Vaught's Views: Goodwin calls Kentucky's play this season 'an embarrassment'
Archie Goodwin, looking for a shot during Kentucky's March 9 win over Florida, said he is a fierce competitor who sometimes tries to do too much to help his team win. (Clay Jackson / January 23, 2013)
The freshman guard led the Wildcats in scoring a team-high 12 times, and he also led the team in assists 12 times. He finished the season averaging a team-high 14.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. He also got to the free-throw line 212 times — 80 more than any other UK player.
But Goodwin also had a team-high 101 turnovers and shot 44 percent from the field and just 26 percent from 3-point range.
Kentucky coach John Calipari told Goodwin, “I cannot coach you” during a 30-point loss at Tennessee, but praised him for his spirited play and often put the ball in his hands when the Cats had to create a shot.
“I just want to win so bad that sometimes I just feel that I can try to put a team on my back and maybe other guys will follow suit and it will pick up other guys, but sometimes it didn’t work out like that. I think at times I tried to do too much,” Goodwin said Tuesday following Kentucky’s NIT loss at Robert Morris. “I’ve tried to do all I can, but we just didn’t win enough.
“I am a competitor. For us to wear this Kentucky across our chest and play like we did this year, it is an embarrassment. To represent this university like we did is really unacceptable. Totally unacceptable.”
So why did UK lose four of its last five games, miss the NCAA tournament and not come close to reaching preseason expectations?
“Just got guys who don’t compete. Sometimes a lot of excuses are made. If we take away that and the non-competers, things happen for us,” Goodwin said. “We have some guys on our team that have all the talent but kind of play for themselves, and that hurts them as opposed to others on our team who don’t have as much talent or athleticism but work hard and outshine the other ones because they work hard. If we could justs cancel that out, we would not be a bad team, but it’s too late now.”
Goodwin had 18 points Tuesday at Robert Morris, including eight straight in one second-half stretch.
“I just didn’t want our season to end. We have had a bumpy road, but this was our chance to show we deserved a spot (in the NCAA tournament). But we just couldn’t do it with the way we played,” he said.
Goodwin said Tuesday that he knew he neither he nor Kentucky’s other freshmen were prepared for the NBA. Some draft projections have him as a mid-first-round pick, however, and he says he’s a better player now than he was when the season started.
“I definitely think I am better. I learned a lot from this coaching staff and from playing with these guys,” he said. “I came in and got stronger. I became a better player all-around. That is from me working hard and working with the coaches each and every day to try and improve on everything I could.”
He said he didn’t know if fans felt he improved or understood the passion he had for winning that sometimes may have led him to mistakes by trying to do too much.
“Fans, regardless of who it is, are going to have negative stuff to say, and me personally, I don’t pay attention to it. They are not feeding me, they are not the people that I talk to every day,” Goodwin said. “They are not my coach. So their opinion does not really offend me, knowing how they feel about me.
“At the end of the day I am still going to live, I am still getting an education and I am still playing and living out my dream. There is nothing they can tell me that is going to hurt my feelings.”