the nation in assists.
In a sit-down with SLAMonline, Angel Goodrich discussed recovery from her ACL surgeries, how passing the ball makes her look good, what makes the Jayhawks special this year and more.
SLAM: Tell us a little bit about you. What do you like to do in your spare time off the floor?
Angel Goodrich: I like to hang out with my friends a lot. I go to the movies a lot. My roommate and I have a puppy, so we hang out a lot.
SLAM: How was it growing up in Oklahoma and when did you break into basketball? Who were some of your influences?
AG: Basketball was a family thing. My brother and I were always outside playing one-on-one. Sometimes we would even play in the house in the hallway. We would pretend we were different people that were big in our area that were in high school when we were young. My mom also coached me sometimes.
When the WNBA is in season, I love to watch Sue Bird play. She sees the floor so well and I love the way she plays. In regards to the NBA, I love Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo. I try and watch and emulate some of the things they can do. There are some things they do I cannot, but I see what works and try and build my game up to something like that.
SLAM: I heard you played softball and track and field. Did you feel that helped you with basketball?
AG: Softball was great for my coordination. I played center field, and you had to be quick on your feet. I tried to make plays on all the balls in my area. Having quick feet was key for me. In regards to track, it was great for my endurance and just helped me stay in shape.
SLAM: Why did you feel Kansas was the school for you?
AG: I just wanted to go somewhere that I connected with everyone really well. I was a home body. My mom and I were close and did everything together. When I came on the visit it really felt like a family atmosphere and I connected with the players really fast. It also wasn’t that far from home.
SLAM: You are a point guard, the brains of the operation. Do you consider yourself a student of the game?
AG: Yeah, right now I am actually watching film on my shot. I am working on getting my shot back because I have been in a little slump. I focus on what I need to improve. My coach and I got together and watched my footwork and everything. Film is something I like to do. It allows me to visualize the game even more.
SLAM: You tore your ACL in your left knee in practice in ’08. Then after a year of rehab tore your right ACL, too. Tell us a little bit about the mind state you were in—do you appreciate the game now?
AG: I appreciate the game now more than ever. I appreciate anything in general, like walking. That was something so hard to overcome. The surgery, rehab and dealing with the pain was tough. Things can be taken away from you so quickly so it makes you appreciate things more. I appreciate life more in general now; walking and doing other things many people may not be able to do.
SLAM: You were the fastest player to ever record 100 dimes in school history. You led the nation in dimes last year. Is it safe to assume you have a passion for creating easy shots for others?
AG: Yes. I really enjoy making things easier for my teammates. I like to make them look good, ’cause when they look good they make me look good. Passing the ball is something I have always wanted to do; it allows me to be creative. I love to share the ball.
SLAM: You led your team in scoring as well last year and averaging 23 during your Tournament run. Do you feel sometimes your ability to score is overlooked some?
AG: I think so a little bit. When I need to I can attack. The past two years I have really focused on being more aggressive. I want to be more of threat to score because it makes it even easier to get my teammates a shot. When you are not a threat to score they can sag off and double someone else.
SLAM: Do you feel this team is built for a strong tourney run and why?
AG: yeah I do. We have the potential for a deep tourney run. We have some great players that contribute a lot of different things. I also feel like we are hungry. Last year we got to feel what it was like to go to the Tournament, and we want that again. We are working to get back to where we were last year.
SLAM: How do you gauge success?
AG: Never giving up. I was told I wouldn’t be able to make it because I was little. I let other people motivate me and push me. I love to prove people wrong, and not let anything stop me.
SLAM: Last one: Love and Basketball or He Got Game?
AG: Love and Basketball. Can’t go wrong with that one.