Smalls Goudeau has a 1993 movie to thank for having one of the coolest nicknames in girls basketball.
The Sequoyah Tahlequah sophomore has extensive offseason work to thank for her development into a key contributor for the 3A No. 1 Indians.
Goudeau is averaging 11.1 points per game, second for the Indians (20-1), who defeated Victory Victory Christian 54-31 on Tuesday for their 16th consecutive win.
“She works at her game and wants to be successful,” first-year coach Justin Brown said. “She’s really, really athletic.”
Goudeau saw minimal playing time as a freshman, but Brown said her game made a quantum leap in the offseason. She’s also averaging four rebounds, four steals and two assists per game. In one game, she had 12 steals.
“I’m definitely a lot better than I was last year,” Goudeau said. “I’m just more confident in my shooting and ball-handling.”
Goudeau’s given first name is Alexsyah, but her destiny was changed two years ago while playing softball as an eighth-grader at Woodall, a K-8 district outside of Tahlequah.
She was catcher on the softball team and her former coach, Billy Keys, realized one day that she was flashing signs to her pitcher that were different from the ones he was sending her from the bench.
In exasperation, he blurted, “You’re killing’ me, Smalls,” borrowing an iconic line from an iconic, coming-of-age baseball movie.
In the 1993 film “The Sandlot,” a character named Ham Porter blurts the same thing when he offers his new friend, Scotty Smalls, a S’mores (chocolate and graham cracker) treat and realizes Smalls doesn’t know what it is.
“You’re killin’ me, Smalls.”
Keys said he's long forgotten the reason Goudeau might have been flashing the wrong signs. But the "Smalls" nickname stuck with Goudeau from that very day, and it's been that way ever since.
“Everybody knows her by that name now. Announcers literally say it that way before every game," Keys said. "To this day, her parents still laugh about it, so I guess they find it amusing. I think it’s kind of neat."
Goudeau has gone so far as to request her name be listed as "Smalls" on rosters and programs printed by the school.
Besides, she said, as almost everyone knows, Billy Keys' daughter, Lexy, is the Indians' senior standout, and "it’s easier (on the coaching staff) not to have to call both of us ‘Lexy.'"
Goudeau loves playing alongside Keys, who helped lead Sequoyah to 3A state titles as a freshman and sophomore and is gunning for a third as a senior.
“She kind of took me under her wing. She’s a great senior leader and you can just kind of feed off her energy and the way she plays,” she said.