The season after next, La Salle basketball followers will be looking up to their Explorers as they haven't in recent years.
Coach John Giannini has addressed his team's lack of size by signing Vernon Goodridge, a 6-foot-9, 230-pound center/forward who is transferring to La Salle after two seasons at Mississippi State, and Jameson Keefe, a 7-3, 290-pound center from Troy (N.Y.) High School.
Under NCAA transfer guidelines, Goodridge must sit out next season. He will have two years of eligibility at La Salle. Giannini said yesterday he would likely redshirt Keefe to work on his athleticism. He expects Goodridge to make an immediate impact when he becomes eligible for the 2008-09 season.
"Vernon is extremely athletic," Giannini said. "He really can do some spectacular things in terms of running the floor, blocking shots and rebounding. It's difficult to get a player with good size who can do those things. He was recruited as one of the top players in the country coming out of prep school. I think it's pretty clear he didn't meet the expectations he had at Mississippi State, but there's no question in my mind that if given the opportunity he can really be a force."
A native of Brooklyn, Goodridge attended Lutheran Christian Academy in Philadelphia, a school the NCAA recently removed from its accredited list. Last season at Mississippi State, he played in 29 games, starting five. He averaged 2.3 points and 3.0 rebounds and had 27 blocked shots in 8.2 minutes a game.
Giannini also confirmed that Brian Grimes, a 6-7 freshman from Germantown Academy, has decided to transfer to either Penn or Columbia.