Brookfield Central senior forward Elijah Goodman seems to be a soft-spoken, courteous young man when he's not on a basketball court.
But when there is a loose ball coming off the backboard, you have to feel sorry for a player standing between him and the basketball. That's when Goodman turns into the amazing rebounding machine that he has become for the past two seasons.
So it is not surprising that for the second straight season the Lancers' powerful rebounding machine has used those skills to make the NOW All-Suburban basketball team's prestigious 12-man squad.
"He is not only the greatest post man that I have ever coached but the greatest rebounder and the greatest offensive rebounder I have ever coached," said retired Central coach Mark Adams.
Goodman, a two-time first-team all-conference player and a Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association honorable mention selection this season, has averaged 14.1 rebounds per game, which includes six offensive rebounds per game.
"He has an unbelievable nose for the ball," Brookfield East coach Matt Malett said. "Even if you got them to take a quick or forced shot this year, he was so dangerous because he extended their offensive possessions."
He had 20 games with double figures in points and rebounds and four games with 20 or more rebounds, including one game where he pulled down 26 against Marquette University High School to fall one short of the school record.
He finished second on the school's all-time rebounding list with 739 and finished 13th on the school's all-time scoring list with 731 points.
"Elijah seems to be a true student of rebounding, recognizing where the ball is going to miss and putting himself in the right spot to get the board," Wauwatosa East coach Tim Arndorfer said. "On top of that, he has the physical tools that are needed to be an exceptional rebounder."
Goodman used a variety of moves around the basket to average 13.8 points per game this season, shooting 66 percent from the field.
And Goodman, at 6-foot-5, did this after losing 55 pounds the past two seasons after Adams told him he would get more playing time if he rebounded.
"I started losing it my junior year," Goodman recalled. "My sophomore year when I played I was dead tired after a minute. I knew I had to be in better shape.
"In April or May after the season I was 270 pounds and I got down to 215 last baseball season. But I felt it was too much, so I'm 225 now and that's the way I like it.
"I definitely could play the whole game; I was not tired. I'm more flexible now. I've been taking Yoga classes."
Despite having played on teams with a 61-11 overall record (.847 winning percentage) and a 38-4 league record (.905) with two Greater Metro Conference titles (one shared), it was the people Goodman will remember.
"To see how much we grew from last year to this year," he said. "We were basically the same team, but to see how much better we got."
Goodman's teammate, Riley LaChance, who also is on the NOW All-Suburban Team and is this season's Player of the Year, shared some thoughts on the gentle giant.
"It was an honor to play with him," he said. "He kept us in games, won us a lot of games. His work ethic is second to none.
"He may not be the biggest, the most athletic or the fastest, but no one could box out like he did, no one could out-work him."
Goodman, an outstanding hitter and pitcher, has not officially announced his college choice. But if he had his preference he would like to play both baseball and basketball at the next level.
"I've always felt that way," he said. "I love basketball. I love baseball."
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