UK Basketball: Coming to Kentucky 'a very easy' choice for Goodwin
Kentucky signee Archie Goodwin drives to the basket during the Jordan Brand Classic earlier this spring. Goodwin said he has followed Kentucky coach John Calipari¿s career since Calipari was at Memphis. (Associated Press/Charlotte Observer, Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez / June 10, 2012)
Archie Goodwin was a highly recruited player who could have had his pick of almost any school in the country. However, even if Kentucky fans didn’t know it, Goodwin never really considered signing with anyone else.
“It was a very easy decision for me to come to Kentucky,” said Goodwin, a guard from Little Rock, Ark., who is part of Kentucky’s coach John Calipari’s latest No. 1-ranked recruiting class. “I looked at the way that the system runs and is incorporated and it fits me just fine. Coach Cal was looking for a guy that will get it done and I will do that.”
Goodwin’s stepfather, Datron Humphrey, says few people know that Goodwin followed Calipari’s coaching career when he was the head coach at Memphis.
“Everybody wants to play for Cal, but if you are good enough he will look at you,” Humphrey said. “He will find you. You do not have to look for him. Archie kept working hard. When he got knocked down, he got back up and went back to work.”
Humphrey thinks Kentucky is as good a fit for Goodwin as the player does.
“He liked that up-and-down tempo. He feel in love with that,” Humphrey said. “I pretty much thought the same thing. With the dribble-drive offense that coach Cal has and how aggressive (Goodwin) is on the dribble, it should be a pretty good fit.
“To be perfectly honest, it was Kentucky all the way for him, without a doubt. Being from Arkansas, he had to keep it politically correct and keep Arkansas in the picture. But it was nothing against the folks here. He grew up watching coach Cal, and that’s just how it happened. Kentucky was always first with him.”
Goodwin will be part of a talented but inexperienced team at Kentucky. However, he has no qualms about being pushed into a major leadership role, as Calipari has tended to do with freshmen.
“That’s no problem for me. No doubts about it. I am going into a situation where I have to be prepared to take big strides and be a leader. You don’t have to be a senior to be a leader,” Goodwin said. “I expect coming into the situation on a young team, that I may have to take over and do that.
“I would say my leadership is natural. I think my leadership just comes from being so competitive all my life. I am a hard worker at whatever I am doing and try to lead by example even when I am not speaking loudly with words.”
His stepfather says Goodwin has always been “outgoing and outspoken” and a natural leader.
“If you have 20 guys and say one will be class president, he will be that one,” Humphrey said. “If the spotlight is going to be on anybody, it’s going to be him. That’s just how he is. He loves when the lights come on. He just loves it.
“But he’s also always been a team-first guy. That’s just how he is. He understands he has to be a team player. He’s a caring guy, a team guy. He’s just a good kid who will polish and craft his material every day to get better, and I think teammates like and respect that.”
Goodwin takes pride in his defense, and that was even obvious during the various all-star games he played in with some of the nation’s best players.
“It was fun, and a little tiring. With all the flights we had to do to get there and back, it was tiring. But it was a lot of fun playing with the guys and hanging out and seeing what everybody was like,” he said. “But I am very competitive. I hate losing. I take losing very hard in any game, big or small. I just do not like to lose, and I try to do what I need to do for my team to win.
“I work on my game a lot. I usually go in the gym for 2 1/2 hours, and then I run and condition. It’s not just natural ability that I have. I may have a lot of athletic ability, but I work on my legs a lot. I have put a lot of hard work into being a good player.”
Humphrey says Goodwin has an “unbelievable” work ethic.