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Plainfield Central's Duvaun Goodlow (23) dunks during Wednesday's game between Plainfield Central and Glenbard South high schools. | Paul Bergstrom ~ For Sun-Times Media

DuVaun Goodlow expected some trash talk, and he wasn’t surprised when it came to fruition Friday night.

Goodlow made his first appearance back on the Romeoville floor after transferring to Plainfield Central. The newest Wildcat received quite the welcome.

“It’s a fun experience, but I never thought I’d come back and play against my old team,” Goodlow said. “But it’s good competition, and I wanted to come out and show them that I still got it. I was (nervous) warming up, but we’ve played them before and I wanted to come out and do a good job.”

Goodlow, a 6-foot-3 forward, scored 10 points against the host Spartans in the Romeoville Tournament’s large-school title game, boosting Plainfield Central to a 54-36 pasting of his former team.

The win advanced the Wildcats into the tournament’s overall title game against Lemont the next night, but Goodlow didn’t have the same magic and the Wildcats fell 61-53. Goodlow finished with a respectable nine points and eight rebounds.

Even though the loss dropped the Wildcats to 6-6, there’s no doubt Goodlow’s presence this year has helped by leaps and bounds.

Goodlow’s main sport always has been football, where he’s been a wide receiver. When he was at Romeoville, basketball coach Jeff Bambule primarily used Goodlow off the bench. Goodlow’s been used in the starting rotation for Central by coach Steve Lamberti.

“He’s just a good kid. He’s a senior leader, and he didn’t play a lot of basketball last year because he moved (to Plainfield) in the middle of the year,” Lamberti said. “He’s just been the kind of kid who gives us energy and he gives us something that we really don’t have — that athleticism and size.
“We’re proud of him for fitting in and being a leader for us.”

Goodlow has fit in with guards Curtis Harrington and Mitch Young, both seniors. And Goodlow’s size in the post also complements 6-5 junior forward-center Logan Velasquez and 6-2 freshman forward Justin Windt.

“Being (at Romeoville), I was just one of the players that was like a reserve and I sat around,” Goodlow said. “I knew my responsibilities, but when (Bambule) put me in I was hustling and I was doing my job: grabbing rebounds and getting as many points as I could to help the team win. I was just a big Energizer Bunny on the bench.”

Goodlow’s situation is totally different. He plays on a regular basis, though he didn’t spend the offseason doing any basketball conditioning. It was all about football.

“Since I transferred I play a big role in leadership and trying to get boards and putting up points,” Goodlow said. “It’s better for me. I like it here. In the offseason I was playing football, so I only had a week of trying to practice (basketball). I was trying to gather everything together and learn things really quickly so I could come out and be ready to play.”

There’s little doubt Romeoville misses Goodlow for his leadership and size. The Spartans are 3-9 and let the Plainfield Central game get away from them for good in the third quarter. Romeoville trailed by five points at halftime, but near the end of the third quarter Plainfield Central flew out to a 12-point advantage.

“My relationship with every player on the Romeoville team is real close, but when we get on the court it’s a whole different relationship,” Goodlow said. “I can’t act like they’re my best friends. We have to go against each other. It’s skill to skill; we compete against each other and we have fun.”

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