In Hobbs Eagle basketball history, Jalen Goar will go down as one of the greatest Eagles to ever wear the Black and Gold and call Tasker Arena home.
When the season is done, Goar’s name will be all over the record books. For Goar, getting to play for the Eagles has meant everything.
“It has meant the world to me,” Goar said. “It feels like I have probably been playing here for one-third, one-fourth of my life. It is just an honor to go out there and wear the Hobbs Eagle jersey. It is such a legendary program. All the championships, the crowds, the energy, and being able to play in front of 1,000 people every night. Not many people can say they do that night in and night out. It is such a blessing.”
The senior has been a member of the varsity team since his eighth grade season, though he didn’t play much that first year. However, since then, Goar has been a dangerous shooter and among the top three-point shooters in New Mexico.
Last Friday, Goar tied, then broke, the Hobbs Eagle career three-point record, and he did it in his home arena, in front of his home fans.
“I wasn’t shooting just to get it, but I thank God I got it at home,” Goar said. “I am glad everybody got to see it. All my family, my friends, it was real great, just awesome. I still can’t believe. I am speechless.”
He got a standing ovation from the crowd and was congratulated by not only his teammates and coaches, but also by the referees working the game.
“I was amazed at the crowd,” Hobbs head coach Shelby Reeves said. “When he hit the first two, everybody was kind of putting up three more. I was looking at everybody and the crowd was engaged in what was going on.”
The Eagles played two games and Goar sank eight treys combined last week, three on the road at Roswell and then eight at home against Clovis. Heading into the Clovis game, Reeves knew there was a possibility that Goar could break the record at home, so he made sure to get him ready, if the situation presented itself.
“We did extra shooting that day (during practice) because I really wanted him to get (the record) at home,” Reeves said. “As a coach, you don’t worry about that stuff. You have to play the game, and if you don’t get it tonight, you can get it next week in Carlsbad, but in the back of my head, I wanted him to do it at home.”
As a freshman, Reeves – then a first-year head coach for Hobbs – inserted Goar into his starting lineup from the get-go, and he didn’t disappoint, sinking 78 treys, fourth-most in a season for the Eagles.
“I saw a lot of potential,” Reeves said of Goar. “A guy who can make his teammates better. I saw a guy who, if he was healthy and stayed here all through his senior year, a guy who could potentially break some records and get up in the scoring and things like that.”
Reeves foresaw that bright future for Goar on the hardwood nearly 10 years ago, when Goar had just moved to Hobbs and was a third-grader.
“I was looking at this kid and the Boys & Girls Club wouldn’t have done him any good,” Reeves said. “So, as a third grader, I put him in the seventh-grade league. Just watching him play in that seventh-grade league, and watching how things were going, that is when I saw all the potential coming out. He was just a really smart guy.”
During a game against Miyamura, Goar sank eight treys, second most in one game in Eagles’ history.
As he matured, Goar took on more responsibilities, and that showed his sophomore year. During the last year of sports before the COVID-19 pandemic, Goar sank 56 treys, giving him 134 for his career, fifth-most in Eagles’ history. The Hobbs boys had so many players who could score during Goar’s sophomore year, that he took it upon himself to set up others for scoring. After recording 53 assists his freshman year, Goar bumped his assist numbers up to 75 as a sophomore.
Moving into his junior season, all sports in New Mexico were faced with limited seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Basketball was limited to 12 games in the regular season, despite the rest of the country playing full schedules. Travel was also limited, and because Hobbs is located in the southeast corner of New Mexico, finding games was difficult. Because of that, the Eagles got just 10 games, and did not make the state tournament.
Despite the shortened schedule, Goar still finished with 22 treys and 44 assists, in just 10 games. That moved him up to second all time with 156 treys, and gave him 174 career assists.
“We have always talked about him breaking the record,” Reeves said. “I thought he was going to possibly get it last year. With us not having the full season, coming into this year, everybody knows who you are, even Clovis tried to play him with more pressure than just guarding him one-on-one. … He put other things into his game, more dribbling so he can get to the basket where he can create his shot and create separation at the same time, if they wanted to take away the three, he put more into his game where he could penetrate and pull up from the free-throw line or wherever. I knew he has an all-around game.”
Entering his senior season, Goar needed just 62 treys to break the record. And even with the record in sight, that wasn’t his focus. Goar had his mind on other things. He signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma before the season started. He wanted to win the Hobbs Holiday Tournament, something the Eagles had not accomplished since his eighth-grade year, but he did not play in the tournament. He also wants to win a state championship, something Hobbs last accomplished in 2015.
Goar is the epitome of a team player. Yes, he wants to succeed on the court, but he also wants his teammates to succeed. That was evident Friday night when instead of taking an open three-point shot that would have set the record, he instead passed the ball to Michael Mackey who was under the basket. Mackey got the bucket and Goar picked up the assist.
“This season has been going by super quick. I have enjoyed every single minute of it,” Goar said. “We go out there night in and night out. We work hard and play hard, but man, we have fun. We are all like brothers, family, on this team. We are just enjoying our season.”
Reeves was excited to see Goar, a player he has watched grow up and mature, succeed and break the record.
“It is very impressive,” the Eagles’ coach said. “Since (Goar was in) the third grade, I have been seeing him shoot that. He earned all of that. He really worked hard at his shooting, but at the same time, that isn’t all he was gunning for. It just happened to come in the mix of his game.”
The Hobbs senior sank five treys, giving him 218, during a home game against Clovis to break the record
(217) set by Rod Hutchings in 1996. The first four came in the first half while the record-breaker came with 3:23 left in the third quarter. The shot was from well outside the arc and was nothing but net.
After breaking the record, Goar continued to be humble about his success.
“I just want to thank God and my family; they got me through all of this, the tough times, the ups and downs,” Goar said. “Thanks to my dad, my coaches, Coach Reeves, Coach (Eddie) Martinez, Coach (Jacob) Alfaro working with me and helping me shoot over all these years and helping me get better and better. I want to thank my teammates for passing me the ball and looking for me to get some shots that I have been working on my whole life for. I just want to thank everybody.”
Still, Reeves has given Goar the green light to shoot and when the senior is hot, he is hot. A few weeks ago he recorded seven treys in a home win over Lovington. Goar is one of just two Eagles, the other being Hutchings, to have multiple games with seven-plus treys in a game, and he is the only Hobbs Eagle to have three games with six or more in a game.
Goar actually has more assists (65) this year, than treys (62). His 62 treys ranked 11th-most in a single season in Hobbs history.
Following Friday’s win, Goar now has 1,241 career points, 12th-most in Eagle history, and his 235 career assists also rank 12th all time in Eagle history.
“That just shows what type of player he is,” Reeves said. “When you break one record, but at the same time, you are cracking that list in assists, that just shows he is an all-round player. I expect that out of him. A lot of people can say, ‘Oh well, that is the type of game he plays.’ They see the scoring, but to be up there in assists too, he gets his teammates involved.”
The Eagles (20-2) have four more district games, one or two games in the district tournament, and at least one game in the state tournament left on their schedule. That is plenty of time for Goar to work his way into the top 10 for both Eagles’ stat categories. Additionally, he needs five more treys to move into the top 10 of the New Mexico Activities Association career three-pointers. Currently former Clovis Wildcat Bryce Hill sits in 10th place with 223.
“Jalen told me, ‘Coach, if I get it, I get it,’” Reeves said. “I feel he will get it. I feel he will be up there. It is very well-deserved from the work that he has put in. … Jalen stays at least another hour (after practice) working on his game, and it shows.”
With the season in the heart of district play, Goar doesn’t have a lot of time to reflect on his accomplishments. He is more focused on trying to help the Eagles win state title No. 18. But, he did say once the season is done, and his high school basketball career is over, he will take time to reflect.
“Maybe a week after our season ends,” Goar said. “I’m sure it will all hit me, like ‘Man, this is it’. But I have enjoyed every single second of it.”