Traditionally Arkansas produces better football than basketball players so it’s notable when one of the state’s best prep player ends up playing for the hoop-crazy
University of Kentucky. Indeed, it appears only three natives have ever done it and two of them went directly from an Arkansas high school to Lexington – Houston Nutt, Sr. in 1950-51 and Archie Goodwin last season.
Goodwin was drafted late with the 29th pick on Thursday night. The 18-year-old Little Rock native will start his NBA career as a young shooting guard with the Phoenix Suns. As a child, Goodwin looked up to the last Arkansas shooting guard prospect to launch a career there: Joe Johnson. Indeed, Goodwin once told me he approached Johnson at a Little Rock camp when he was around 10 years old and told him something to the effect of: “My name’s Archie Goodwin and one day you’ll know my name.”
The other Arky-turned-Wildcat was Bob Burrow, a Malvern native who moved to central east Texas as a high school junior. In 1954, after graduating with 14 other seniors from Wells High School, the 6-7, 230-pound center wasn’t exactly the most highly recruited guy around.
Two years later, after dominating competition at nearby Lon Morris Junior College, he was.
Burrow fell hard for Kentucky, which he considered the world’s basketball capital. “When they recruited me, one of the alumni flew me out to Lexington on a visit. What I saw really impressed me.” Amazingly, UK head coach Adolph Rupp didn’t even watch him play and offered a scholarship on reputation alone.
Burrow ended up as a two-time All-American at Kentucky, averaged 20 points and nearly 16 rebounds a game. Indeed, his 17.7 rebounds a game as a junior is a UK record and his 34 rebounds in one game is an SEC record.
The Wildcats were 43-9 during his tenure and today Burrow’s #50 jersey in the rafters.
Don’t expect the same for Goodwin’s #10 jersey. Goodwin had a rough freshman year to the say the least, but he still flashed enough talent and physical tools (he’s 6-4 but has a 6-10 wingspan, which was as long as Scottie Pippen’s) to warrant a first-round selection.
He has the benefit of playing for a young, hungry team with a new head coach – Jeff Hornacek – who played his position and is strong in one of the areas (shooting) where Archie is most weak. Now whether that translates into a successful NBA career is anybody’s guess.
For Archie’s sake, let’s hope it is better than Burrow’s two years in the league playing for the Rochester Royals and Minneapolis Lakers. Although he was picked #9 overall in the 1956 Draft, he averaged only 5.7 points and 4.4 rebounds a game in his brief career.
Today, Little Rock native Archie Goodwin announced he’s officially entering this summer’s NBA Draft.
No surprise here.
While there was some question whether Kentucky’s leading scorer would leave college after a single season, I doubt there was ever a major question in Goodwin’s mind. When he was a junior in high school, he told me he wanted to a be a one-and-done because it was the best way to fulfill his dream of playing in the NBA. While he’s had a far more tumultuous season at UK than anybody expected, I hope he enjoys these upcoming months prepping for the draft.
No doubt, he’s put in plenty of work laying the foundation for a phase in his life in which the term “business decision” is finally applicable in an un-ironic way.
Goodwin received quite a bit of scorn from Arkansas fans when he announced he was choosing Kentucky as the desired platform in the launching of his pro career.
The same cannot be said of Alex Carter, who may the most accomplished female soccer player in the history of the state’s high school sports. Hardly any Razorback fans have heard of the 18-year-old Carter, who burst on to to the scene four years ago as the first Arkansas female to make a national soccer team.
Since then, the 5-5 midfielder has won multiple titles and individual awards at the club level (with the Arkansas Rush) and playing as a junior for Conway High School last season. Carter was so eager to start the next phase of her training that she graduated Conway High early and enrolled at Kentucky – which has twice won the SEC championship – in January.
Alex Carter, the newest member of the University of Kentucky women’s soccer team, has enrolled early for spring classes, graduating early from Conway High School during the winter intersession to enroll early at the University of Kentucky, it was announced by head coach Jon Lipsitz on Wednesday.
“Alex is a very special technical player,” Lipsitz said. “She has a great ability to play in the midfield and we have even talked about her playing some center back also because of how vital it is to have center backs who can set play with our style. We are very excited to have her come early. She felt that she was ready, and we felt that she was ready also.” – UK press release
Carter will start her first season this fall.
It’s been said that many Arkansans loathe Goodwin right now for snubbing the Hogs, but they will embrace him again if he goes on to become a champion at the NBA level and gives back to Arkansas (exhibit A: Keith Jackson).
Women’s soccer isn’t nearly as popular as men’s basketball, and so few Arkansans know who Alex Carter is, never mind care about her college destination. BUT, if in 2015 or 2019, she shows up on an American national team again – this time right before the World Cup – you’d better believe Arkansas will know who she is, and in a hurry.
That may be the first time Carter is asked in public why she decided to roll with the LadyCats and not the LadyBacks.
UPDATE: Goodwin had 14 points, 7-of-13 FGs, 0-of-2 from three, 3 rebounds, 1 TO, 3 steals in 18 minutes, according to Rivals.com. He started shakily, with a turnover off an errant pass while driving to the hoop, and soon afterward a missed dunk while losing a shoe – but he settled in nicely after that with consecutive dunks while flashing ability to cut to the hoop that stood out even in this hyper-talented crowd. Goodwin, Shabazz Muhammad and Rasheed Sulaimon led the West to a 106-102 victory.
BTW, he finished second in the event’s dunk contest, serving up a behind-the-back special I’ve never seen before (at 34 seconds):
Tonight, Archie Goodwin becomes the sixth male Arkansan to play in the nation’s most prestigious prep basketball game for high school seniors.
Here are his predecessors since the game’s 1977 debut:
- 1980 Rickey Norton (Okolona, Arkadelphia)
- 1982 Willie Cutts (Bryant)
- 1984 Andrew Lang (Pine Bluff)
- 1992 Corliss Williamson (Russellville) Tallied 14 points and 10 rebounds in a 100-85 win for the West team.
- 2007 James Anderson (Junction City) Had 5 points and 3 rebounds in 11 minutes for the West, which beat the East team 114-112.
Will Goodwin, who has thrived in these kind of national all-star settings, notch the best McDonald’s game ever by an Arkie?
The stats for the three Arkansans who played in the 1980s aren’t readily available. But, based on the game’s record book, it is likely Williamson has the best-ever designation heading until now. Goodwin could become the first Arkansan to score more than 21 points, dish more than seven assists, snare more than four steals, grab more than 11 rebounds, or block more than four shots in a McDonald’s all-star game.
Another interesting fact: before Anderson, every McD’s Arkie eventually played for the Razorbacks. Indeed, overall 13 such All-Americans had at one time played for Arkansas including:
- 1981 Joe Kleine
- 1986 Ron Huery
- 1988 Todd Day
- 1988 Lee Mayberry
- 1993 Darnell Robinson
- 1994 Kareem Reid
- 1995 Derek Hood
- 1996 Glendon Alexander
- 2003 Olu Famutimi
Goodwin is one of two Kentucky signees playing in this McD’s All-America game. The program had signed 40 before them.
It’s hard to imagine a more favored team for an Arkansas state title coming into this season than Sylvan Hills High School.
For starters, all five starters returned from last year’s 25-4 squad, which had roared through conference play undefeated. Guard Archie Goodwin, a Kentucky signee, established himself as one of the nation’s best prep players. Over the summer, the senior-laden Bears added firepower with the transfer of sophomore point guard Kaylon Tappin from rival Little Rock Mills. To top it all off, the squad had strong motivation to redeem itself after losing to Alma – which lost its star player to graduation – in the 5A state title game last season.
Entering November 2011, the Bears were understandably confident. Head coach Kevin Davis scheduled four regional tournaments and out-of-state games against a caliber of competition far above Sylvan Hills’ usual non-conference foes.
But, in the early going, the Bears didn’t exactly devour the big dogs.
By New Years, Sylvan Hills had lost three games – to Memphis powerhouse Southwind 89-60, to Little Rock private school Pulaski Academy 82-72 and to Tupelo, Miss. 65-60. Soon afterward, the Bears lost 75-71 to Lexington Catholic High School in Kentucky, and on Jan. 12 in Missouri hit a low point.
The opponent: New York City’s national power Christ the King. The place: Springfield, Mo., during the first round of the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions. The outcome: a 71-45 shellacking, with Sylvan Hills held to 23% shooting from the field. Senior leaders such as Dion Patton, Devin Pearson and Larry Ziegler combined for 16 points. Goodwin mustered 21 points, but missed all five free throws and ten 3-point attempts.
The reeling Bears, with a record of 9-5, had their proverbial backs against the wall.
In the five games since, Sylvan Hills have bounced back with a vengeance.
Sylvan Hills wiped out its last two Missouri tourney opponents by a combined 44 points and has come to home to surge to a 6-0 conference start, including last Friday’s grit-a-thon with Mills. Dion Patton is once again orchestrating from the point guard position, while 6-5 center Pearson flirts with a double-double every night out. Meanwhile, Goodwin seems to have gotten his mojo back, scoring near 30 points a game while shooting at a 50%+ FG rate and 80%+ FT clip.
And those highlights just keep pouring in, as seen in this reel from the Bass Pro tournament. Best play? Check around 3:11 when Goodwin contorts around defenders in the lane to pull off an aerial whirling dervish of a maneuver. It’s unclear when he and the Bears will return to earth.
Can someone please organize a high school season dunk of the year voting contest? I’ll submit this Archie “Good God-er!” from Sylvan Hills’ 53-43 Tuesday win over Watson Chapel. (H/t to Sylvan Hills student Eddie Higgins for helping find the clip)
UPDATE: There must be something in the water down there in Jefferson County. Not long after Goodwin’s dunk, a college player at UAPB pulled off what simply may be the dunk of the year at any level anywhere. In case you haven’t drunk deep of its glory, here is Savalace Townsend boinging on someone’s silly head.
For a weekly look at high school basketball in central Arkansas, check out the new ARPreps.com prepscast featuring the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Tim Cooper.
Some updated notes [on 11/30] from the last day of the Rumble on the Ridge basketball tournament, a 3-day affair in Forrest City, Ark:
Pel sighting! He’s no longer stalking the sidelines as Arkansas’ head basketball coach, but that doesn’t mean John Pelphrey can’t keep visiting gyms around the state as a Florida assistant. As long as there is elite talent around to scout in high schools across the South, you had better believe Big Red will be there. Billy Donovan wouldn’t expect any less.
Below is a photo of Pel sitting in the same vicinity as the Sylvan Hills basketball team. Something tells me he wasn’t going to so much as sneak a peak in their direction, though.
Goodwin was a headliner in the tournament, although his team lost 60-89 to the Southwind Jaguars in the final. He was little hampered by the injury toward the end of the below clip, but came back just a few minutes later.
Archie has already signed with Kentucky, and was rocking a UK hat postgame. He said the injury was a “little painful, but nothing too bad to where I couldn’t play.” Asked if he had any message for UK fans, he said: “Tell them I love them … I’m gonna come up there and cause havoc.”
Goodwin’s signed, but Southwind’s junior Johnathan Williams III is still very much on the radar of many big programs. Here’s a clip of what he can do:
Johnathan Williams III (6-7, 208, ESPN’s 17th best player in ℅ 2013)
Tuesday night, Archie Goodwin became the first commitment of Kentucky‘s class of 2012.
With the single single tap of a “Tweet” button, the prep basketball star elated thousands of Wildcats fans while crushing the hopes of those wanting him to commit to Memphis or Arkansas. He told ESPN’s Dave Telep the choice was a “business decision,” a phrase reflecting his desire to prepare himself for the NBA and a belief Kentucky provides the best, and most efficient, platform for that.
Even before he begins his senior year of high school, though, the decision appears to have paid off in terms of boosting Goodwin’s personal brand. In the 16 hours following the 11 p.m. tweet, Goodwin picked up about 2,000 Twitter followers.
Meanwhile, Arkansas Razorback fans lamented. Many hoped Goodwin would team with Rashad Madden and B.J. Young next year to form what would likely become one of the best back courts in program history. Some fans believe it’s still a possibility. Oral commitments are nonbinding, which allows a last-second change of mind before a recruit signs a letter of intent.
Austin Rivers, last year’s top prep recruit, took advantage of this to back out of a commitment to Florida and become a Blue Devil.
Still, the sheer amount of blue-blooded love flowing between Goodwin and Kentucky followers on Twitter makes his reneging seem doubtful.
If Goodwin does end up signing with Kentucky, he’ll go down as one of the biggest “what-ifs” in Arkansas basketball program history. It’s likely fans haven’t been this disappointed since Al Jefferson, the immensely talented big man from Mississippi, decided to declare for the 2004 NBA Draft rather than play for the Hogs.
Goodwin “is the biggest recruit Arkansas has ever lost on,” says Tim Cooper, prep basketball editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Which opens up a question of Goodwin’ competition for this designation.
So, who are the best in-state Arkansas recruits to sign with other programs?
1. Keith Lee (West Memphis High School) Lee, a spindly 6-10, 190-pound power forward, helped West Memphis win a state-record 60 consecutive games and averaged 22.9 points and 17.6 rebounds his senior year (1980-1981). He was ranked as one of the nation’s best 15 players by Street and Smith’s magazine and pursued by schools such as UCLA, Louisville and Memphis State. Arkansas coach
Many media types rolled their eyes at the crazily colored uniforms the football teams of Georgia and Maryland wore last weekend.
Most of us long ago put away our East Bay catalogs. We can’t imagine trying to wear something hatched in a shroom-induced nightmare shared by Phil Knight and the Mad Hatter:
But if you get into the mind of a teenager, these uniforms can seem pretty sweet. Brand names, color, design – all this stuff can really matter when you’re a recruit in an increasingly image-saturated sports culture.
That’s something I had to remind myself when talking with high school senior Archie Goodwin, one of the nation’s most highly sought basketball recruits. Goodwin, of course, recently narrowed his list to Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis and Connecticut.
But I was most interested in the reasons he eliminated other top schools from consideration. Such reasons, after all, may provide insight into Goodwin’s priorities when assessing schools, and give clues to his eventual choice.
Here’s the breakdown:
Texas – “I did away with Texas simply because I didn’t feel like my relationship was strong enough with Coach Barnes. I can see myself playing for Texas but I didn’t feel comfortable with him as my coach.”
Missouri – “I talked to the assistant coaches all the time. Coach Tim Fuller is one of the coolest assistant coaches I’ve ever known, but as far as the head coach, I really didn’t know his name. I couldn’t tell you the head coach’s name. He talked to me on the phone, but Tim was the one that mostly called.”
Baylor – “Coach Scott Drew is a great guy. I love Coach Drew. They were one of the first schools that were recruiting me. But I didn’t like that they were an adidas team, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t go to Kansas because Kansas is a great team. I can look over the adidas thing – I own some adidas stuff. [Goodwin played recent summers with the Arkansas Wings Elite team, which is sponsored by Nike] I didn’t like their colors, either. I don’t like green and gold. That’s ugly …. When you got ugly colors like that, you gotta be Nike. …. Baylor has some ugly shoes, too.”
“On top of that, the one assistant coach I did really know – Coach Morefield, he moved on to doing something in the NBA so once they lost him I didn’t feel too comfortable with any other assistants on their team.”
“And then, I don’t like it that they play a 2-3 zone. I would rather play man[-to-man defense] than zone because you don’t play zone in the NBA. It’s 95% man.”
Check out of full Sync magazine interview here
POSTSCRIPT, ADDED ON 9/10
I have read a lot of comments on multiple sites, especially Yahoo Rivals, attacking Goodwin as a person for the above statements. Most of the people making these nasty attacks seem to believe the only reason Goodwin chose to eliminate Baylor from contention was aesthetic concerns. This is obviously false, since he gave other reasons. It’s unfortunate that his comments were stripped from their original context on this blog, but I also understand that is an inherent risk with anything written online for public consumption.
My job isn’t to be an apologist, or promoter, for Goodwin. It’s simply to serve as a way for him to tell the world about the life of a modern elite college recruit. He’s done that, and done it well, for six Sync player’s diaries now.
People who take the time to read these diaries, or listen to other Goodwin interviews online, will quickly realize he’s a personable, intelligent teenager. But he’s a teenager. In the spring, he was watching “SpongeBob“ and “Fairly Odd Parents”. He likes to goof around. And yeah, he likes some colors and shoe styles over others.
Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, even those spewing ill-informed garbage all over major outlets’ comment sections. It’s a lot easier, after all, to form opinions without first going through the trouble of getting correct context and proper background information.
But it takes curiosity and intelligence to even understand when such effort is necessary.
The Yahoo Rivals comment section shows those qualities are absent in a disturbingly large number of people.
The Nike Global Challenge is an 8-team, 12-game tournament featuring the top high school talent and best U19 players from international teams. Below are the stats of Goodwin and Stokes in their three wins:
USA Midwest 103, Germany 58
Stokes: 15 points on 6-12 field goals, 3-4 free throws, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 0 turnovers
Goodwin: 6 points on 3-8 FGs (0-2 3pts), 0-0 FTs, 1 reb, 3 assists, 3 stls, 3 TOs
USA Midwest 121, USA East 101
Stokes: 0 points on 0-1 FGs, 0-2 FTs, 14 rebs, 1 ast, 1 blk, 1 TO
Goodwin: 23 points on 11-19 FGs (1-5 3pts), 0-0 FTs, 1 ast, 0 TO
USA Midwest 99, Canada 94
Stokes: 13 points on 5-8 FGs, 3-4 FTs, 8 rebs, 2 TOs
Goodwin: 23 points on 9-15 FGs (2-4 3pts), 3-4 FTs, 4 rebs, 1 ast, 3 stls, 4 TOs
Tournament highlight video available here.
Clearing out the notebook from recent interviews with Arkansas’ most recruited athlete and found these tidbits:
1) Goodwin and Jarnell Stokes (Memphis) are ranked in the Top 20 of most c/o 2012 prep basketball players rankings. Both are recruited by numerous elite programs, included Arkansas and Memphis. Stokes recently insinuated those schools are front runners for him. Razorback and Tiger fans alike salivate at the prospect of seeing this guard and forward teaming up next season for their team.
At the time of the most recent Sync interview, Goodwin didn’t consider himself a close friend of Stokes, but kept up with him: “He follows me on Twitter and I follow him on Twitter. We might say what’s up or whatever on Twitter. We just haven’t engaged conversations.”
Goodwin also gave a scouting report on the 6-8, 250-pound Stokes, compared by many to Corliss Williamson: “He’s a very athletic, strong post man. I haven’t seen him do any really good post moves but he has a nice touch on his jumper and he can body you in the post and use his long athleticism and strength to get a lot of rebounds.”
That much was evident at July’s EYBL Peach Jam, in which both players starred. Here’s fivestarbasketball’s recap:
Stokes carried YOMCA to the Peach Jam finals as an individual leader in points at 14.6 per game, rebounds (9 rpg) and assists (3.6 apg).
Goodwin led the entire tournament with 20.4 points per game, including dropping 30 in an upset win over Team Takeover. The Sylvan Hills (AR) swingman led an undermanned team to a Peach Jam birth and two tough wins at the tournament. Goodwin silenced the doubters who said he wouldn’t be back from injury in time by putting on an absolute show at the Peach Jam.
2) John Calipari will soon coach the Dominican national team, which this September will be vying for its first Olympic berth at the FIBA Tournament of the Americas in Brazil. Calipari will spend about six weeks training Dominican players and coaches in Lexington. He follows in the footsteps of other American coaches like Nolan Richardson, who coached Mexico, and Del Harris, who coached China.
Goodwin respects Calipari’s unconventional decision to coach another nation’s team: “I think it shows he wants to explore different things. This is probably something he’s not done yet and wants to do. He’s willing to take chances and see how it goes and hopefully if works out the best for him. I follow the FIBA Americas, but the only time I watch it is when America plays.”