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The 6-foot-3 graduate student earned an All-ACC Defensive Team selection with the Blue Devils in 2021, but his scoring efficiency remained a concern. Goldwire only averaged 2.9 points in 16.4 minutes per game throughout his four seasons at Duke, and he shot a mere 39.9% from the floor in the process.
The pass-first point guard has unlocked a new level to his game since arriving in Norman, though.
Goldwire is still a defensive enforcer for the Sooners this season — but he's also averaging a career-high 9.7 points in 29.1 minutes per game while shooting 47.9% from the floor heading into Saturday's game against fifth-ranked Baylor.
"I just think I knew how much more I was going to be needed (at OU)," Goldwire said. "I knew how much I was going to be relied on... That was the biggest thing."
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This isn't the first time a team has struck gold with Goldwire.
He averaged 12.8 points and 8.3 assists per game as a senior at Norcross High School in Georgia, but he was only a consensus three-star recruit by the time he graduated.
Goldwire got heavily recruited by Eastern Kentucky for multiple months, and he made an official visit to the university in late April of 2017. The Colonels were the favorite to secure a commitment from Goldwire, but an unlikely program made a late push.
Duke had seen a bit of Goldwire during his AAU and high school days, yet it didn't ramp up its pursuit of the Norcross guard until it invited him to take an official visit the week after visiting Eastern Kentucky.
The pitch was a unique one.
The Blue Devils boasted the top recruiting class in the country, which featured five-star prospects Marvin Bagley III, Wendell Carter, Trevon Duval and Gary Trent Jr.
Goldwire was the only three-star prospect in the coveted class, but legendary head coach Mike Krzyzewski was still willing to bet on him.
"They came in not promising me any type of minutes," Goldwire said. "They told me I'd have to work for everything once I got there. They told me they needed someone to run the bench squad and be able to lead them."
Krzyzewski offered Goldwire a spot on the team, and he committed before he even left the campus.
"It developed quick," Goldwire said. "My dad kept telling me to be patient and that we'd get the school that we want, and it came true."
Despite not being as decorated as his fellow freshmen, Goldwire brought stability to a Duke program that's a revolving door for future pro players.
Goldwire played with 16 teammates who went on to have stints in either the G League or the NBA during his four seasons with the program, but that didn't stop him from carving out a role.
After averaging just 7.7 minutes per game in his first two seasons with the Blue Devils, Goldwire averaged 26.1 minutes per game in his final two campaigns and started in 26 contests.
The gritty guard set the tone defensively for Duke. Goldwire averaged a team-high 2.3 steals per game as a senior, which helped him earn an All-ACC Defensive Team selection.
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"I just had to come in and play my role," Goldwire said. "Not playing so much my first couple years and having to work my way into the lineup to get minutes was definitely the most difficult thing.
"There are times where maybe you want to transfer and go somewhere else, but I just had to stay strong and wait my turn. I'm definitely glad I waited it out through my four years there."
Krzyzewski bet on Goldwire out of high school when few other notable programs did, and now OU head coach Porter Moser is also cashing on the grad transfer.
When Moser accepted the coaching gig on April 2, 2021, he found himself tasked with retooling a team that only had four returning players.
He quickly reached out to Goldwire, who entered the transfer portal just a few days earlier on March 27.
"From the first Zoom I had with Coach Moser and the staff, everything was just genuine," Goldwire said. "Everything was detailed right away from the first time I talked with him. He told me how I could impact the team and where he saw me fitting in."
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Goldwire committed to OU on April 19 and immediately became the driving force for the Sooners.
On defense, he's averaging a team-high 1.6 steals per contest while guarding elite scorers such as Baylor's James Akinjo and TCU's Mike Miles Jr.
On offense, he's averaging a team-high 3.6 assists per game, and he boasts an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.6.
Goldwire has transitioned well into a role that's entirely different from the one he had at Duke.
And while taking on an added scoring role still requires some adjusting, it's a safe bet that he'll continue to figure things out.
"I'm just thinking, 'If it's a good shot, take it,'" Goldwire said. "You can't worry about how many misses or makes you have. You just have to play and live with the results."
OU vs. No. 5 Baylor
TIPOFF: 2 p.m. Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman (ESPN+)
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OU basketball: Sooners struck gold with Duke transfer Jordan Goldwire