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