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By LARRY VAUGHT
It was never a given that he would attend Kentucky, but Archie Goodwin admits it was “highly likely” because of what he knew about coach John Calipari when the coach was at Memphis.
“When I finally got the offer from him, that was the offer I was excited about. It wasn’t something to where I was just going to automatically commit, because you never know what could happen, but there was more of a chance of me coming here than any other school once I got the offer,” said Goodwin, a highly-touted freshman guard from Arkansas.
Goodwin said he didn’t originally start following Memphis because of Calipari. Instead, it was due to point guard Derrick Rose, now a star with the Chicago Bulls.
“Once he got Derrick Rose, I started to watch them play a lot. I was impressed by him. I used to watch Tyreke Evans a lot, and once he went there, a trend started going from Tyreke to John Wall to Brandon Knight. That is what started getting my attention about him and how great he is with point guards,” Goodwin said. “This season he was great with big men, every position. He did an excellent job with all his players. That caught my eye on how well he transforms players into even better players.”
Calipari has already started doing that with Goodwin, a McDonald’s All-American.
“We have been working on getting Archie a consistent shot. You can’t shoot different kind of balls. You can’t lean one way. You have to shoot consistently,” Calipari said. “When you are in high school you can miss your first 12 shots and get 12 to 15 more. Now you can’t do that. In his case, you have to be a very consistent shooter. He’s not ready for that yet.
“If he is going to shoot a lot of balls for us, he better be a consistent shooter. It doesn’t mean you make every shot. It doesn’t mean you shoot consistently as far as making them. It means every shot you shoot is in that range. You look at it, and it is the same shot whether you are running, it’s in transition, whether it is a 3, whether it is a free throw. It is the same shot. He doesn’t have that right now.”
Goodwin says the changes are “not anything big” nor anything that he can’t change.
“Just me making sure I am shooting it consistently every time and making sure my body is still on the way up,” he said. “It is just little things. Not anything big. I was aware of them but wasn’t trying to correct them. Now that I am correcting them, my shot is a lot better. It is not anything big that I can’t correct.”
DraftExpress.com analyst Matt Kamalsky certainly sees Goodwin becoming a major player for Kentucky this season.
“Goodwin is a perfect fit for the dribble-drive offense. He’s a good ball-handler, he’s quick, he’s a great leaper, and he’s not at all shy about attacking the rim or finishing under duress. If he shows progress as a perimeter shooter, he’s going to be considered one of the best shooting guard prospects in the country,” Kamalsky said.
But Calipari has indicated he could also use Goodwin at point guard to back up Ryan Harrow.
“It is something I knew. I have experience at the point guard position before because I played it in high school and AAU. It is not something I have to get accustomed to. I know how to do it,” Goodwin said.
He says it’s too early for him to know where he might help the team the most.
“You never know what you role is going to be. I don’t know what my role will be, but whatever it is I will do it the best I can. I just know whatever coach Cal needs to me to do, I will do. That’s ultimately what it comes down to. You can’t complain about anything that is going on. You just have to do what your coach tells you to do, and I will do whatever he tells me to do,” Goodwin said.