|Last Update: May 1, 2017|
Age: 1956 -
Profession: Life-time Basketball
Birthplace: Bristol, Pennsylvania
Location: Brandenton, Florida
For nearly four seasons now, Ernie Goodis has been causing excitement with his basketball scoring exploits, much like any other talented high school youngster who can contribute 30 points a game. His 6-foot-2½inch size dictates that he perform in the forecourt, although he has the dribbling ability and the court sense to play at guard. He has a better than 50 per cent shooting average, scores well off the drive and is a strong rebounder.
Goodis, however, is quite different from most athletically-skilled youngsters. He cannot hear, the victim of a nerve defect that left him deaf at birth.
Yet, the senior for Marie Katzenbach School for the Deaf in West Trenton has not let that handicap him on the basketball court. Last season, he became the Mercer County high school career scoring leader.
And last week, Ernie moved past the 2,000-point mark in career scoring, an achievement shared by only 16 other New Jersey schoolboys. Obviously, it was the highlight of a remarkable career for him and his fans, 300 of whom traveled to South Brunswick to watch Ernie score 26 points.
“Emotionally, he never showed he was trying for it and never got overly excited about it, but I know he was,” Coach John Fedorchak points out. “He was a little fidgety before the game, but he played his regular game. He reacts well under pressure.”
Ernie is also a pitcher on the baseball team, alternating between first and third base when he is not on the mound, and he's one of the club's leading hitters. This season and last he played wing for the soccer team.
“He can take any game and, after a few days, he has learned it pretty well,” notes Fedorchak, who has been teaching physical education at the school since 1940.
Ernie, whose point total was 2,037 through a 6-10 won-lost record this season, began honing his basketball talents in a Catholic Youth Organization program and has made his parents, who live in Willingboro, proud of his accomplishments. Last summer, he played in a Burlington County summer league and averaged 25 points a game.
Fedorchak, who communicates to the players through the use of hand signs, says that growing up in a family situation probably helped Ernie learn quickly to lip read. He's an above-average student, but he has had some reading interpretation problems one would expect.
He would like to attend a regular college, but will also be considering Gallaudet College in Washington, the only college for deaf in the country, or Rochester Institute of Technology, which has a program for the deaf.
Hopefully, there will be the chance to continue his athletics, too. They have meant a lot to him and to the people around him.
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