Paul Boyd is a sports reporter for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He was voted Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2018.
Goforth, McDonald's All-American from Fayetteville, will transfer to Arkansas from Oregon State
Oregon State's Sasha Goforth (13) plays during an NCAA basketball game against Utah on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, in Corvallis, Ore. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)
Sasha Goforth is coming home.
The former Fayetteville High School standout announced on her Twitter account Wednesday afternoon she will transfer to the University of Arkansas.
Goforth, a member of the Pac-12 all-freshman team this year at Oregon State, announced her intention to enter the transfer portal Monday evening to play “closer to home.”
That got Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors’ attention.
“We watch the portal, but got a little bit more interested in it after we saw that tweet,” Neighbors said. “She reached out and like I always do I had a lot of patience. I think I waited 30 seconds to call her.
“We got reacquainted and made sure we were all still on the same page, which we were, and a few minutes later we had our newest Razorback.”
The 6-1 guard started every game this season for the Beavers. She averaged 11.6 points 3.6 rebounds per game. She also shot 36% (24 of 67) from three-point range.
The former McDonald’s All-American was ranked as a five-star recruit and the No. 7 recruit in the 2020 class by one recruiting service coming out of high school.
Goforth is a multi-dimensional talent who averaged almost one blocked shot per game to go with 1.7 assists. That’s just one of many gifts she brings to the Razorbacks, Neighbors said.
“She’s effective on both sides of the ball, which we need,” Neighbors said. “She can guard one through five. She can score at the arc. She can get to the rim. She’s experienced. She’s played the highest level, a winner.
“The things you don’t see is that she got a year under her belt in a major program in a major conference, played a major role and now gets the opportunity to bring that home and be a leader for us.”
Goforth adds to a Razorbacks roster which currently includes just one senior in Amber Ramirez. The sharp-shooting guard from San Antonio announced she would return for her final year on Tuesday.
As of now, the remainder of the roster is made up of freshmen and sophomores.
Goforth’s announcement continues a flurry of Razorbacks’ roster shuffling over the past week or so, mainly involving seniors.
All-American Chelsea Dungee and Destiny Slocum both made their intentions known to enter the upcoming WNBA Draft. Jailyn Mason, Macy Weaver and Taylah Thomas entered the transfer portal, while Grayce Spangler said her basketball career is finished.
Destinee McGee, a 6-2 freshman from Huntsville, Ala., also transferred to Alabama-Birmingham.
Neighbors said he likes the roster as it is currently, but acknowledged he’s not sure that’s the finished product for next season.
“I say stay tuned,” Neighbors said. “Covid eligibility has totally changed the landscape of basketball. If it is, great. We’ve got a good team. But I don’t know that it’s the end.”
Neighbors is hopeful Goforth will be eligible next season. The one-time transfer rule, which would allow athletes to transfer once without sitting out a season, is set to be voted upon by the NCAA Division I Council after the Final Four.
But even if that doesn’t pass, Arkansas will ask for a waiver for Goforth, Neighbors said. She will have four years of eligibility left because the NCAA granted all winter sports athletes an extra year because of the pandemic
“We talked about it if the rule doesn’t go through and the waiver’s not granted we’ve got a real good plan for kids during their year when they sit out,” Neighbors said. “It’s there for you to see with Chelsea and Amber. We’ve got a good plan if that has to happen.”
Goforth averaged 13.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game to help Fayetteville to a state title as a senior in 2020. She was a three-time All-Arkansas selection and the Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year in 2019.
Arkansas had been one of her final three schools, along with Texas A&M, before she chose Oregon State.
Neighbors said he and his staff did nothing but wish Goforth well when she made her choice to sign with Oregon State out of high school.
"I think too many times in sports when people get told no, they leave it in a bad manner and I'm glad all of Arkansas supported her and allowed this to happen," he said. "We get a chance to finish the story with her."
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