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Here is what ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla and ESPN NBA Insider Chad Ford said Wednesday when asked about Kentucky freshman Archie Goodwin and his NBA potential.
FRASCHILLA: Well, first of all, I can't wait to start talking to you about next season's Kentucky Wildcats, but we'll save that for another day. If Chad doesn't want to start, I'll start. I watched a lot of film of Archie Goodwin. I think that given this draft, he's a developmental player. If I'm not mistaken, he'll be one of the two youngest players in this draft. He does a lot of things well for a young player. He's athletic, terrific end to end quickness. Gets into the lane at will. There is one and he's actually a willing passer at 6'4", 6'5".
The problem with him right now, as you know and you saw this is he has a way below average jump shot, so that's going to scare a lot of people off. I think he's a kid that has really good value for a team that's looking for a developmental player, kind of like Lance Stephenson a couple years ago, not equating the off the court stuff at all. But this is a kid that's very much in the developmental stage of his career, but he has NBA athleticism. The jumpshot is the major red flag in this overall game, along with the fact that he's a very inexperienced young player.
FORD: I agree with Fran on that. I just add, he's having a rough go right now with NBA teams, partly because the expectations were so high for him out of high school, and that so many of the freshman have been successful and Calipari has had this ability to get the most out of these guys. I think that's been a huge feather in Calipari's cap. So when it didn't happen with Archie, I think a lot of NBA scouts put that back on the player and said if Calipari can't get the best out of you, and it didn't feel like he developed much as a player from the beginning of the season to the end of the season, how does that bode for your NBA future playing in the D League or playing on an NBA team?
And I think that is the big question mark, not athletically, but the questions about will he develop as a player when they just didn't really see it happen at Kentucky this year?
FRASCHILLA: I talked to more teams and we're seeing this too, Jeremy Lamb, who was a terrific college player spent much of the year in the D League. Archie Goodwin is one of those guys that I can almost guarantee you where and when he gets taken, is going to probably spend a lot of his time playing in the D League in the next year or two, just because a team can work with him, give him minutes.
Chad, I don't know about you, but it seems like the D League is becoming much more of an opportunity for the teams to utilize their young players and develop them.
FORD: Exactly, I agree, and I think that's where he'll go. His potential suggests still he should be a mid to late first round pick. I think the question mark is: Will he take that time; will he have the right attitude; will he be willing to be coached; and will he work on his weaknesses? No one knows the answer to those questions, and by the way, he's a young player, as Fran pointed out and players can mature and get a better work ethic or what have you, but there are those questions right now about him and his lack of development at Kentucky. If he can't develop there, will it make any difference whether he's in the D League or not?
Tyler Lashbrook of Orlandopinstriped.com listed the strengths and weaknesses of Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel if the Orlando Magic get the No. 1 pick in the June NBA draft.
Here’s part of what he wrote”
“I think Noel could become much like the player Joakim Noah has become in the NBA. He’s not nearly as strong as Noah and he doesn’t finish through contact like Noah, but with added strength these are things that could be developed in time. Lucky for Noel, he’s only 19 years old. He has plenty of time to add weight. He has plenty of time to develop offensively. He’ll most likely never become a dangerous low-post threat, but if he can add a high-post game at the NBA level with his already dominant defense, then he’ll be an excellent overall player for years to come.”
Lashbrook speculates that if the Magic select Noel, he “will likely sit the entire season” as Orlando focuses on young players it already has..
“2014 would be Noel’s rookie season, as the Magic would allow him to take as long as he needs to fully recover. Noel would face unreal comparisons. His two predecessors — Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard — dominated in their stints in Orlando and fans will expect the same of the freshman out of Kentucky,” Lashbrook wrote.
“Still, my philosophy is that you select the best player available. And if Orlando wins the lottery and chooses to keep the pick, then Noel will be the best available player. If you’re the Magic, you worry about your minutes and your roster management later. Too much talent is a wonderful problem to have.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
The more the speculation continues, the more it seems that former Wildcat Archie Goodwin could indeed land in the first round of the NBA draft.
Now DraftExpress.com projects the Boston Celtics willl select Goodwin with the 16th pick in the first round.
Here’s what Jay King of MassLive.com wrote about Goodwin:
“Despite an uneven year during which he averaged 14.1 points per game on 44 percent shooting (including 26 percent from beyond the 3-point arc), Goodwin possesses enough athleticism to make scouts drool. With a 6-10 wingspan that puts him in an elite class of length for guards, Goodwin is viewed as a project of sorts; still, his defensive potential should endear him to (Boston GM Danny) Ainge, whose Celtics can always use an infusion of perimeter stoppers.
“NBADraft.net, which lists Terrence Williams and Tyreke Evans as Goodwin’s two NBA comparisons, does not predict the guard will be selected in the first round. But it’s entirely possible some team will fall in love with Goodwin’s potential. While Ainge has at times shaded toward players who produced effectively in college (think Glen Davis and Jared Sullinger), he’s also not against taking a less-developed talent with upside (think Avery Bradley or Fab Melo).”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Paul Seaver (@PaulSeaverRS) of RantSports.com has an interesting take on Kentucky’s Archie Goodwin and thinks he has the potential to be a first-round NBA draft pick next month after averaging 14.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game in his one season at UK.
Strengths: Goodwin’s offensive attack is one of the better strengths that he has in his arsenal. He has good size and great potential, showing flashes of his excellence throughout his freshman season at Kentucky. Goodwin is only 18 years old, so that will work to his advantage as whatever NBA franchise drafts him is likely to give him some time to find consistency at the professional level.
Weaknesses: Goodwin was inconsistent at times this past season, but he did show signs of his down-the-road potential. Goodwin may have a bright future in the NBA, but will he be able to transition himself more consistently at the professional level? During the season, Goodwin shot only 26.6% from the outside — he will need to become a better shooter as he prepares to enter the NBA ranks.
Draft Projection: Mid-to-Late First Round.
Again, the more you listen to those who should know, the more it seems that Goodwin’s decision to leave UK after one year might turn out a lot better for him than many UK fans first believed.
By LARRY VAUGHT
For one of the pre-draft insights on Nerlens Noel, let’s turn to DraftExpress.com writer Jonathan Givony.
Here is part of his analysis on Noel, who most expect to be the No. 1 pick and give coach John Calipari three No. 1 overall picks in the last four years:
“One area where Noel might have more potential than he showed at Kentucky is with his ability to attack his man off the dribble from the high post. He possesses an extremely quick first step driving to his left, allowing him to be isolated against slower big men from 15 to 17 feet away and draw fouls. While the poor spacing of college basketball offenses (and especially Kentucky’s with their extreme lack of perimeter shooting) didn’t allow him to do this very often, it could very well be something he can build on in the future.
“Noel didn’t show any real semblance of a jump-shot in his time at Kentucky, and considering the poor touch he displays from different parts of the floor and his 53 percent conversion rate from the free throw line, that’s probably not a fluke. He’ll likely have to work very hard to add a mid-range jumper to his arsenal, which is a shot he could definitely use considering his limitations as a post scorer.
“As raw as Noel looked at times offensively as a freshman, he was absolutely a game-changer for Kentucky on the other end of the floor. This was his reputation coming out of high school, and he did nothing to discourage that from what he showed this season.”
See more of what Givony had to say about Noel at http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Nerlens-Noel-6455/
By LARRY VAUGHT
Nerlens Noel talked about a variety of things Tuesday during what was likely his last interview at Kentucky but the first answer says a lot about what everyone should remember about his limited time with the Wildcats.
Question: Does he have any regrets about the play he was injured on since UK was behind and he could have just let the player score?
Noel: “No way. We wasn’t down too much. Regardless of the score,I wasn’t going to let him get that easy basket. That’s just who I am. I will not be embarrassed in any type of way. I will not give them an easy basket. I just wanted to keep fighting and give my team the best chance of getting back in fighting position to win that game.”
Question: How much attention does he play to NBA mock drafts?
Noel: “I don’t really pay attention to those at all. I just stay focused on my physical therapy, stay focused and keep my mind right.”
Question: What would it mean to be drafted No. 1?
Noel: “It would be a dream come true being the first pick in the NBA Draft. That’s something you dream about from when you’re a kid. I’d be very blessed to be in that position and just very appreciative of it.”
Question: Did he worry he might not be able to be No. 1 after his injury?
Noel: “A lot goes through your head. When it first happens, you don’t know what the injury is, you don’t know if you’ll ever play basketball again or if you’ll be playing a month from now. When I heard what the injury was, I knew no matter what I’d get back on the court as fast as I could and just get back to what I love doing.”
Question: What has he heard about his draft status?
Noel: “I don’t hear anything. That isn’t a priority, to just listen to what they say. I’m my own player, and I’ve just got to work on getting better and getting stronger, getting my leg stronger, and get right back on that court.”
Question: How difficult was it to watch UK after he was hurt?
Noel: “It was real tough, just watching them guys play and just knowing I could help them in so many ways. But I’m proud of them guys. They played as hard as they could. They fought, they beat two of the best teams in the league without me, so, I mean, you can’t underestimate those guys. They played hard. Things just didn’t roll their way sometimes on the road. I love them guys. They played their hearts out, so I’ll always be proud of them, no matter what.”
Question: What did the injury teach him about how quickly life can change?
Noel: “You’ve got to go out there an play hard every day. You can’t take it for granted. You’ve got to cherish the game you love and play. I felt like that’s what I did, but things like this happen. You’re a human being, you’re going to get hurt sometimes. You’ve just got to stay focused and be ready to just fight and get back doing what you love.”
Question: What time frame has he been given about when he can get on the court again?
Noel: “They’re just taking it step-by-step. It’s a six-to-eight month injury. I got surgery six weeks ago, so it will probably be around Christmas time or something. You never know. It’s a long healing process. I’m just staying focused and just doing my rehab until I can.”
Question: Did spending a year in college help him?
Noel: “It benefitted me a lot, especially playing here under coach Calipari and the coaching staff. There’s no pushovers here. They want you to be the best you can be and they don’t accept nothing less. Coach Cal has taught me so much on and off the court, how to be a good person and just really know how to have a good work ethic. He made us love to work and (taught use how to) carry yourself. Just a lot of life lessons that not any regular coach would teach you about off the court.”
Question: Does he wish the system was different and he could spend more time in college?
Noel: “Nah. I loved this year, though. This was one of the best experiences of my life being here at Kentucky this year. Regardless if you have to stay three, four years, these are the best times of your life, whether it’s one or four years, regardless.”
Question: Should players be able to go pro out of high school rather than risk an injury like the one he had?
Noel: It’s a lot of politics. I don’t really get into that. Both sides have a reasonable reason for it, why they would want to go out of high school or why they should do a year of college or two. But I don’t get into that too much. I just do what I got to do, what I have to do. I have to come to school for a year, I’m going to do it.”
Question: Does he worry about not being ready for the start of next season?
Noel: “I’m taking strides. If I’m not ready, I’m not ready. If I’m ready, I’m ready. The main focus right now is just keep working so I can be ready when my physical therapist tells me I am. You just take it one step at a time. Today is the six-week point (after his surgery). I’m doing everything out of the brace now, all my exercises. That says I’m ahead of schedule. I’ve got a lot of muscle back into my leg. But it takes a while for the graft to heal and get in tune with the body and the nerve system. But I’m taking it slow. I’m doing a lot of strength exercises and mobility.”
Question: Since he’s injured, what will the pre-draft process be like for him?
Noel: “The combine was on TV last year, so I’ve seen it. I’ve seen what the actual players will do. But going in with an injury like I have, I’m not sure I’ll be able to do too much besides get checked out by the doctors, maybe shoot some free throws, talk to GMs (general managers) and what not. But besides that, I don’t think I’ll be doing too much.”
LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky freshman All-America selection Nerlens Noel will forego his sophomore season and enter his name in this year’s NBA Draft.
“I have loved my time at Kentucky, but I feel that I’m ready to take the next step to the NBA,” Noel said. “I’ve learned so much here at UK and am thankful for Coach (John) Calipari, the staff and my teammates for all of their support. I especially appreciate the Big Blue Nation and all of the support, prayers and well-wishes I’ve received from them during my rehab and decision-making process. I’ll always be a Wildcat!”
Noel, an Everett, Mass., native, led the nation in blocks as he averaged 4.4 rejections per game and tallied 106 in 24 games played. Prior to his season-ending knee injury he was the only player standing taller than 6-foot-5 to rank in the top 30 in steals per outing as he had accumulated 50 steals on the year.
He averaged 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. His rebounds and blocked shots led the Southeastern Conference, while he also ranked among the top-10 players in steals per game, defensive rebounds per game, offensive rebounds per game and minutes played per game.
Noel finished the season ranked second in UK single-season history with 106 blocks. His 50 steals ranked as the fifth most in a single season by a freshman. His .590 field-goal percentage is the ninth-best mark in school history, while his steals per game (2.1) is the seventh-best mark in school history.
“I support Nerlens’ decision to enter his name in the draft and am excited for him and his future,” Calipari said. “The hard work and will to win he showed on the floor this year and the dedication and attitude he has shown in his rehab will only be a reward for him and whatever team drafts him in June.”
The NBA Draft lottery is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21, and the 2013 NBA Draft will take place Thursday, June 27.
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Willie Cauley-Stein and Kyle Wiltjer will return to the Kentucky men’s basketball program for the 2013-14 season, while Archie Goodwin will forego his sophomore season and enter his name in the 2013 NBA Draft, head coach John Calipari announced Monday.
“I’m excited that Willie and Kyle have decided to return for next season,” Calipari said. “When we talk about a players-first program, our goal is for each player to reach his dreams. Willie and Kyle believe it is in their best interest to return to Kentucky next season to achieve those dreams, and I fully support their decisions.
“Although I really wanted Archie to return for his sophomore season, I fully support him choosing to pursue his dreams. He has the drive and desire to be great and I will continue to do everything I can to make sure he succeeds in life both on and off the court.
“I believe, with another year of hard work and competition, they all can take their games to the next level. I look forward to seeing them all grow into young men.”
Cauley-Stein earned All-Southeastern Conference Freshman team accolades following his first season in the Blue and White. As a freshman, Cauley-Stein notched 8.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per outing in 2012-13. He totaled 59 blocks on the year, which ranks as the seventh most by a first-year player in program history. He secured four double-double efforts on the year and totaled a career-high 20-point effort in a win over Vanderbilt.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to develop as an all-around player,” Cauley-Stein said. “I’m also excited for the opportunity to try and win a national championship.”
Wiltjer will enter his junior season after earning SEC Sixth Man of the Year accolades during the 2012-13 year. In his sophomore campaign, the 6-foot-10 forward averaged 10.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He has sunk 90 3-pointers in his career, which ranks No. 26 on UK’s all-time career 3-point made list.
“I’m so excited about the possibilities of next season,” Wiltjer said. “I love Coach Cal and the staff, the University of Kentucky and the Big Blue Nation. After talking with Coach and the staff, I understand what I need to do. I want to be a part of another championship. This summer I’m going to work the hardest I’ve ever worked to come back next season better and stronger to help my team fight for number nine.” Goodwin was the team’s leading scorer with a 14.0 scoring average en route to Freshman All-SEC honors. The Little Rock, Ark., native posted 25 double-figure scoring games and had five outings with 20 or more points. He ranked second on the team in assists (87) and steals (35). His 448 points scored in his first season ranks as the 10th best mark for a freshman in UK history.
“This is something I’ve dreamed about my entire life and I feel like the opportunity is there for me to play at the next level,” Goodwin said. “I will stay in Lexington to finish my schoolwork this semester before continuing to pursue my dream. I’ve loved my time at UK and want to thank Coach Cal, the staff and my teammates for helping me get where I am. I especially want to thank the Big Blue Nation for all their support.”
Goodwin has not signed with an agent. The NBA Draft is June 27.
Additional announcements regarding remaining players will be announced at a later date.
By LARRY VAUGHT
MOON, Pa. — Alex Poythress had just six points and two rebounds Tuesday. He said he would talk to his family and coach John Calipari about his future, but that he is “leaning” to coming back because of the way this season went for him and the team.
“We feel like we came here and just stunk it up this year pretty much. We just have to regroup and come back stronger next year. Just come back and play,” he said. “You came here for a certain reason and you just disappointed all the fans, disappointed all the coaches. Nobody wants to end on a loss, especially a loss like this. Nobody wants to go out like that.
“I feel like I disappointed a lot of people. It is just frustrating. I do (think I will be back). I don’t think I am ready (for the NBA). You just have to get used to it. You just have to focus on the offseason. That is when you get better and continue to regroup and maybe next year we can have a better year.
Willie Cauley-Stein had three early turnovers in Tuesday’s loss and finished with nine points, four rebounds, one block and four turnovers in 36 minutes.
He said he had “no idea” if anyone else was ready for the NBA, but knew he was not.
“I feel like I left something out. Something’s missing. I’ve got this empty feeling in my gut and I want to fill it,” Cauley-Stein said.
He said his decision would depend on his “situation” because he had to look out for his family.
“I want to win a national championship. Could be next year. Could be the year after. But I never won a ring before, and I really want a ring before I leave college,” he said. “If it comes down to it, if my family needs me, then I’ll go. But if not, I’ll stay and get a couple more years of education and develop myself (into) more of an all-around basketball player.”
Kentucky coach John Calipari said he will have individual meetings with the players soon.
“I told them one thing to expect from me is to be honest with you. That’s what I will do,” Calipari, who had six players drafted last year including four in the first round, said. “I will be honest with every one of the guys. I told the guys I love everyone of you and will look after you, but you will hear the truth and we will be a tough team next year. We will be a tough, hard-nosed fighting team next year. I can’t sit through this again.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Three Kentucky freshmen who have been projected at times as possible NBA draft lottery picks all indicated they are learning to coming back for their sophomore seasons.
Kentucky lost 59-57 to Robert Morris in the NIT first round here Tuesday and Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein will not have long to decide what they want to do about next season. However, Goodwin made it clear he thought he would be back.
“I don’t know if it’s a question whether I’m going (to the NBA) or not. I don’t think I’m ready to go. It’s no reason why I think any of our guys should really leave,” said Goodwin, who led UK with 18 points. “We should come back next year … and just try to do better than what we did this year. Because the expectations we had for ourselves this year, we didn’t meet them at all. We didn’t come close. So I think think that’s what says we should all come back.”
Kentucky, a preseason top five team with the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class, finished 21-12 and lost four of its last five games.
“If any of us were saying we think we should leave, then we’d all be delusional. None of us need to leave,” Goodwin said. “So I just feel that’s going to help us in the long run because next year we have a strong group coming in and we’re going to continue to get better. … I think it’ll work out for us in the end, like it did last year. If you recall, the only one that left was Brandon Knight – and Enes Kanter, but he didn’t play. The other guys came back and they got a championship. Hopefully we can do the same thing with this group.”
Goodwin admitted that “was just me talking” and he didn’t know what others, including Nerlens Noel who didn’t travel with the team after having surgery to repair his knee last week, would do for sure.
“Maybe some freak stuff happens to where people leave, including myself. But I don’t see that happening because we didn’t have near the year we were supposed to have as a team or individually, so I don’t feel none of us should leave,” he said.