When P R E P S C E N E initially spoke with recent Lafayette College signee and Trinity High School (Camp Hill, PA) senior Sean Good about writing a piece for underclassman, or coaches, and parents to share with younger student athletes, he lit up like a Christmas tree. The six foot-eleven inch, walking double double, who averaged just under 5 blocks a game as a junior could not hold back his enthusiasm. You could hear it in his voice, the towering star with offers from schools in the Big 10 and ACC wanted to dive right in. He was extremely complementary about the goal of our OVERTIME series; to help athletes grow on and off the court. He has done numerous interviews and has talked all about his decision to attend Lafayette over the last few weeks, but for him, you could tell, this was different. It was a chance to give back, to pay it forward. Success is never an accident, and immediately after speaking with Sean, I was reminded of a book by Jon Huntsman, Sr., a multi-billionaire who started a chemical company from scratch and grew it into a $12 billion dollar enterprise. In his book “Winners Never Cheat” he states that “There are no moral shortcuts in the game of business (I’ll insert basketball here) or life,” … “There are, basically, three kinds of people, the unsuccessful, the temporarily successful, and those who become and remain successful. The difference is character.” .
Young kids looking to play this game at a very high level pay close attention to Sean’s insight about honesty and integrity. The value he places on having quality people in his life, the value he places on the constructive criticism and advice he received along the way. This interview provides remarkably mature insight into “The Process” of becoming a college scholarship worthy basketball player. Insight into character, the often overlooked variable in the high stakes world of win at all cost basketball. The theme throughout our interview and what kept resonating the most in one form or fashion – was Character. For Sean and his inner circle, honesty & integrity is a constant state of mind and is not situational. He is thankful for the benefits he has received by being surrounded with high character individuals along his journey. Individuals that have been truthfully honest with him throughout every step of the process, even when it was uncomfortable or unfavorable. Individuals that not only invest in his athletic skills but in his character and integrity as he follows in their footsteps.
First off, Congratulations on signing on the dotted line with Coach O’Hanlon and the Lafayette Leopards. That is big time, $200,000 dollars worth of education with one of the nations highest ranked Liberal Arts colleges. Good stuff!
“Thank you I appreciate it. It is an amazing opportunity”
What was it that made you say, Lafayette is where I will spend the next four years of my life and grow as a man?
“I had it down to a couple of schools,…Lafayette, Colgate, Rice, and Columbia…It was weird this year, a lot of people committed early so things were a little hectic. (Alluding to the recruiting dominoe effect, of players accepting scholarship offers. This can change the recruiting landscape of several schools recruiting the same players/postions. One commitment can make a player an instant priority, it can also put added pressure on others with offers to make decisions, “guaranteeing” themselves a roster spot. What can unfold is a domino effect in which one highly recruited player makes a selection and others down the line follow suit for a variety of reasons.) I took an official to Lafayette and just loved it there. My shadow… freshman, Justin Jaworski was just amazing, I loved the campus.”
I have seen you mention in other articles about the importance of family to you, did this play into the decision at all to remain in state?
“Yes, Lafayette is in the perfect spot for me, where it is far enough away from home but not unreachable. Games will be easily accessible for family and friends. I have said it over and over but must say it again. I love Coach O’Hanlon, he reminded me so much of Coach Kos (Larry Kostelac, Trinity Head Coach). Same kind of Stand Up Guys. Their word is their bond… The are both genuine, honest and hard working. If you need something done, they are selfless and will be on it in an instant… they get things done the right way. They are just those kind of honorable guys.
What did you like most about the visit?
“Throughout my visit the guys on the team were great, I had a lot of genuine conversations, actually one or more with each team member. The conversations were spontaneous, open and honest… It was great! You could tell it was natural and the guys wanted to get to know me and ultimately play with me in the future. I had the opportunity to shadow a couple classes…absolutely loved the academic environment. It is a lot like Trinity, they are not a huge school…class sizes are pretty small… very well respected, great student to faculty ratio and an amazing Engineering program… and that is what I will be majoring in, Chemical Engineering…..All around the perfect fit! Each school in my final list offered so much… For me Lafayette was just the right combination at the right moment.”
Okay the decision is made, your mind is made up. walk me through the process…
“I called Coach O’Hanlon and told him I am committing to attend Lafayette College… The call was very celebratory. Happy upbeat! Dreams do come true, all that good stuff…I got my school, they got their guy… it’s great everyone is all happy… and then the phone hangs up. Immediately you realize you have to call Coach Langel at Colgate, Coach Pera at Rice, Coach Engels at Columbia… For a young individual it is a tough thing to do but also something you learn from,,,, you have to tell someone, you’re sorry… you loved so much about their school, staff and players… you appreciated all the time we shared as you recruited me, thank you for having me up for my visit but I have decided that Lafayette College is the best choice for my future. I mean it was tough, very tough, extremely tough …. I became friends with all of those coaches and it was really really tough but it is definitely a learning experience…learning to deliver unfavorable news in a professional manner, that’s the one good thing I kinda drew from that. It is definitely that kind of moment when your calling them, the phone is ringing, and your planning in your head what you are going to say… They aren’t expecting it… All three coaches were great… They weren’t thrilled by any means but they all expressed the idea mutually that I had great opportunities in front of me no matter who I choose…
They mentioned each other in a way… They were understanding. You have got to do it, you have to make those calls. The day of… you have to suck it up… Communicate honestly… you can’t leave people hanging …Let people know, be honest. Being honest will carry you through so many aspects of your life. just communication, just quick honest communication… very simple straight forward…It will be awkward but as long as you tell them with honesty they will respect you for it!”
At what age did you begin to get serious about the game of Basketball?
“My gravitivity towards basketball started kind of in a big way with Steve Little out of Steelton, PA. He was huge in pushing this snow ball down the hill for me. When I was in the 5th grade going into the 6th grade, I was really tall, lanky and uncoordinated. I was a work in progress, but I loved basketball. I loved it, really starting to get into it. Coach Little put me on his BrakBred team, we were 12U at the time….a bunch of us guys like Shaquon Anderson-Butts (Harrisburg WR – Penn State Football commit) , Brian Garner (Susquehanna, WR), Shakeel Sheppard (Susquehanna, RB) Yahmir Wilkerson (Harrisburg, QB) just a bunch of really good athletes. It was so much fun, we were really good … I really liked Coach Little and we practiced all the time. He really got me into the game of basketball, his practices were really tough. He instilled that work ethic into me. Made me really think about working on my game after I left practice, when he wasn’t around, you know off days that whole summer, just play at the park… instilled the want to be better in me when I was 11-12 years old. He planted the seed, and we have been watering it ever since. I still keep in touch with him, to this day…I always talk to him. I owe a lot to him I really do.”
Growing up, is there anyone you patterned your game after? Someone that you pretended to be during those hot summer days in the park?
“Looking back when I was younger who I really liked was… It’s funny, I never really watched a lot of basketball when I was young. I can say one of the first people that I started to realistically pattern my game after, like around seventh grade, was Stephan Adams. I watched Stephen Adams in college, when he was at Pitt, I liked his game. I seen a lot of what I could be in him. I still like watching him today. I wasn’t the kid that was always watching basketball when I was young… That was one thing Coach Steve Little did that was huge for me…He was very honest…he presented me with, here are your pluses and minuses and here is what you need to work on to get to the next level. He had me think into the future -plan ahead a little…visualize where I was going. I knew at an early age who I was and tried to box my game up and do what I personally was good at and work on my own at what I was not.
Steve Little coached you for several years, even into high school prior to you joining forces with Nike sponsored Team Final out of the Philadelphia area. Tell me about your decision and what led you to go with Team Final.
“It was a tough decision, because I really loved Coach Little and I knew that he always was looking out for my best interest. He had always been a stand up guy, told me exactly what I needed to work on… you want to play major college basketball here is what you need to develop. His honesty made it easier but I was still worried about it…How would I tell him. I…. at the time I really wanted to play for him, but I also wanted to play for Team Final. We had a great deal of open and honest conversations that winter leading up to the Spring and Summer AAU season… We talked about it and actually he was one of the people who really propelled me to do it. From what I remember he was like Go for it, I mean Team Final, the whole EYBL scene, I mean that’s a big time stage. He was like go for it, you will be missed…not being able to coach you, you will be missed but he knew it was a good opportunity for me. I was fortunate to have him as a selfless mentor looking out for my best interest. Our discussions really helped me down the road.” Uncomfortable, open and honest conversations, I grew up when I had to tell Coach Little my plans…Funny, looking back, I think he even mentioned I would be having these difficult conversations again when it was time to choose a college…at the time I didn’t think anything of it. He was right”
Playing in the EYBL, arguably the premier summer basketball circuit in the country what would you say you learned the most from that experience?
“I loved my time with Team Final. It was a huge time commitment, most of my teammates were from, in or around the Philadelphia area…I had to drive an hour forty minutes to practice every weekend. So I learned time management. The travel is extensive, I’ve seen a lot of the country, so how to travel and perform at a high level…I loved the traveling aspect of it and you room with the guys… I roomed with a bunch of different guys throughout my years with Final… I really grew close with a good amount of them. Just to name a few…Like Sam Sessoms, initially the first year I played for Final… him and I clashed, we were like total opposites but as the years passed… this summer me and him we are really good friends its funny how that worked out. So I learned a lot about myself.”
Who helped you navigate the recruiting process?
“Coach Kostelac was instrumental. Now a days people don’t view your high school experience as important as the summer AAU season. I’ve even heard people express that high school doesn’t really matter. But I will tell you it may be shifting in that direction in but it’s still pretty much a lot of high school involvement. College coaches get a lot of information from your high school coach. Especially with a guy as prestigious as Coach Kos, he is so well respected, for his honesty, again his word is his bond. He is high character. He is a proven evaluator of talent, if he says you’re a good player-anybody who is anybody will believe what he is saying. Coach Kos and Rob Brown (Director of Team Final) actually… its funny…They got to be good friends too along the way. They were working mutually on my behalf. Coach Kos would send out a lot of film from my high school games, make contacts. Rob Brown would put him in contact with the coaches that were contacting him and vise versa. They grew close. They both would relay it back to me and the two of them together were actually an extremely beneficial resource for my family…all around…. I would ask Rob Brown if he had contacts at a certain school that I had an interest in and he was just that guy … I would be on the phone with them.”
At what age did you become familiar or concern yourself with the NCAA requirements, terms such as NCAA Core Credits, Core GPA, & SAT scores ect?
“Its funny… I always wanted to do good in school. I have always been a good student. Coach Kos, when I first came to Trinity he foresaw that I would be going somewhere in four years on an athletic scholarship of some sort and he made it a point to put me in contact with the student adviser/counselor at Trinity. Before I walked in the door he had someone that I was working with, planning ahead to meet the NCAA Core Requirements. It was my 8th grade summer and we planned out my 4 years of high school tentatively… what I would be taking. You can not stress the importance of that enough. It does not take a huge amount of work, but just a little knowledge, diligence and applying yourself… that’s all you need to do… apply yourself and think and plan ahead!!”
Let me know what to expect from the Shamrocks in 2018?
I am excited to enjoy the last year with the team, especially the seniors… 5-6 of us, we came up through the program together. We want to leave our mark on the proud tradition of Trinity Basketball… we have to make it count… Have fun enjoy it and make the most of the season, go as far as we can… League, Districts, States our goals remain the same but you have got to enjoy playing. There will be tough times this season, there are every season but this game is fun… One thing you can count on, we will enjoy it and make it count.
Anything you would like to add to the underclassman reading?
“Absolutely, have fun with the game of basketball, don’t take it so serious that you burn out. Remember to have fun, that still means work hard but make it fun and memorable. Do your research early and often, on the schools that show you interest. Academic curriculm, stlye of play, coaches, players… do your homework…Evaluate yourself honestly. What are your strengths and weaknesses, have people in your corner that will tell you the truth! Work hard that will take you far, farther than most people will get. Outwork your competition.”