Gooden was a dominant college player at the University of Kansas, where he averaged 19.8 points and 11.4 rebounds per game in 2001-02. Besides being a key contributor to Kansas' Final Four run which was cut short by a loss to the University of Maryland Terrapins, he also garnered individual honors including Sporting News First-Team All America and Basketball America Player of the Year honors. While at Kansas, Gooden earned the nickname "The Truth."
As a professional, Gooden has established himself as a solid power forward, consistently bringing down double digit numbers in points and rebounds. He is also considered a good guy on and off the court, named "Good Guys in Sports" by The Sporting News.
Gooden re-signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers for three more years on August 14, 2006. He agreed to a three-year, $23 million contract. In the 2006-07 regular season, he averaged 11.1 points per game and 7.9 rebounds per game.
Gooden is half Finnish; his father, Andrew Gooden, met Drew's mother, Ulla, while playing pro basketball in Äänekoski, Finland. Gooden's parents divorced later on, and he stayed with his father in California.
Gooden has asked the media to refer to him as, "The Big Drizzle."