FAIRMONT — One interesting thing about life is that talent progresses at different paces, and sometimes you won’t quite realize how special someone or something until it hits you later down the line. And if former Trinity Christian boys’ basketball coach John Fowkes is correct, then Fairmont State men’s basketball may be about to experience that lesson first hand over the next few years.
Fowkes sees that type of potential in Seth Goins, who transferred to Trinity Christian for his senior season after spending most of his prep career at Morgantown High. And while he is still awaiting the paperwork to make his decision official, Goins informed Fairmont State head coach Tim Koenig and media members this week that he intends to commit to the Falcons to continue his basketball career.
“It’s an amazing opportunity. I look forward to getting there and trying to prove myself and compete at the highest level,” Goins said.
Goins provided senior leadership this past season for a Trinity Christian squad which had lost nearly its entire roster from back-to-back state tournament appearances, with over 10 seniors graduating the year before. And despite seeing little varsity action in his early career at Morgantown High, he made an immediate impact on the court at Trinity.
Goins would average nearly 20 points per game primarily playing as a point guard, as he helped lead the Warriors to a regional final appearance where they were on the verge of upsetting undefeated Pendleton County before falling short by just seven points. He was named Class A third-team all-state for his senior season performance.
“He’s what I like to call a late bloomer — he’s a really young senior, and I honestly think his best basketball is ahead of him,” Fowkes said.
Goins has known for a spell that he wanted to continue his career collegiately, and his season with Trinity Christian was a perfect stage for him to get the exposure needed. In the end, he received plenty of attention, and the choice came down to West Virginia Wesleyan and Fairmont State. But Goins’ father — James Goins Jr. — had also attended Fairmont State and played football for the Falcons, and the school was at the top of his preferred choices.
“It was a long process. But at the end of the day, Fairmont is where my dad played in college, it’s closer to home, and at the beginning of the season it was ultimately the goal for where I wanted to play. When they called me, it was a no-brainer,” Goins said.
Trinity Christian would finish their most recent season just 12-13, but would reel off five wins in their last eight games after going 7-10 to open the season. One of the keys to the Warriors finding the success they did was Goins’ ability to shoot and score with the ball, which played a role in sparking the team’s offense on their victorious nights — eight of their 12 wins came with scoring 75 or more points, whereas they failed to tally 65 or more points in 10 of their 13 losses.
“Seth’s just a kid that can score. Any night he can drop 30, he likes to shoot, and if he’s open he’s usually going to knock it down. At the college level I assume he’ll play more of a shooting guard role. I could see him doing really well at doing something like coming off screens and shooting it,” Fowkes said.
“But he can also take it to the rim, he just has all kinds of abilities. As he gets stronger and learns to understand the game more, like I said, I think his best days are ahead of him.”
“My shooting ability was something that even when the rest of my game may have been off this season, my shooting ability was on, and that helped me be the leading scorer on the team,” Goins said.
But perhaps the biggest asset that Goins has worked to develop in the past year under Fowkes is his defense, which he believes will help immensely as he is faced with stronger and more athletic competition at the D2 level than he saw in high school — and coming from Morgantown High, which consistently has one of the strongest defenses in West Virginia prep basketball, he was no certainly no slouch defensively to begin with.
“With Coach Fowkes this season, I felt like I got better at defense. He would have me chase a player, or he’d have me just guard a single player. I think I got better at that this past season. He would always push me — he told me if I was going to be the best player on the floor, I would have to be able to guard the other team’s best player,” Goins said.
“So I would try to always guard the best player, match myself up, and make it a priority for myself to shut him down. He put more of a responsibility on me, and I began to take it on as more of a challenge. So I learned to lead the team in that area.”
“Seth has been coached on good defense probably for four years with me and Dave Tallman — we both coach the basic fundamentals of defense and teach you how to play not just on the ball defense but in help defense, and those can all translate to great things at the college level,” Fowkes said.