One sequence last night at American University's Bender Arena illustrated just how different Tamir Goodman can expect things to be this season at Takoma Academy: With his team trailing by one point with three seconds left in regulation, Goodman was throwing an inbounds pass instead of receiving it.
His pass from the baseline found center Teddy Stewart, who was fouled and made one free throw to send the game into overtime. But The Heights scored seven straight points in the extra session en route to a 47-41 victory in the season opener and Beltway Basketball League opener for both teams.
Goodman, making his Takoma Academy debut after transferring from Talmudical Academy in Baltimore, finished with 14 points (on 5-of-14 shooting) and 10 rebounds. But it was another transfer--The Heights's junior guard Jason Forte--who stole the show.
Forte, who played at DeMatha last season, finished with a game-high 20 points. The younger brother of 1998-99 player of the year Joe Forte (the former DeMatha star who is a freshman at North Carolina) had three points and two assists in overtime, including a half-court pass to Florian Moeller, who made a layup that gave The Heights a 40-39 lead it did not lose.
But it was the debut of Goodman, a red-haired, 6-foot-3, 155-pound Orthodox Jew who averaged over 36 points per game last season, that drew most of the crowd of 350 to Bender. Goodman unofficially committed to Maryland last season before rescinding his commitment, saying he no longer felt wanted by the Terrapins. He since has signed a letter-of-intent with Towson University.
Goodman observes the Jewish Sabbath and cannot play on Saturdays--which made Takoma, a Seventh-Day Adventist school that does not schedule games on that day--a logical place for him to go to school after he decided to leave Talmudical.
He knows his role with Takoma will be much different from the one at Talmudical. Last year, he had the green light to shoot just about all the time, putting up more than 40 attempts at times. Last night, he did not take his first shot until 24 seconds elapsed in the second quarter.
"Last year they counted on me for everything," Goodman said. "But here I have a different role."
Goodman said he is happy with his decision to transfer, even though it means a traffic-heavy, 90-minute commute from his family's house in Pikesville to the Takoma Park school every morning.
"I tell the [Takoma] guys all the time that they saved my life," Goodman said. "Most everyone had turned their backs on me. I did not have a high school or a college. When everyone was running away from me, Takoma took me in. No one here has been anything but nice to me and accepting of me. I love the guys here."
Goodman will face tough competition this year. Takoma already has scrimmaged Washington area private-school powers Notre Dame and Newport School. It also will play BBL opponent Montrose Christian, which has had three players sign with Division I schools.
"Everyone has a role here and I am just trying to fill mine," Goodman said. "I am still trying to learn to play with my new teammates. Basically, I feel like a rookie senior."
CAPTION: Takoma Academy's Tamir Goodman scored 14 points in first game since transferring from Talmudical Academy and choosing Towson over Maryland.