Two of the most talented players on this particular UK team, Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress, have been bafflingly mercurial so far this season; one game they can’t be stopped, the other they’re playing wildly or can’t rebound over guys five inches shorter than they are. Before one of the biggest games of the season, CoachCal.com took a look at both of these players, and how Calipari is responding to their last few performances.
Goodwin racked up 18 points against Marshall, but for anybody watching the game, his play was a little frustrating. A lot of those points came from the stripe, which is good news for free throw percentages, but bad news considering he took 17 shots. A lot of his plays consisted of running into the lane and either drawing a foul or fouling himself. He missed a lot of shots within a few feet of the basket, including a couple layups and a wide open dunk in the second half.
“I was disappointed,” Caliapri said. “He missed four layups. I think he’s flipping. Rod (Strickland) thinks he’s looking down, not seeing the basket, looking up at the last moment to shoot it. I don’t know what it is. I’ll watch the tape, see if I can figure it out.
“You can’t miss layups. Bad enough missing open shots, but missing layups, c’mon, you’re not going to win.”
Archie, for all of his talent, will have to close out plays, and run fast but under control, if he wants to have a big game against the Cards. Meanwhile…
The other hyper-talented wing player in this duo, Alex, has had issues with his rebounding over the early part of the season. Standing at an intimidating 6’7″, with approximately 728 pounds of muscle, one would think that Poythress would be tearing opposing frontcourts apart on the boards, but yesterday’s game against Marshall tied his highest rebounding output at nine. In no game this season has Alex gotten double-digit rebounds, even though he has all the tools to do so.
“Think about some of the other teams we played where he was going against a 6-2, 6-3 guy and he couldn’t do what he did today [against Marshall],” Calipari said.
“Look, Alex Poythress did some good things and then he reverted at times,” Coach Cal said. “Just grabbed a guy on a foul, wanted to stop playing, left his feet three times because he was late getting to the guy.”
Poythress, for all his ability, has to work on his timing if he’s going to be proficient in both the rebounding and blocking departments, which the Cats need from him.
Of the three “Top Ten Draft Pick” players on the team, Archie and Alex are the X-Factors going into Saturday’s game against Louisville. Cal has his work cut out for him, but if anybody can do it, it’s got to be him.