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Shining bright in Vegas

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LAS VEGAS – The buzz around St. Anthony’s (N.J.) this past winter was how the addition of New York City transfers Devon Collier, Derrick Williams and Ashton Pankey were going to put the Friars right back on top of the national rankings.

The program, though, had one other transfer from the Big Apple that has flown largely under the radar. Tyquan Goodlett, a Brooklyn native formerly of Bishop Loughlin, played part of the season on junior varsity.

If this summer is any indication, the strong, 6-foot-3 guard won’t remain anonymous much longer.

Goodlett is playing major minutes for the New Heights 16s, a team that went to the Sweet 16 of the Adidas Super 64 this past weekend in Las Vegas. The rising junior already has garnered interest from Big East schools like Rutgers and Providence, not to mention a slew of Atlantic-10 and MAAC programs.

“He can go anywhere from mid to high depending on his progress moving forward,” New Heights 16s coach Joe Leone said. “He has to polish things up offensively, like every 16-year-old kid. But he has all the potential in the world, because of his body, his frame, his physicality.”

Goodlett has set goals for the 2009-10 season. Dominic Cheek, a McDonald’s All-American, has graduated and will play at Villanova this year. Goodlett is hoping to snatch up minutes opened by the departure Cheek, who he said taught him a lot.

“I learned how to play off the ball, learned how to play defense off the ball, learned to know who the best player is regardless if they’re touching the ball,” he said. “I learned how to shoot a little bit from him, too.

Leone assumes Goodlett, who commutes 40 minutes back and forth from Brooklyn to Jersey City every day, will get “major minutes” for the Friars. The coach loves his intensity and toughness.

“We put him on the best perimeter player on the other team every game,” Leone said. “He can guard a 1, a 2, a 3. Whoever the No. 1 option is on that team on the perimeter, we just put [Goodlett] on him and take that away. Then the other four guys can worry about everyone else. Kind of like what Deion Sanders did back in the day, taking away half the field. He takes away half the court.”

This is Goodlett’s first summer playing for New Heights. Before now, he had not really played for a national program. He spent last summer with Rich Soil.

His goal is to get a scholarship to a four-year school. Academics are important. He has an 85 average and wants to be a computer technician after college. These next few months will determine where he’ll end up.

“That’s why I’m working on stuff now, so when school time comes I’ll be good at it,” Goodlett said.

You won’t hear many complaints from his coaches.

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