Partners in crime

Jomo Goings and Maceo Austin’s different journeys lead to similar success and great friendship

Published by Alex Hanczar, Date: April 4, 2024
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Slippery Rock men’s basketball could not have gone as far as they did without their two stars.

Redshirt sophomore Jomo Goings and graduate student Maceo Austin received All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West honors as two of the best players in the conference. Goings was honored to the second team while Austin achieved first-team in his first year with SRU.

The two led The Rock to an incredible season with memorable moments all along the way.

Goings entered the 2023-24 season looking to follow up on a strong previous campaign. The 6-foot-4 guard appeared in all 29 games but only made nine starts in 2022. This season, the Washington, D.C. native played an even bigger role registering over 800 minutes of playing time and an impressive 13 points per game (PPG).

“This year I feel like I had to step up and play a bigger role, having the experience I have here, this is my fourth year at Slippery Rock,” Goings said. “We had a lot of new and young guys so I had to step up as a leader and take that role.”

Goings relished in the role and showed up big on multiple occasions all season.

When SRU tangoed with rival Indiana University (Pa.) (IUP) at home, Goings registered what may have been his most important performance to that point in the season.

With Austin out due to illness, Goings and others knew just how important it was that they stepped up in the clutch.

Prior to this contest, the White and Green had not beaten IUP since 2019, a statistic Goings always had in mind.

The five-year drought ended emphatically with The Rock defeating the Crimson Hawks 81-62.

“We stepped up as a whole,” Goings said. “We saw that Maceo was out and everyone clicked and said we need to come together, lock in and make sure we have the same goal and same task.”

The redshirt sophomore led the charge posting 20 points, four rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal. It was at this point in the season that The Rock could not wait for the postseason.

The White and Green drew Seton Hill University in the first round of the PSAC West playoffs, a team they split the regular season against.

The game was a thriller from the go featuring 13 lead changes throughout. With seconds remaining, The Rock was tied and needed a hero to step up.

Goings hustled all night long and finally was rewarded as he surged through Seton Hill defenders to record the game-winning bucket in the bleeding seconds.

“We were on a streak of losing in the first round so it was a great feeling,” Goings said. “We fought hard, fought the whole game and made sure we were locked in every possession even when shots were not made, we did not let that stop us from achieving our goal, and that’s winning.”

To no surprise, Goings was joined on the leading scorers board all year long with his pal Austin.

Austin’s 16 points against Seton Hill trailed only Goings’ 19 in the contest.

The Duquesne transfer showed no rust coming back to basketball this season.

“Getting back on the court and getting back to doing what I love was good,” Austin said. “Then making the first team all-conference was a testament to my work ethic.”

The switch from Division I to Division II did not phase Austin either.

When Austin arrived at The Rock, he immediately became a leader on the court, setting the standard with his skill.

Besides his talent, Austin found many ways to lead on and off the court.

The 6-foot-5 guard mentioned his leadership throughout the course of his basketball career, whether it be in high school, his time with Duquesne or now with the White and Green.

Upon his arrival, the former Duke spoke his message to the Slippery Rock group.

“I just tried to get everyone on the same page, likeminded and have the same goals,” Austin said.

Austin’s leadership at Duquesne has boiled over to a talented group as the Dukes now sit in the March Madness bracket for the first time in nearly 50 years.

Austin played with plenty members on the current roster along with playing under head coach Keith Dambrot.

Dambrot served as LeBron James’ high school basketball coach, a piece of experience that is appreciated by all his players, including Austin.

“It’s coach Dambrot’s last year with Duquesne and I am very thankful for everything he’s done for me along the way,” Austin said. “Watching him go out with a tournament appearance on his last dance is really nice.”

The wealth of leadership and experience Austin gained from people in and around Duquesne is something Slippery Rock is fortunate to have.

Regardless, it is never easy coming somewhere new. Members of last year’s SRU basketball team certainly made it an easier adjustment for the Sharon, Pa. native.

The graduate student referenced his connection with Goings specifically, and the effort he put in upon his arrival.

“I came up for a camp early on and Jomo was here and we talked about our goals for the season,” Austin said. “Then my first day here he invited me to hang out and would help set up a bowling thing at Coffaro’s for team building. Having guys like that is important, and I am happy we get to go into another year together.”

With senior Lashon Lindsey graduating, Goings and Austin will be looked up to as clear leaders for the remaining and new Slippery Rock roster.

A season of growth, experience and fun leads two friends into the offseason with the anticipation for next season at an all-time high.

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