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UK freshman Archie Goodwin understands why Calipari wants him to play fast but not hurry

UK’s Archie Goodwin


There was so much that freshman Archie Goodwin did that Kentucky coach John Calipari liked. He was 7-for-12 from the field and 7-for-8 at the foul line and had 22 points in Thursday’s 93-61 exhibition win over Northwood. He had five assists, four rebounds and three blocked shots in 30 minutes.

However, there were also things Calipari didn’t like. His star freshman had five turnovers and got out of control more than his coach wanted — or says he will tolerate from him or freshman teammate Alex Poythress, who had four turnovers along with 11 points and seven rebounds.

“I told them if they don’t get better with the ball, then they can’t have the ball as much. We can’t go at them if they’re going to turn the ball over like that,” said Calipari.

The coach said Goodwin, a five-star recruit, is a “good player” who has to learn to slow down.

“The issue becomes he gets so out of control. You can play fast but don’t be in a hurry. When he plays fast, he hurries, and there’s stuff he’s learning,” Calipari said.  “I’m all over him. One of the reasons is I had to see who could take me when we’re in the heat of battle and who, if I got on, I had to take him out, can’t take it.”
Goodwin says he can take the heat.

“It was our first time seeing him get that riled up. He takes every game seriously and we see that. It’s just about us improving every time we step out on the court. We know what he expects from us. He never tries to put us down, just constructive criticism,” Goodwin said. “It was a little bit more (yelling), but not too much because he does a lot of yelling in practice. He always told us that when he yells it is not that he is mad, but that he is excited and riled up about what is going on and wants us to learn. When I listen to him say that, I don’t take it that he is mean or trying to talk down to us. He is just trying to help us out.”

Goodwin doesn’t believe Calipari wants the yelling to bother the way his players perform. “I don’t think he wants it to bother us as he is trying to put us down. I think all he wants if for all of us to do well. He wants to get our attention and make us focus more on what we are doing,” Goodwin said.

Playing fast but not hurrying is not as complicated to Goodwin as it might sound, either.

“It is not as hard as it was as first. It is more of a mental aspect of me thinking instead of just going,” he said. “Once I start thinking instead of just going fast, fast, fast, it helps me out a lot more than just playing off instinct. It is a change, but it isn’t a change from how I played. I have been told that before. It is easier to get away with in high school. I have always worked on it, but I have never really had to use it. Now that I am having to use it, I have to pay more attention to how fast I go.”

Goodwin, though, almost always seemed to be going whether he was playing the two guard or point guard.
— Midway of the first half he slashed inside the lane and scored on a strong drive.
— On the next possession, he drove inside again but passed to Willie Cauley-Stein for an easy score and foul.
— He grabbed a defensive rebound, led the fast break, got careless and lost the ball.
— He drove inside, dished to Nerlens Noel only to have Noel lose the ball. Goodwin dove on the floor to help keep possession for UK.
— Goodwin drove, spotted Cauley-Stein open but lobbed the ball over his head and out of bounds.
— Goodwin chased a Northwood player open in transition and blocked a shot from behind to save a score.

“I know there were certain mistakes made that I can improve on. The turnovers I did have I understand why I did it and how I can improve on it. So I was pretty comfortable and confident I can improve,” Goodwin said. “I did get a little tired, not much. At the beginning of the game everyone is so anxious and you run up and down the first couple times you do get a little winded. I settled in and was pretty good for the rest of the game.”

That included the three blocks he had in a team-high 30 minutes of play. Kentucky had 11 blocked shots.

“That just shows how athletic we are. Me, Willie, Nerlens and Alex are four guys that can all touch the top of the square (above the goal) and that helps us out. I might not be the one to block at the rim like Willie and Nerlens. I am more a transition guy and can get (a block) from the back like I did. If we can do that in transition, it takes points away,” Goodwin said.

He didn’t expect to play an abundance of point guard this year, but said he could play if needed and Calipari gave him plenty of opportunities when he didn’t like when starter Ryan Harrow was doing.

“I feel comfortable at both positions. At the point guard it is more of a change of speed and you have to look for a lot more like coming off of the screens and trying to get the big man in. One thing that he is preaching to us is the skip pass he wants us to throw a lot and that’s one thing I have to get accustomed to,” he said. “It is just a matter of me grooming myself to play the point guard position. I have to look for my teammates because I know looking for them will make my game easier because they will have more focus on them and make it easier for me to find lanes to drive and shoot.”

He says adjusting to the various lineups Calipari used wasn’t that difficult, either.

“It was not hard to adjust to because we have been doing that in practice. We are just trying to figure out the rotations that he wants us to do. He just wants us to play hard,” Goodwin said.  “I feel it is not as hard if you go into it open minded. Coach Cal always tells us that he wants us to play our hardest and mistakes are going to happen, so don’t try to shy away from mistakes because nobody is ever going to play a perfect game. He just wants us to go and work hard and then everything fall in place.”

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  1. Jim

    I think Archie needs to be utilized at the point and bring Harrow off the bench.

    1. Ben

      You don’t want your best two guard playing point, unless there is no alternative! It is just the first game and overall I am pleased with everyone. There is a great amount of room for improvement. Harrow is a necessary part of Cal’s plan.

      1. larryvaught

        Harrow will be fine. just give him time

  2. Jim Boyers

    I can’t believe Archie only had 5 turnovers. I would have laid money that he had at least 9 or 10. I seemed like he had a ton that were tipped and almost stolen, but that was across the board, not just Archie. I think it was half being sloppy and half underestimating just how quick that Northwood team was. They seemed to be very quick and very motivated. They didn’t lay down for one second and it bothered UK at many intervals. It was extremely obvious that Archie AND Ryan were trying to move way too fast and the smaller Northwood players were playing havoc with them.

    That being said, I don’t think the first “game” could have gone any better. The first half could be summed up as sloppy, but the second half showed just how good this team is going to be.

    I left feeling very good about the future. Not overly confident, but happy.

    This is really going to be fun.

    1. Jim Boyers

      I also found it very encouraging that, even with unlimited fouls, no one would have fouled out.

      A lot of blocks + Not a lot of fouls = Many, many wins.

  3. TheProfessor

    Harrow’s line:

    15 pts on 9 shots and 6 free throws, 1 offensive rebound, 2 turnovers, 5 assists, and 4 steals in 24 minutes.

    What else do you want from your starting point guard in his first starting performance at Kentucky?

    1. TrueBlueJohn

      I agree, Professor, how much did Teague improve from the first game to the NCAA tourney. It was almost January before he started to look like a Cal point guard.

  4. donv

    For me it is just so much fun to watch the progress. I remember Davis’s games in pre season and in November. I watched both our bigs last night and could not keep from thinking where we will be in March. Cal is the man.

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