UK Wildcats Basketball: The Kentucky Effect and Archie Goodwin

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Kelly Lambert-USA TODAY Sports

Since Calipari has been at UK, few players have elicited a reaction from fans that Archie Goodwin did last year during his only season in Blue & White. Goodwin, the 6’5” shooting guard from Arkansas, was perceived by many to be selfish. Others saw a determined, driven, hardworking kid trying to will his team to victory, at whatever expense necessary. Where some saw cockiness, others saw confidence. Where some saw hubris, others saw nothing more than a desire to win.

Certainly, Goodwin was—and still is—extremely talented. His senior year in high school, he averaged 25.2 points per game, in route to leading his team to the Arkansas 5A state basketball championship, picking up McDonald All-America honors along the way. During the 2012-2013 season, he led UK in scoring with 14.1 points per game and came 1 rebound and 1 assist short of a triple double vs LIU-Brooklyn. He scored 22 points against Louisville and 20 against Georgia, both in losing efforts. And while he attempted 357 field goals, only 64 of those were from behind the arc, suggesting he was well-suited for Calipari’s dribble drive offense.

But, as UK fans are aware, there were the frustrating aspects to Goodwin’s game. The 3.1 turnovers per game, including four 5-turnover games (Baylor, @UofL, and @Vandy) and one 7-turnover game (Missouri). The single digit points scored against Notre Dame (3), Alabama (7), Florida (8), and Tennessee (7) when UK needed someone to step up and take over. And many UK fans saw a player unwilling to pass the ball, someone who looked for his own shot rather than the best shot. Fairly or unfairly, as the season wore on and the losses piled up, this was the image many fans had of Archie Goodwin. When the season ended in a humbling and disappointing loss to Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT, it wasn’t hard to find fans hoping Archie would leave for the NBA. Goodwin did eventually declare for the draft, picked 29th by the Oklahoma City Thunder, who later traded his rights to Phoenix.

On Monday, prior to the Phoenix-Knicks game, Goodwin told that he felt UK’s struggles last year hurt his draft stock. As reported by

“If we would’ve won more, then I would’ve been a top pick.

It was just a matter of us losing a lot of games that we should’ve won. I mean, we went to the NIT, so us losing there and then just a lot of games we should’ve won during the year, if we win those games then I feel like I’m easily one of those top picks. But losing has a big thing to do with it.”

On Tuesday, as news of his comments spread, UK fans took to social media. While some voiced support for what he said, it seemed as though most used it as an opportunity to further criticize Goodwin’s play from his one season at UK, noting that if it wasn’t for the “Kentucky Effect” Goodwin likely wouldn’t have been drafted at all in the first round.


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