CHAMPAIGN – Luke Goode returned to campus on Monday after successful surgery on October 28 to repair a crack in his left foot he suffered during Illinois’ “secret” game against Kansas in September. before.
Illini’s sophomore guard also showed up in good spirits, Thursday night at Huff Hall. Goode was with teammates Coleman Hawkins and Matthew Mayer to watch the Illinois volleyball team play against the 3rd Wisconsin team in the Big Ten tournament. When Goode might join his teammates on the basketball court again, however, has yet to be determined.
“He had an unbelievable, positive surgery,” Illinois coach Brad Underwood said Friday. “There is nothing more complicated or complicated. It’s quite simple. He is in the process of recovering. The doctors gave him a pretty strict plan. … There will be a reassessment in six weeks.”
That timetable means Goode will likely miss the first 11 games of the 2022-23 season, which begins with Monday’s 8 p.m. game against Eastern Illinois at State Farm Center. That’s at least 11 games where Illinois won’t have one of their best shooters and – more importantly for Underwood – one of their best court leaders and communicators.
“I always say this, points and bounces are really easy to replace,” the Illinois coach said. “You can go find those in other areas. Communicators and leaders are really hard to replace. Luke takes great pride in being a leader, and he takes that very seriously. He is also a constant talker on the pitch. Communication is huge. That we cannot replace right now.”
Underwood said he could see returning players Coleman Hawkins and RJ Melendez evolving into that role. The same is true, Underwood added, for transfer defender Terrence Shannon Jr. and freshman bodyguard Ty Rodgers.
“The biggest challenge – especially with young guys – is getting them to talk,” says Underwood. “Now they are never silent in the dressing room, but on the pitch they are silent. We’re taking them there and challenging them in that field all the time.”
Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is email@example.com and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).