LEXINGTON - Kentucky freshman Archie Goodwin is not worried about following last year’s Wildcat squad that went 38-2 and won the school’s eighth national championship.
Goodwin, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Little Rock, Ark., is ready to defend the title in the absence of six players who left the repeating project up to Goodwin and four newcomers. Goodwin shared his thoughts on the upcoming season during the team’s annual media day last week at Memorial Coliseum.
Question: Do you think you guys can live up to the expectations that the national champs are going to carry whether the same players are on the court or not wearing the Kentucky jersey?
Goodwin: “We all have the Kentucky jersey and they expect us to be (a good team) and we really don’t know what we can do yet. We haven’t been here yet but just a few months, but we’re a totally different team. Whatever happens is going to happen. Hopefully it’s a national championship. At the end of the day, we can’t compare ourselves to last year’s team because we’re totally different team.”
Question: Coach John Calipari has told fans to be patient, but can the players be patient while you develop into what you can be?
Goodwin: “I think we can. If we want to be good, we have to be patient, because all teams struggle at the beginning. But, it’s all about coming together and finding a way to win. If we’re struggling, but still finding a way to win, then once we get everything clicking, it’s going to be scary.”
Question: How do approach the season with the goal of winning a national championship?
Goodwin: “We just have to go in every day and work hard. We just have to listen to coach and do the different things that we need to work on and just continue to work together as a team. We have to make sure we’re bonding on and off the court and that’s going to translate into success. We are very close as a team. We just have to stay focused on trying to get better.”
Question: Who are some of the guys on the team you have bonded with so far this season?
“I’ve bonded with Alex (Poythress) and Julius (Mays). Those are the two guys I’m closer to on the team. I hang around everybody. People will go out and do different things, but if we don’t go out as a team, I will go out with those two guys.”
Question: What were your impressions of last year’s Kentucky team?
Goodwin: “Last year was a great team. They had great did a great job of executing and that’s why I think they were so successful I think. They were very efficient and they played great defense.”
Question: Is that what you guys will have to do to duplicate the success of last year’s team?
Goodwin: “We’ll have to do those things to win, because defense is one thing that really wins championships, especially against high-level teams that we’re going to play. Being efficient on offense is another thing that’s going to help us out a lot as well.”
Question: If Kentucky had not won a national championship, would you still be here?
Goodwin: “I committed early before they won the national championship. That had nothing to do with me being here. I’m happy about being here.”
Question: How is everything coming with your shot and what kind of progress have you made?
Goodwin: “It’s coming a long a lot quicker than we thought. I feel comfortable with it and I have confidence in myself. I know that I’m going to make shots (because) I’m a scorer. That’s something that’s going to happen. I’m going to have to make shots, because if you’re going to play for coach Cal, you’re going to have to make shots.”
Question: What’s the biggest change you’ve made in your shot and what’s the biggest difference?
Goodwin: “I’ve not changed my form, but he wants me to shoot with my shoulders high and I’m just continuing to get better and better and I’m a lot more comfortable, because once I got here in the beginning, I just started going through the motions on my shot with shooting bad shots and bad habits. Now I’m able to maintain (my shot) the whole time.”
Question: How much has your game changed since last year?
Goodwin: “I won’t say it’s changed, because I’m still the same player, with the exception of being a little more in shape and stronger. I would say that I’ve gotten better at different things and just becoming more focused on the court than I was (last year).”
Question: Can you describe the tattoos on your arms, what they mean and what is the significance of the jack in the box?
“I’m a clown. I’m not scared of clowns and I liked clowns when I was younger. The clowns are just something to have fun with. This (the right arm) is more of my religious arm. I’m going to get something else besides clowns one day, I’ll have to figure out (what I want). I love clowns.”