By JOSH NEWMAN
Special to ZAGSBLOG
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Kentucky freshman Archie Goodwin isn’t the first player to point out how well Wildcats head coach John Calipari prepares his players for the NBA, he is merely the latest despite playing just one year in Lexington.
“It definitely helped me because he expects so much from his guys,” Goodwin said after working out for the Nets at PNY Center on Wednesday morning. “All the things he put us through during the year really helped me to transition from there to here. He’s a big factor. He talks to guys all the time for me, stays in their ear. He’s always a constant, nagging gnat towards these GMs in letting them know about me, so I appreciate him for that.”
A 6-foot-5, 189-pound shooting guard, Goodwin averaged a team-high 14.1 points while starting all 33 games for the 21-12 Wildcats, who lost in the first round of the NIT at Robert Morris. He declared for the NBA Draft on April 1 and is currently slotted as the No. 39 overall pick by DraftExpress.
The Nets own the No. 22 pick in the draft, but do not currently have a second-round pick.
A veteran NBA scout told SNY.tv Wednesday morning he would draft Goodwin, “second round, 35-45.”
“He’s very talented, very young, he can really run the floor, has long arms and is a good driver,” the scout told SNY.tv. “His jumper needs a lot of work and he has a long, hard road ahead of him. He will have to be mentally tough. He chose to play against men rather than boys. Stay tuned.”
Wednesday at the Nets was Goodwin’s seventh NBA workout as he says he has 10 more lined up before the draft. While he played shooting guard at Kentucky, Goodwin believes his game can translate to point guard at the NBA level given his attacking style, aggression and ability to get into the lane.
“I feel like right now, I can play point guard because me with the ball, I can do a lot more,” Goodwin said. “I like to have the ball in my hands because I’m a playmaker.”
Goodwin’s decision to turn pro without a hint of being chosen in the first round may have something to do with the fact that next year’s draft class is expected to be one of the best ever. With that said, his draft stock may not have been any higher than it is right now.
Part of that presumed draft class will be making its way to Lexington for next season in the form of freshmen Julius Randle, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee and James Young. That recruiting class will join returners Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress and Kyle Wiltjer to make Kentucky the preseason favorite to win the national title.
Randle, both Harrison twins, Cauley-Stein and Poythress are all projected to go in the top 24 of the 2014 NBA Draft.
“That’s a national championship contender,” Goodwin said. “They have the talent, the toughness and the competitive spirit, so as long as they put all that together, they’ll be fine.”