As the Kentucky faithful are quickly approaching Big Blue Madness, fans are eager to learn as much as possible about the new players on the 2012-13 basketball roster. With that in mind, this will be the fourth submission in a series of articles discussing all of the newcomers for this season's team.
One of the newcomers is former McDonald's All-American guard Archie Goodwin. He will fill the shooting guard spot in John Calipari's offense and could play a similar role to Tyreke Evans during the coach's Memphis days. Goodwin is a freak athlete with excellent ball-handling skills who excels at slashing to the rim.
Standing 6'4" and weighing nearly 200 pounds, Goodwin has plenty of size to compete with the big boys in the paint. This is where he will likely make his living early on, since his jump shot is not known as a strength of his. That will come with time, but expect Archie to be one of the most aggressive and efficient finishers driving to the basket.
When comparing Goodwin to Doron Lamb, Kentucky's previous starting shooting guard, their games vary in many different ways. Lamb was a dead-eye shooter from mid-range and from the perimeter but was not a high-level athlete. He was still effective as a slasher, but his strengths were mainly his shooting stroke.
Lamb was also not a great defender. Granted, he was never bad in this department, either, but his perimeter defensive skills are not what landed him in the NBA. Lamb was not noted for having a great "motor," he lacked effort and would often fade away into the background for stretches at a time.
Archie Goodwin appears to possess a polar opposite skill set. Perhaps his greatest strength is his effort, which is always going at full speed. Eric Lindsey, a contributor to John Calipari's website, had this to say after observing Goodwin during a practice:
Will Archie Goodwin be the team's top scorer?
One guy Calipari doesn’t have to worry about is Archie Goodwin, who continues to exhibit a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist-like mentality. The more competitive the environment gets, the more he rises to the occasion. When the pads were out, Goodwin seemed to bounce off the punishment like he was a running back with shoulder pads and a helmet on.
Because of his high energy level, Goodwin is expected to excel as a perimeter defender. He will likely make plenty of thefts in the passing lanes and will use his speed and athleticism to convert turnovers into easy fast-break opportunities.
He will need to work on his jumper, as it will help the team immensely if he can turn it into one of his strengths. Backup guard Julius Mays is known as a lights-out shooter from deep, so Archie will likely lose playing time to Mays unless he can improve this aspect of his game.
However, this should not be a worry for the team. In fact, he wants to become the emotional leader of the team. Don't take my word for it; you can hear it from Goodwin himself:
"I'm grateful to be here. I take everyday like somebody else is coming for my spot because I know that being here you always have to work, and that's something I have to do everyday. I'm always in the gym every night trying to make myself better. And I always try to bring guys in here with me whenever they have free time to come into the gym. I'm always on top of everything to maintain."
That's a big deal for Cal. Finding players who bring others to the gym on their own. Michael Kidd Gilchrist did last year.
"I think my role is going to be a leader on this team. We have a lot of great guys, a lot of talent on this team, but we're a lot quieter than last year's team, so it's something I'm going to bring out of everybody. Bring out the fire they have inside of them that they haven't brought out yet."
If he can mimic Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's character and leadership traits, while also playing a lead guard role similar to that of former Calipari star Tyreke Evans, then Archie Goodwin has a bright future ahead of him.
The 5-star recruit and Parade All-American will likely emerge as one of the team's top scorers. He should average close to 13 points, four rebounds and four assists per game this season and will double as the team's key lockdown perimeter defender.
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