Jan. 22, 2013
Standing at 5’4, she’s the shortest player on the NC State women’s basketball team this season, but Myisha Goodwin-Coleman’s lack of height has not slowed the drive and determination of the junior guard since her freshman campaign began in 2010.
"Its been fun,” Goodwin-Coleman said with a smile. “I came in as a freshman and I was a little shaky getting started. A lot of freshman are like that, getting used to the practices, games and the love of competition. Since then, I've settled down and moved into playing. Time flies. It seems like yesterday I was a freshman and now I'm a junior.”
Modest to a fault, Goodwin-Coleman may view her first season as a bit shaky, but her numbers beg to differ. Her 113 assists in 2010-11 were the second most ever by a Wolfpack freshman.
Though time may be passing by quickly for the Lorton, Va., native, there have been plenty of memorable games and moments in the first two-and-a-half seasons of Goodwin-Coleman’s collegiate career. Wolfpack fans probably agree with her choices for her top two memories, but from the player’s perspective, those moments are kept even closer to heart.
"Some of my favorite highlights were when we beat UNC at home my freshman year, and last year, when we beat top-seeded Duke in the ACC Tournament,” Goodwin-Coleman said. “No one was expecting that besides us."
It might have been considered ludicrous to imagine NC State defeating top-seeded Duke in the quarterfinals of the tournament, especially after the Blue Devils posted a 15-1 record in league play during the regular season and defeated the Wolfpack 83-59 just two months prior.
It was on the inside that counted most for the Wolfpack. And by the inside, it’s not limiting that reference to heart, but rather the players, staff and coaches who made the improbable a reality. Goodwin-Coleman made quite the contribution in the contest, posting 12 points, three rebounds, four assists and two steals in the 75-73 upset victory.
"The leadership of the seniors we had last year helped us believe we could beat Duke,” Goodwin-Coleman stated. “We all believed we could do it, so we went out there and showed that we could. I don't think anyone else believed we could, but the 15 players and our coaches did. It was one of the best games ever for me."
One of the top-50 prospects in the country coming out of high school, Goodwin-Coleman had numerous schools hoping to receive her commitment to their programs. It was during her visit to Raleigh that her college choice became clear.
"I loved how it's a family-oriented program, how the alumni always come back, or the people in the pros who represent that they came from here, and while they're in the pros, have on their NC State stuff,” Goodwin-Coleman said. “I love this program - It's family oriented. That's the number one thing. When I met the players and the coaching staff, I told myself: 'this is for me. I need this.'"
It’s a common conception that prospective student-athletes need the right people around them to select the right college choice. Goodwin-Coleman had that part of her recruiting process down from the start.
Not only was the emphasis on family that sold the guard on choosing NC State, it was the relational experience and one-to-one relationship she developed with head coach Kellie Harper.
"Kellie has three or four rings of her own,” Goodwin-Coleman stated. “She's experienced. How many coaches or players can go to practice and say: 'Our coaches practice with us; our coach is on the scout team.' Not many, so I thought that was big, too."
Goodwin-Coleman also has no difficulty finding an inspiration or motive to play her hardest every time she steps on the court because that’s what Harper does for the entire Wolfpack team.
"She motivates us because she gives 110 percent all the time,” Goodwin-Coleman said. “She's always walking up and down the sideline, sometimes stomping her heels, and she's always excited. She gives all of her energy all the time.
“That right there is our motivation. Everyone feeds off of her and you need that from your head coach."
Goodwin-Coleman is typically one of the NC State players that serves as a driving force in terms of play making and turning the momentum in favor off the Wolfpack in a game. Her knack for and comfort with taking key three-point shots are evident in her style of play, but it’s another aspect of her game in which she takes the most pride.
"I like shooting threes, but I mostly like passing and getting assists,” Goodwin-Coleman said. “I like making the players around me better.”
She has done quit well at finding her teammates so far, and barring injury will likely finish among the top-five assist makers in school history.
Add in she is already one of only 11 Wolfpack women players to make over 100 career three-pointers, and she truly is a dual threat on the court.
As long as the rest of the upperclassmen on NC State’s roster this season can be as unselfish and willing to make the rest of the players on the team better in the same manner as Goodwin-Coleman, the Wolfpack will have the opportunity to achieve the squad’s main goal this season, and that goal sits at the top of each player’s mind every time they take the court.
"I want us to make it back to the [NCAA] tournament,” Goodwin-Coleman stated without hesitation. “I want us to be that team that people say: ‘They're tough. They want it bad.’"
Many spectators view Goodwin-Coleman as a short, instinctual point guard, who dribbles the ball in short, heavy strokes and makes split-second decisions on whether to take a quick jumper or make a no-look pass down low, but that might not necessarily be how she wants to be remembered once her days in a Wolfpack uniform have passed. She wants to be recognized for her passion and will to help the team in any way possible.
"I want to be remembered as that player who competed, never gave up and wanted it bad."
With more than 75 games in her college career under her belt, Goodwin-Coleman recently passed the halfway mark in terms of eligibility, but she is still determined to finish the second half of her time at NC State to the best of her abilities, while creating more memories for Wolfpack fans to reminisce upon, both before and after her playing days have passed.
"Time is winding down,” Goodwin-Coleman said with a sigh. “Next year is my last year, but I'm kind of excited for what’s to come [this season]."
By Adam Miller, NC State Media Relations