Dude in the back is stoked for that 3.
Jarrod Polson made the most of his time out on the court last Friday, and got a lot of (deserved) attention, but Archie Goodwin was no slouch against the Terps, either, you know. He picked up 16 points on 3-8 shooting, but most impressive was the 9-11 mark on free throws. If there’s one thing a young, aggressive shooting guard needs in Cal’s system, it’s an ability to get to the rim. At that point, the best options are score or get fouled (or both), and if Goodwin is showing he can convert either way, expect his playing time to stay high.
A lot of that came as a natural two-guard, though. In Harrow’s absence, if Polson’s production doesn’t quite match his coming out party, can Goodwin thrive as a point guard? Better question: Can Kentucky win with Goodwin at the point?
Brooklyn basketball brain Dan Kelly, contributing to ZagsBlog, ruminated on this very question.
What I liked most about his game was the efficiency of his drives. He doesn’t hesitate. He makes one good move and explodes. Is he reckless on occasion? Yes, absolutely. He will learn to pick his spots more prudently as the season moves along and coach John Calipari’s wisdom gets wedged further into his head.
As a point guard Goodwin looked like a different player. He set up the offense, made the first pass and then stood at the top of the key. He seemed bored and distant from the game. Is this just a freshman with drifting concentration? Is this a shooting guard playing out of position? I think both situations were at work.
Will his defense catch up to his offense? Will his shooting stroke be consistent? Can he play the point? Can he score on elite defenders?
There’s no question that Dook is guard-heavy. Seth Curry and Quinn Cook can heat things up in a hurry, and Archie has to be there to slow them down. HAS to be. Meanwhile, the Cats can’t hope to have Jarrod Polson bail them out again; not because he can’t, but because relying on any one player, former walk-on or otherwise, is dangerous. Will Archie be there to make the right play? To pass when defenders collapse on a drive? To slow down and reset (like Mays did so well) when a play gets busted up?
With Ryan Harrow sitting this game out with fatigue (has anybody checked him for mono?), this game is very much in Archie’s hands. Which is a huge amount of pressure. Arguably the most important non-conference game in the last several years, if only because, you know, screw Duke, is on the line, and the freshman will have to step up in only his second game. A normal kid would probably buckle under this kind of pressure.
But Archie? Well, maybe the Dookies can use some of that ice in his veins to put on their broken ankles.
Tip’s at 9:30. Go Archie, Go Cats.