By Jim Sumner, GoDuke.com
DURHAM, N.C.-- Have jump shot, will travel.
That could be Miela Goodchild’s business card.
Goodchild is going to spend this July first in Paris and then in Thailand.
But the rising Duke sophomore isn’t going to be touring museums or hitting the beaches.
Instead she’s going to be representing Australia on the basketball hard-courts, in the FIBA Under-19 World Cup.
Duke should reap significant benefits from Goodchild’s summer vacation, as she continues to develop and enhance her considerable basketball abilities.
There’s nothing unusual about Goodchild wearing her nation’s colors in international competition. She’s been doing that sort of thing since the summer of 2016, when she played in the U17 championships in Spain.
She even interrupted her first year at Duke for a quick few weeks in India, where she played in the FIBA U18 Women’s Asian Championships.
She averaged 17.7 points per game, as Australia captured the bronze medal.
This summer’s games will be held in Bangkok, beginning July 20. The Australian team opens play against the United States.
Prior to that the Gems will play tune-up games in Paris against France, Russia and Belgium.
“I’m super excited,” she says.
Goodchild was a late addition to Duke’s 2018 recruiting class but a crucial one. She made the ACC”s 2019 All-Freshman team after averaging 10.9 points per game, third best for Duke. The 5-10 combo guard led Duke with a 44.5 three-point shooting percentage and an 87.1 foul-shooting percentage.
Her 30 steals ranked third on the team.
She was sixth nationally in three-point percentage.
At times she was Duke’s best player. She scored 23 points at Boston College, hitting five-of-six from beyond the arc, 20 points against Pitt. She hit eight three-pointers against Notre Dame.
Consistency was an issue but she was a freshman and consistency is always an issue for freshmen, even those not 9,000 miles from home.
Goodchild knows she is only scratching the surface of her potential.
Asked about the differences between international ball and NCAA ball, Goodchild says “the athleticism and speed is at a different level. The style of play is different. There aren’t as many sets. It’s more free-form, more flowing.”
Goodchild’s elite foul-shooting abilities are a potent weapon but one that she under-utilized last season. She only got to the line 31 times in 30 games. Imagine if she could get to the line five times a game, maybe more.
“I need to work on my mid-range. I need to work on creating off the dribble.”
Goodchild had 25 more turnovers than assists last season, not what Duke wants and needs for a guard. Some of that was adjusting to the speed of the American game, some of it was being forced out of her comfort zone due to the injury-induced absences of point guards Kyra Lambert and Mikayla Boykin.
“Playing point guard took away some from my scoring,” she says. “But it improved my ball-handling. But I need to make better decisions. I really look forward to playing with Kyra. She’s such a dynamic leader.”
“My defense can always get better,” she adds.
Goodchild says she models her game after those of Diana Taurasi and Alana Beard, too pretty-good role models.
Head coach Joanne P. McCallie recognizes areas that need improvement.
“She needs to improve her mid-range. She needs to improve when people run her off the three-point line. Miela needs to deal with defenses running at her. She needs to be able to hit the three off the bounce. She can finish. We need to see more of that. She needs to work on getting stronger, work on weight training and stamina. She needs to improve her lateral quickness. She’s a savvy defender who can put her nose on the ball.”
McCallie adds that Goodchild has the determination to make that happen.
“Miela has a work ethic second to none. She’s low maintenance. She wants to get better. She’s never satisfied. She’s going to expand her game. She can play at the highest level.”
It’s important for all concerned to monitor Goodchild’s work load.
“She needs to be careful with rest. She needs to be turned down, not up.”
Goodchild acknowledges that she has a life off the court.
“I do love basketball. I don’t mind a bit. I do need a little mental break sometimes, hanging out with friends, learning to cook, shopping and yoga.”
Goodchild says she expects to be playing basketball a long time.
She’s majoring in psychology and after the games stop she sees herself “running a foundation, coaching in college, wherever basketball takes me.”
But right now basketball is taking her around the world. And she’s more than okay with that.