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Kentucky Wildcats: 2012-13 Starters - Archie Goodwin

Long, lean, and fast.  Very fast.  That's Archie Goodwin
Long, lean, and fast. Very fast. That's Archie Goodwin

Of all the likely starters next year, my personal favorite is shooting guard Archie Goodwin.

Goodwin is primarily known as a slashing wing player, but what is less known is that he played quite a bit of point guard for his high school team at Sylvan in Arkansas, and even a little at the Jordan Brand Classic. Goodwin is a good passer and ballhandler for his size, but the most outstanding part of his game is his speed in transition. Those of us who are already missing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will be reminded of him when Goodwin gets the ball on the break. Stated simply, he finishes at the rim, and can do so with either hand coming out of high school.

Goodwin is the most athletic guard we have had at the 2-spot since Calipari has been here. He is vastly more athletic than Doron Lamb and would honestly push John Wall in that department. Goodwin has a terrific vertical to go along with his foot speed, and he is absolutely fearless when it comes to attacking the rim from the wing. He has a good crossover and explosive first step that will allow him to get into the lane a lot. Don't be surprised, though, when he finds open 3-point shooters on the wing rather than trying to finish in traffic -- he is probably as good a passer as Brandon Knight was.

Where Goodwin needs work is on his perimeter shot. Unlike Kidd-Gilchrist, his shot is not broken and his form problems are relatively minor and of the sort you often see in high school players. His release is relatively high and he gets the shot off quick enough that he can shoot reliably off the bounce, particularly in the midrange. If he gets a step, though, he prefers to get all the way to the rim, unlike Doron Lamb who preferred floaters and short jumpers on the drive.

Goodwin is probably Kentucky's most flexible player, as he can be counted on to man up to three spots -- the point guard, the 2-guard and the small forward. He plays much bigger than his 6'5" due to his large wingspan and extreme athleticism. His passing and preference for getting into the paint versus shooting jumpers will give him a lot of opportunities to show off his excellent passing game, unlike Lamb who was mostly a spot-up shooter from the 2 spot.

Goodwin has everything you need to become a lock-down defender, and I'd be surprised if he didn't quickly establish himself as the best on-the-ball defender on the 2013 team. He also is a very vocal and upbeat player, and could turn into the kind of leader that MKG became in his freshman year. One thing you can count on with Goodwin -- he will talk, and he will talk a lot.

I think Kentucky fans are really going to love Goodwin, not just for his game but for his outgoing and friendly personality. He's the kind of player that will help break the ice among the new guys and keep it broken, and if I were a betting man, I'd bet that he winds up playing more minutes next year than anyone else on the team.

With Ryan Harrow and Goodwin in the back court, the Wildcats will have perhaps the fastest and most athletic back court in the nation. Not only that, either of those two can easily initiate the Dribble Drive Motion offense at any time, and both should excel in the pick and pop with Kyle Wiltjer, who will be a nightmare cover on a switch. Pick and rolls with Willie Cauley-Stein or Nerlens Noel will also be a staple of Goodwin's game next year, and the prospect is very exciting considering what a good passer Goodwin is. I predict a lot of lob dunks, same as this past year.

Goodwin is exactly the kind of player that Calipari loves, and loves to coach. I think you'll all love to watch him.