Savon Goodman was always one of Dave Rice’s favorite players. From the way Rice touted Goodman to the press, to the way he tried to find effective playing time for him last year as a freshman, it was obvious that Rice was a Goodman fan.
But Rice took a hard stance after Goodman was charged with two felonies in a burglary case over the summer, suspending him for the 2013-14 season. Rice said at the time that Goodman would have to be on his best behavior in order to eventually rejoin the team, but the other shoe dropped on Friday afternoon, when UNLV announced that Goodman would be leaving the team permanently.
After Friday’s practice, Rice addressed Goodman’s departure from the team.
“He made the decision in the last 24 hours that he wanted to leave the program,” Rice said. “I think he felt like he needed a fresh start. I know in his statement he talked about feeling a lot of pressure the last few months, so I just think he felt like a fresh start would be good for him. Obviously I understand that decision and support him, and we move forward.”
When asked if anything had happened recently to spur Goodman’s exit, Rice didn’t want to go into specifics.
“He was always a great teammate and worked extremely hard in practice,” Rice said. “I think the thing about that is we are all evaluated, players are evaluated on a day-by-day basis in a lot of ways. I choose to remember his contributions to our program. He helped us win 25 games last year and he was hard-working, and I wish him the best. I’m not going to get into the day-to-day things and evaluations.”
That seems to leave open the question of which side really made this decision, but Rice said it was Goodman’s call.
Rice also said the rest of the Rebels were disappointed to see Goodman go, but are prepared to move on with the season.
“Savon is very popular with his teammates, so certainly our guys will all miss him and miss his work ethic,” he said. “This is a close-knit group and I know they all stay in touch. And just like our coaching staff and I are there for Savon, I know our players will support him as well.”
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