This offseason has been all about weight loss for Shaq Goodwin

As a freshman last season for the Memphis Tigers, Shaq Goodwin got off to a great start. He was scoring in double digits and was an rebounding monster. But in the final 15 games, he seemed to have lost his touch. His focus for this off season has been to lose weight and get quicker. Thus far, things have been looking great for him.

“It’s weird,” said sophomore forward Damien Wilson of Goodwin’s frame.

Goodwin has made excellent progress this off season by losing close to 40 pounds. With the effort he has been showing, he and the entire coaching staff at Memphis truly believes that he will perform well this upcoming season and be that above-the-rim type of player.

“I get a lot of ‘What kind of diet are you on?’ and ‘What did you do to lose the weight?’ “said Goodwin. Last season Goodwin was listed at 246 pounds but he mentioned that he actually weighed around 270 pounds. “I don’t get what the big deal is. I tried to lose weight. I feel better. Lighter.”

After last season ended, both Goodwin and Wilson were talking about how to improve their performance on the court. Neither player was satisfied with their performance last season. Goodwin started 33 of 36 games for the Tigers last season, but things didn’t go quite well for the big fella. He finished seventh on the team in scoring (7.4 points per game) and fifth in rebounding (4.4 rebounds per game). In the Tigers’ final 15 games, he scored in double figures only twice and grabbed four or fewer rebounds in 11 of them while struggling to stay out of foul trouble.

It was an disappointment to Goodwin as he saw his numbers drop tremendously. He begin the year scoring in double figures in 11 of his first 18 starts.

“We were talking about how we weren’t happy with last year’s outcome and what we were gonna do to be better for this year, and we were talking about taking everything serious,” said Goodwin. “So from then on, I took all the spring workouts serious. I talked to strength and conditioning Frank Matrisciano, told him what I wanted to do and he told me he would help me get there.

I told Matrisciano that I wanted to be successful in this basketball business and I’ll do whatever I have to do to get there. He explained to me that it all starts with your body. You’ve got to get your body right. So I started doing whatever he told me to do and doing it 100 percent. The pounds just started coming off as a result.”

With Matrisciano’s help, Goodwin is looking great and could possibly become one of the most athletic big men in the American Athletic Conference. Before the weight loss, Goodwin’s main issue was fast food; he simply ate too much of it.

Since his return to the team this month for the start of the second session of summer school, he has stopped eating fast foods such as McDonald’s and began running on the track field every morning with one of his three best friends, Miles College sophomore Thomas Jackson III.

“At first we would run until I got tired. But now I run two miles, then I do jumping jacks,” said Goodwin. Goodwin played football with Jackson at Southwest DeKalb High in Decatur, Ga.

Jackson also commented on the matter. “I lost about 40 pounds, too. Instead of McDonald’s, we would eat Chick-fil-A. Or we’d go grocery shopping and eat home-cooked meals — vegetables and stuff — and drink a lot of water and Gatorade. We didn’t even drink soda.”

Goodwin was already 230 pounds once he arrived back from Colorado Springs, Co., in June after he tried out for the USA U19 World Championship team. Even though he didn’t make the team, he said he was pleased with his effort and continued to workout each day before reporting to Memphis’ summer workouts.

Coach Pastner has saw the progress Goodwin has made and he’s very impressed with his effort. Most importantly, he’s happy with Goodwin’s commitment and attitude. Weight loss was only a small portion of Goodwin’s transformation according to Matrisciano, whose focus now with Goodwin will be to rebuild muscle.

“I love Shaq’s body right now,” said Pastner. “I love where Shaq is right now in terms of the athleticism. He’s quick off the floor. He’s bouncy and has a great attitude about him. I really like where he’s at mentally. I think the biggest thing is, and he’s told me this, he said last year he was going to do it his way and his way didn’t work. Now he’s gonna do it my way.

“I’m really looking forward to him having a good year. We’re counting on him. He’s got no option but to have a great year because the team needs him to have a great year. It all starts with his body because he’s now playing above the rim.”

Goodwin is the Tigers’ only returning big man, which means he has to lead the way for the incoming freshmen. Goodwin has acknowledged that he tried to cut corners last season when he could. Those days, he said, are behind him.

“I was ready to get out of practice early. I’m showing up just on time,” said Goodwin. “I realized that if people would only realize that your way will not work. You have to listen to these people.

“People who don’t get results from Frank, they’re not doing the work 100 percent. If you do Frank 100 percent, you will get results. You gotta look in that mirror.”

I received this information from the Commercial Appeal.

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