UK Basketball: Archie Goodwin gets his homecoming at Arkansas on Saturday
Kentucky freshman Archie Goodwin will have plenty of family and friends at Saturday¿s game at Arkansas, his first game in his home state as a collegiate player. ¿Our whole family is excited,¿ said Datron Humphrey, Goodwin¿s stepfather. (AP Photo / February 23, 2013)
Now the freshman guard will finally be playing at Arkansas — but it will be as a starter for Kentucky in Saturday afternoon’s Southeastern Conference game.
“We are really excited. This will be a chance that we get to bring everybody to the game,” said Datron Humphrey, Goodwin’s stepfather. “It’s been hard to get to see him play at Kentucky with my wife working every other weekend and some other conflicts. But this is a chance for us all to be there. I am sure Archie will be pretty excited to come back home, but he knows it will be a dog fight. Arkansas really plays well at home.”
Humphrey joked that even the Arkansas fans who know Goodwin and his family likely will be “pulling for Archie” in this SEC game. “I think everybody we know is for him right now,”¿Humphrey said.
Kentucky sophomore guard Ryan Harrow knows what this game will mean to Goodwin.
“I am excited for him to go back there and play. I gave him all my tickets because I know he is going to have a lot of family there. He just has to do what he can for us to win, but I know he will be excited,” Harrow said.
Anderson tried his best to recruit Goodwin and convince him to stay home to play for the Razorbacks.
“Archie is a very good player. Very athletic kid. He seemed like a kid with his head on right and knows what he wants to obtain. A good player and a very talented player,” Anderson said.
Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy also went after Goodwin in high school.
“Archie Goodwin is a tremendous talent. We tried to recruit him,” said Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy. “He has made huge strides physically. He’s always been athletic.”
Kennedy says there is not one thing that Goodwin does best. Instead, he says Goodwin’s versatility is his biggest asset. He is averaging 13.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. He’s shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 65.1 percent at the foul line where he has taken a team-high 172 attempts. He’s also second on the team with 28 steals and 84 assists.
“When I¿think of Archie, I don’t think of one area,” Kennedy said. “I think of the total package. He is a great defender with length. He’s a timely shooter that Cal is trusting even more. When I think of him, I think it is the versatility that is his calling card.”
South Carolina coach Frank Martin is not surprised that Goodwin is playing well for Kentucky, which has won three straight games.
“He is a very talented young man. For a true freshman to be playing at such a high level is one of those things about Cal that makes him so good,” Martin said. “He gets young guys to play the game the right way early in their careers. That’s a compliment to Cal, his staff and the young man that he can do that.”
Goodwin, who won’t be 19 until August, is often too hard on himself according to Calipari.
“We’re trying to figure him out. He’s trying to figure himself out. Too hard on himself, a la Derrick Rose. If he misses one shot, it leads to three more misses. If he turns it over, he can’t defend down at the other end. Hasn’t put the emphasis on rebounding yet, but he’s a freshman and he’s doing well,” Calipari said. “He’s gotten better as the year has gone on. But opening up his mind, playing through mistakes, playing through turnovers, being in better balance and control, slowing down your mind, it takes years to learn that.”
Goodwin has often been the target of UK fan criticism for reckless play or poor shot selection.
“We talked about there would be times everybody would be for you and times everybody would be against you before he went there,” Humphrey said. “We told him just take the good with the bad and keep working. There will be games where you do not fare as well as others, but as long as you play hard and know that in your heart it is okay. He has taken a lot of criticism, but every time I talk to him he is upbeat and never down on himself. I call if I hear or read something negative, but he has always been fine. I couldn’t be more proud of him.
“Maybe his competitive nature hurts him at times, but I’ll take that. If you give 120 percent effort, I’ll take that. He wants to leave it all on the floor. I tell him to always play both ends of the floor and keep grinding and working and things will fall into place.”
Calipari has no problems with Goodwin’s work ethic.
“He’s an unbelievable worker. He’s in the gym just about every night. He’s the first one at the practice, the last one to leave. He’s got the work habits and the drive you need to be special,” Calipari said. “Now, that mentality of playing, that feel for the game, that takes maturity and time. It doesn’t just happen in two months. It’s a lot of trial and error. His right now, there’s a little bit of trial and a lot of error, but that’s part of being a freshman.”
Humphrey said it is no surprise that Goodwin is always in the gym because it has always been that way.
“He has gotten better this year without a doubt. It has been a blessing for him to be around coach Cal and his staff,” Humphrey said. “He has learned a lot. He is so excited every day. This was his dream. For him, his dream did come true. He always wanted to play for coach Cal.
“His work ethic is unbelievable. He is going to stay in that gym just like coach Cal says. I tell him to keep shooting and working on his craft and the shots will fall. All great shooters go through slumps like he did (from 3-point range in SEC play). But he’s going to stay in the gym to get that fixed. If his dream is to go to the next level, he has to continue to work and outwork everybody else.”