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Cal’s Next Project: A Perimeter Defender


 

Who’s got next?

 

Point guard? Check. Stat sheet stuffer? Check. With a couple of “projects” completed, what needs to be next on Calipari’s to-do list? You could make an argument for a few different things, but personally, I think it’s time for Calipari to designate a perimeter defender on this team.

 

During the Elston Turner show yesterday, there were five times in the second half that the Cats had the lead and the chance to close out the game, yet each time, an Aggie (typically Turner) answered and effectively killed our momentum. Calipari has talked at length about how the Cats don’t know how to “stop the bleeding,” and a perimeter defender, a la DeAndre Liggins and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, would be the most effective way to put a halt to a team on a run while simultaneously getting the Cats hyped enough to close out a game.

 

So who’s the best candidate for the position? Alex Poythress could cause matchup problems because of his size (6-7, same as MKG), and Ryan Harrow has shown signs of thievery-potential recently, with four steals against Eastern Michigan and at least one in eight out of eleven games he’s played in. However, Archie Goodwin should be Calipari’s target for the Kentucky Wildcat’s version of “Made”- and here’s why.

 

Throwback.

 

Length. At 6-5, Archie is a good size to guard the opposing ball-handler. With a 6-10 wingspan, he’s not quite as long as MKG or Liggins, but he still has the ability to aggravate his man and wear him down until the dribbler makes a mistake. And when he does, Archie has great…

 

Breakaway speed. Archie is the quickest player on the team, with or without the ball. Once he elicits a fumble from the other team’s guard, he’ll be off quicker than you can say “burrr.” His incredible athleticism and ability to finish at the rim in a variety of breathtaking ways greatly increase the “points off turnovers” column of the stats sheet. Nerlens may lead the team in steals, but he’s not the one we want barreling down the court with the ball (remember the collective gasp when he hit the goalpost in Saturday’s game? Yikes). Archie Gonzales gets it done.

 

Edge. Alternatively known as the Liggins Factor. Archie is probably a perfectly nice young gentleman off the court, but while he’s playing, I’m scared of him. Maybe it’s the tattoos. Maybe it’s the complete lack of even a hint of a smile on his face. Regardless, Archie has the ability to intimidate his opponent and as sports psychologists are fond of saying, 90% of the game is mental (something I think we’re all realizing from watching this team play so far).

 

 

So if Archie already has all of the above qualities, what will Calipari need to coach him on? Patience. Archie tends to get overexcited. On the offensive end, that’s manifested in wild circus shots that hit the shot clock. Defensively, if he lunges for a ball too soon or missteps off the dribble, the team gets scored on. Archie needs to learn how to outlast a defender by staying in front of him and not falling for any fakes until the opportunity arises to go for the right steal. After Camp Cal, Archie should be in good enough shape to match any other player’s endurance; he’ll need to learn the art of waiting for the other player to mess up before becoming our go-to perimeter defender.

 

Calipari likes aggressive, up-tempo defense to supplement his dribble-drive offense. Archie Goodwin could be the key to this team achieving that defensive tenacity we’ve come to know and love from Cal’s teams. Archie, it’s time to go to work.

 

@KristenGeilKSR

 

Article written by Kristen Geil

25 responses to “Cal’s Next Project: A Perimeter Defender”

  1. Afghan Cat

    Archie has about the lowest basketball IQ of any player Cal has ever featured. I’m not holding my breath for him to transform to anything other than what he is.

  2. William Wesley

    LOL, project. My boy Cal is not into projects. He will simply arm me with a bunch of cash and send me out to find a one and done that can defend. I’m on it. We will have that next year. I’ll find a family that lacks integrity and is willing to sell their son to the highest bidder.

  3. Delk for 3

    2 — You are like a guy who can’t find a girlfriend. You criticize men with hot girlfriends and you can’t understand why you just can’t get one. In the same sense, you just can’t admit that Kentucky and Cal are more appealing than Quickie Rickie and the Cards. You have to tell yourself lies to make you feel better.

  4. Faa'kin Trolls

    2.) You should be worried about Russ Smith and his RG3 knee……..not “trollin so hard” on big brother”s site everyday.

  5. Same Old Same Old

    Ha Ha #2. You bring the same unoriginal post every time, ad infinitum. You are a Moron.

  6. William Wesley

    Sorry that I can’t come up with anything new. I was born without the gene that governs creativity.

  7. Eric

    How about a shooter? Can we get that project going??

  8. Hanging9in2014

    #2 is a troll and should be called out. But I do hate the William Wesley’s of the world. They are what is wrong with college basketball. Wish Cal and UK would not allow him near the program. The guy is shady and we don’t need him around.

  9. iamthebobcat

    Let’s face it – it aint happening this year – time to start handicapping the Derby!

  10. seriously

    seriously, look at the size of the kid archie is going against in his high school pic…no wonder he’s used to being able to take circus shots all game long

  11. IFail

    Archie does have good size for a guard, but I fail to see the intimidation gene in him. He typically looks more like a spoiled kid (a la Terrence Jones) than he does an intimidator (Bogans, Liggins). I think we are just going to have to temper our expectations from this group and take it for what it is.. a collection of really good individual player who don’t have the catalyst to push them over the edge to greatness. It will still be fun ride.

  12. Jon Hood

    I’m glad we are losing. Serves Cal right for letting players like me rot on the bench.

  13. Sully

    Nice thought, but lock-down defenders can’t be manufactured as the writer would have it. A player has to have physical tools, yes, but also must know how to play fundamentally sound defense in all situations. Most importantly, he has to have that “no one scores on me” mentality. Liggins, problematic as he was early in his career, always had all of those things, and of course MKG came to UK believing he could shut down any player on any team UK faced. Goodwin has the physical tools, but is not fundamentally sound defensively, hasn’t shown the necessary mindset, and in fact seems rather stubborn to do things his AAU-based way. Not sure anyone on this team has it. Noel is probably the best, but need to keep him around the hoop.

    It’s a problem across the board for this team. Goodwin, Cauley-Stine, and Poythress all lack fundamentals in virtually all facets.

  14. Steady

    The next time A. Goodwin does something team oriented will be the 1st time.

  15. Steady

    #1 and I are big supporters of Archie. We believe that running him down is the way to make him better. I am surprised we haven’t been asked to assist Coach Cal by now…

  16. Sammydog

    Every time UK got the lead and a head of steam, A&M coach called a time out and flat stopped any momentum we had. I thought Archie showed some defensive potential on the perimeter in the 2nd half against Turner. He needs to learn how to stay in front of his man.

  17. Big Blue 66

    one thing no one is throwing out was the invaluable time last years team had with the NBA players…..the NBA players on the Dominican team and the OK thunder who came in to practice. Last years team got to see how hard they needed to work to be in the NBA, this team just thinks you walk out there on game day like AAU

  18. Sammydog

    #17 Great point.

  19. Women Everywhere

    Get Deandre Liggins out of the D League & get him on our bench with a clipboard & in sweats at practice to teach these kids to play some D

  20. Yogi bera

    It’s, 90% of the game is half mental. That’s the quote sports psychologists refer to. It’s yogi bera. Seriously?

  21. Nate

    He’s an out of control menace. The chances of him playing in control and a little “d” are about as good as Ricky P lasting 1 minute at a closed restaurant.

  22. mark

    play a 2-3 zone….will help rebound and stop any pick and roll

  23. Bledsoe's Biceps

    Archie has the physical tools, but not the desire or mentality to be a lock down defender. I will be EXTREMELY surprised if Cal can get him to do it. As for his ability to finish at the rim….Not so much. He gets to the rim, but is far from good at finishing. Many times he just throws it toward the basket, as soon as he feels contact. They show up in the stats as missed shots, but often are akin to a turnover.

  24. charles

    All you fair weather Kentucky fans should be ashamed,talking crap about these young kids.They are still a work in progress.We have lost 2 home games and your already throwing theses guys under the bus.Teams will have a slump from time to time.Come March you will be back on the wagon when this team is winning.So support them through the good and bad or quit being a fan.

  25. J

    Cal needs to throw them in a 2/3 zone some…I think that set would actually work with this team once they figured it out..Hell I’ve seen enough big, slow, white boys play in a 2/3 zone to know it’s pretty fool proof when ran right. God knows this UK team sucks balls against it when the other team throws it at them.