(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)
BACK IN THE FLOW: Princeton Day School senior star Drew Godwin flies to the basket in recent action. After being sidelined for the Panthers' first six games due to a ankle sprain, Godwin has returned to post a 20.2 scoring average in his five appearances so far this season. PDS, who fell to 4-7 with a 57-43 loss to Rutgers Prep last Friday, hosts Princeton High on January 19, plays at Keyport in January 21, and then hosts Hightstown on January 23.
A disturbing vision flashed through Drew Godwin's head as he went down with a badly sprained ankle just days before he was to start his senior season with the Princeton Day School boys' hoops team.
"The whole season went through my head," said Godwin, who passed the 1,000-point mark in his PDS career late last season. "I was all upset. It was real tough to be out. I am so glad to be back. My ankle feels good."
Godwin's joy in being back on the floor has translated into some productive play as he has averaged 20.2 points a game in his five appearances this season.
More importantly, Godwin has been playing point guard, taking as much pride in his passing as his deadly shooting in triggering the Panther offense.
"Over the summer, I really worked on being a point guard," said Godwin. "Distributing is what a point guard does and that's how we're going to be victorious."
With PDS going 2-2 in its last four games with wins over Pennington and Timothy Christian followed by losses to Gil St. Bernard's and Rutgers Prep, Godwin thinks his early-season absence may help the team over the long haul.
"It was good that the other kids stepped up," said Godwin, noting that PDS had six different starting lineups in the six games he missed. "Now that I'm back, we can actually play together. They got good experience and that can keep us going."
Godwin is enjoying playing together with sophomore star Jordan Mickens as the two have forged a real connection on the court.
"Jordan and I went to the 5-Star basketball camp last summer," said Godwin. "We really developed a bond and learned to play together. He's going to be a great player."
PDS head coach Kyle Zosulis knows that he has a great player and leader in Godwin. "He's doing it all," said Zosulis, referring to his senior point guard. "Every coach should be lucky enough to have a Drew Godwin. He doesn't get rattled; he rebounds the ball. He has stepped up and has been a total leader for us. The guy has 'it' and he's sharing it with everyone on the team."
A main beneficiary of Godwin's return has been the talented Mickens. "The continuity is starting to get there," said Zosulis, referring to the on-court partnership between Godwin and Mickens. "Jordan played on the perimeter a lot last year. In Drew's absence, he had to go inside a lot. It's making a big difference having him go towards the basket."
While the offensive punch PDS gets from Godwin and Mickens is important, Zosulis sees team defense as the key to success this winter.
"It all comes down to defense, every single time," said Zosulis, whose team is 4-7 and and hosts Princeton High on January 19, plays at Keyport on January 21, and then hosts Hightstown on January 23.
"We have the third-ranked defense team among prep teams in the area. We're proud of that. Four weeks ago, I couldn't get them to talk. Now they are opening their mouths and communicating with each other. They look for one another; they're starting to get it."
Godwin, for his part, is looking to help the Panthers make a title run. "I'm just trying to do whatever I can do to help this team win," said Godwin, who plans to keep playing at the college level and is looking at such schools as Penn, Emory, Washington University, Tufts, and Chicago. "We're going to make a push for the championship. I made it my sophomore year and I really want to go back."
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