Competitiveness in the pursuit of a defined goal doesn’t always breed mutual admiration.
Yet the two-pronged battle for the starting point guard position on Kansas University’s women’s basketball team, while intense, is also being waged in a friendly atmosphere.
Neither Angel Goodrich nor Rhea Codio has ever suited up for the Jayhawks. Both appear capable, however, of grabbing the tiller and pulling the steam-whistle cord.
How many minutes each logs in Sunday’s season-opening exhibition game against Pittsburg State will be, to hear them talk, a meaningless statistic.
“When I heard about Angel being at KU,” Codio said, “to me it was about playing alongside another good guard. It’s not about starting. It’s about helping the team.”
Echoed Goodrich: “Rhea is a great player. I think it’s a great thing that Bonnie (Henrickson) recruited her.”
Goodrich came here last year as a promising freshman who was supposed to provide the Jayhawks with a genuine instinctive point guard. Then the native Oklahoman wrecked a knee in the preseason and didn’t play in a single game.
Meanwhile, Codio was toiling about three hours south of Lawrence for Independence Community College, earning All-Jayhawk Juco Conference first-team honors.
As of now, Henrickson hasn’t named a starter. Will she pick the more mature Codio, or the inexperienced Goodrich?
Time will tell, but the KU coach sounds like she wishes she could use Goodrich, who stands 5-foot-4, and the 5-5 Codio at the same time.
“Both are play-making point guards,” Henrickson said. “Both kids are small of stature, but can find a way to score in the paint, and get underneath the big kids and score.”
In a nutshell, Henrickson believes Goodrich and/or Codio will enable the Jayhawks to rely less on a half-court game than they have in the past.
“I think where it will look different,” Henrickson said, “will be our effectiveness in transition.”
Codio averaged 13.8 points and 6.2 assists a game last winter at Independence CC. She isn’t a deadly shooter and it’s doubtful she’ll average in double-figure scoring for the Jayhawks.
“She had to take a lot of shots last year,” Henrickson said, “and that won’t necessarily be the case with us.”
Mostly though, Henrickson likes Codio’s competitiveness.
“She’s not about to hand the job over to Angel,” the KU coach said.
Additional evidence of Codio’s fire was her willingness to ride the subway for long stretches, traveling from her home in Brooklyn, N.Y., to attend the academic-oriented Frederick Douglass Academy in the Harlem area of Manhattan.
Meanwhile, Goodrich doesn’t appear to have accumulated any rust from her enforced layoff because of the injury.
“She hasn’t lost anything,” Henrickson said. “She’s everything I remember her being, even though we had her for only one-and-a-half practices last year.”
As packed with promise as Goodrich and Codio are, they still haven’t played a minute of major-college basketball so expectations probably should be limited, at least for awhile.