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In Harrow’s Absence, Will Goodwin Step Up?

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.

Article written by Corey Nichols

43 Comments for In Harrow’s Absence, Will Goodwin Step Up?



  1. UKEngr
    9:04 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    Beat Duke.



  2. RYNO
    9:10 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    Ryan Lemond is filling in for Tom Leach this morning- give it a listen http://www.iheart.com/#/live/4908/?autoplay=true



  3. Big Blue Fan
    9:10 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    Really to early to make this call but I think Cal might end up with Archie at 1, Mays 2 for starting line up this year. Harrow is sick so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt but he might not be physically tough enough to handle the starting PG roll and be the back up.



  4. Raazoul
    9:10 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    Go Cats, Beat Puke.



  5. Raazoul
    9:12 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    I think Cal should start Polson. Not because I’ve bought into Polson as a starter, but Polson off the bench doesn’t bring much. Mays on the other hand does. We may need a spark off the bench in this game, I expect said spark to be Julius.



  6. Jughead
    9:16 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    What’s the deal with Harrow? If it were just flu, he’d be back.



  7. Will S
    9:18 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    For months, all I heard was how badly UK was going to punish Duke in November. Now it seems that BBN has tempered their expectations, which is good. I’ve told you guys that Harrow is not an NBA PG, and not tough enough to run the show on the big stage. He sat out big games while he was at NC State with the same “flu like symptoms.” Now, WCS and Noel are huge NBA prospects, their size and athleticism is downright freakish. But what I saw vs MD was a timid, inexperienced, physically weak frontcourt. When Noel and WCS are in the game at the same time, UK’s post offense is non-existant. They both go for the block on numerous occasions, leaving the weakside open for offensive rebounds. Duke will not go 1-17 from 3pt like MD did at one point in the game. Duke is also much bigger than Maryland. This is the downside with Calipari’s system, big early season games are tough for his freshman. One or two injuries can derail an entire season because of no depth. Tonight, Duke shows the nation they are a very real threat to cut the nets down in March (or April, whatever).

    Duke 80 UK 71.



  8. burger
    9:19 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    It’s not all Archie’s job.

    What a piss poor write up. Hey Corey, go cover soccer.



  9. Will S
    9:20 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    Game Notes: Coach K is 4-1 vs UK while at Duke. Duke has also won 6 of the last 7 games vs. UK.

    It should be a great game tonight, the Georgia Dome will be rockin’, I’ve seen about a 50/50 split so far here in Atlanta. Bring the bourbon fellas its gonna be a good one!!



  10. Will S
    9:21 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    Tonights game is also huge for recruiting, saw on twitter that 2014 #1 Tyus Jones and #2 Jahlil Okafor will be watching. They will probably come down to Duke/UK for their college choices. Damn, I need a drink already



  11. tom
    9:24 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    The blogger (not Nichols) intimates what concerns me…that if Archie moves to the point, we lose a lot of his offensive game since he is so concentrated on running the team. This team appeared offensively challenged a bit in the first game. There was a time, in the second half, when Wiltjer was on the bench and we went long minutes without a point. If Archie’s scoring is dampened by PG responsibilities…where do those points lost come from?

    I say, let Jared play the point. PLayers seem comfortable with that and let Archie play his natural position. But that’s just me.



  12. burger
    9:24 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    “Huge amount of pressure”? “Will Archie be there to make the right play?”??

    Are you seriously writing this nonsense?

    COREY NICHOLS needs a bailout



  13. Oxymoron
    9:27 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    “because relying on any one player, former walk-on or otherwise, is dangerous.”

    Now let us write a post on how we need to rely on Archie…



  14. barn
    9:28 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    offensively challenged?? we scored 72 points in our first game against a pretty good mland team who had a solid big man. i saw other things that need much improvement but this team can score.



  15. key to the game
    9:29 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    Must. Stay. Out. Of. Foul. Trouble.



  16. Head Bussa
    9:29 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    Hey Corey, I think this was a pretty good article. I, too, believe that this team will go as far as Archie goes. He is by far the best player on the team and he will have to be a big-time scorer for us this season. I believe that we will need more out of Julius and Poythress, but on every night I think it’s Archie who can pour in 20. This team is just not nearly as balanced as some of the Cal teams we have seen. We will rely often on Archie. On the point guard question, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal if you move him from the 2 to the 1. Regardless, he will be expected to score from either spot and I think getting the ball in his hands as much as possible is a good thing. In fact, I really expect him to convert to being a point guard a la Tyreke Evans.



  17. ktmiln2
    9:32 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    There are 5 types of people on this message board- Duke/UL Trolls, about 5 posters (who are really just the same person) who like bashing the write, and 3 legitimate fans. Ridiculous.



  18. ThatsAShame
    9:32 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    I agree with 15. Foul trouble will be a big deal especially with the ability for Duke to draw charges. However, on the flip side I could see our bigs possibly getting Plumlee into early foul trouble. Maybe NN realizes what kind of effort he needs to bring.



  19. theSkinny81
    9:35 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    7 – i agree with some of the points you make, however lets not forget that it was the FIRST true game for our freshman, neutral site in a brand new NBA arena, with 30+ NBA scouts and a Jay Z watching.

    also, ill put a little faith in our leader Calipari using valuable game-tape to coach them, and that (hopefully) we wont get out-rebounded and over-contest on shots like they did against the Terps. all that being said, especially with the fact that Maryland pulled down 28(!!!) offensive rebounds, UK did pull off the victory…. 🙂

    having a player out and another ‘possibly’ injured doesn’t help much though…

    10 – and if there’s one thing Kentucky needs, its help in recruiting.



  20. bluefan
    9:37 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    not because he can’t, but because relying on any one player, former walk-on or otherwise, is dangerous.
    ——————————————
    While I agree with much of what you are saying, I find it funny you say we can’t rely on one player (Polson), but this whole post really DOES rely on one player (Goodwin). I get the point, but it’s still funny.



  21. tom
    9:40 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    14 – hey barn. I was basically referring to the 2nd half when we were offensively challenged. We scored just 22 or 23 points in that second 20 minutes and went for a stretch of at least 5 minutes when we didn’t get a single bucket. Maryland put the clamps on us and with Wiltjer on the bench, we lost our scoring punch. It was in that 15-0 run that the Terps had.



  22. Will S
    9:42 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    19) No doubt about it, Cal will watch the film and correct mistakes. I believe UK will be a better team than Duke in March (barring injuries), but I love our chances tonight. And yes, UK needs NO HELP in recruiting, but I think Duke could use a nudge!



  23. Blueisblood
    9:53 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    @9. Coach K may very well be 4-1 vs. UK. That one loss is K’s only loss in regional final action. Glad that scar can be attributed to UK. Duke is lucky they did not meet up with UK last year. Lehigh made sure of that.



  24. Wakecat
    10:05 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    (1) Does Harrow have mono?
    (2) Does anyone find it ironic that Polson (who could be our starting point guard tonight), looks exactly like someone who should be playing for Duke (and we would be hating him)?



  25. Big Diesel
    10:07 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    He has not been ruled out for the game today.



  26. burger
    10:08 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    #20 – bluefan – That was my point.

    Anyone takes a step back from getting all excited about a UK basketball article written the day we play Duke and you’ll see a crap logic turd on the ground.

    At least Corey’s consistent.



  27. Craig
    10:09 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    I think we need Archie at the two, attacking and scoring. I’m hoping Polson has another steady game at point running things.



  28. Raazoul
    10:12 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    Hey Will S. Duke is garbage. Most overrated team in America next to IU. No one can name anyone on your team that isn’t an NBA players son or a big white oaf. UK will win by 9-12 pts. You heard me, a bunch of 18yr olds starting their second game of their career will beat the backstreet boys and Splinter. Puke Sucks. Go Cats.



  29. Aaron C Bunch
    10:18 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    #28 I absolutely agree! I’m not worried about this game very much. I think we have considerably more talent than them, just less experience, but I’ll take talent. This Duke team is overrated and will fall to the Cats tonight. I’m going 75-69 CATS.



  30. older than dirt
    10:19 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    At this point in the season, hard to imagine Goodwin excelling at point guard. Perhaps later but right now he seems to still be adjusting to having talent around him. One of Dick Vital’s better quotes in the Maryland game was his reaction to a play Goodwin attempted, “kid plays like he thinks you get extra points for degree of difficulty”. That is who Goodwin seems to be now. Stands to reason that the coaching staff has been working with him to get him to play under control. Not logical that he would master that after one regular season game.He is going to be a fantastic Wildcat but it will happen over time.



  31. SHIMSKY
    10:24 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    24:
    (1)Who gives a crap, he blows.
    (2)Who gives a crap?



  32. HicksPickSix
    10:27 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    Corey’s thought process: “If I write about vague, hypothetical topics it will not only mask my lack of basketball knowledge, it’ll also bait tons of readers into responding to my drivel.”

    Mission: accomplished.



  33. Roofus Howls
    10:29 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    It is early and all and while November games aren’t that important, UK fans still care since someone is keeping score. Here are a few things in UK’s favor.

    Duke doesn’t have anyone big and athletic enough to guard Poythress, Noel, or Cauley-Stein.

    Wiltjer won’t be guarded by more athletic guys.

    Duke has been soft for a few years, UK can handle them as long as they hold them under 40% from the perimeter.



  34. Raazoul
    10:33 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    Hey 32, go write your own drivel, Stephen King. I’m sure we’ll all read and love it.



  35. Will S
    10:55 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    28) We’ll see tonight. Don’t hide in a hole when UK loses, though. Amile Jefferson, Rodney Hood, Rasheed Sulaimon, Tyler Thornton, Quinn Cook are not NBA players sons or “big white oafs”… nice logic.



  36. Blueisblood
    11:01 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    Why don’t you go back yo your own board Will. You think UK is going to be an easy win for Duke? Think again.



  37. StuckAtWork
    11:09 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    Goodwin scares me to death every time he touches the ball. I really wish he wasn’t running the point at all. Duke may beat us early and give the young guys a good learning experience. They won’t want to meet us in March though.



  38. Lol
    11:12 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    28) lol, look at those people you just named. If that is seriously what you rely on, it’s gonna be a loooong season

    With that being said, look for Wiltjer to get more clock tonight because he can actually guard Ryan Kelly.



  39. Lol
    11:13 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    That was meant for 35



  40. citycat
    11:34 am November 13, 2012 Permalink

    Goodwin scares me too, so out of control. He almost single handedly lost the Maryland game with the late turnover and failure to block of the free throw shooter. You learn to block out the free throw shooter in grade school



  41. Big Whoop
    12:08 pm November 13, 2012 Permalink

    Laying responsibility for a win or a loss on Goodwin’s shoulders is pure baloney. Defend the three and we win. Duke can’t beat us with an inside game. Won’t happen. Georgia St. is no Maryland.



  42. RealCatsFan
    12:11 pm November 13, 2012 Permalink

    Guard play for UK will be a key to the game – not only how well Goodwin / Polson handles the ball and runs the offense, but also how well they guard Duke’s outside shooters. Yes, there will be renewed focus on rebounding, but Wiltjer and Mays will need to hit from outside or look for Duke to pack it in on the inside. Also, this will be a prime game for Alex to assert himself and show America who the real Alex Poythress is. Go Cats!



  43. Corey Nichols
    1:06 pm November 13, 2012 Permalink

    32 – Adam Hicks’ though process: