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Fall signing period gets Cal, Cats off to big start

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Having reeled in three top-ranked recruiting classes in each of his first three years at Kentucky, John Calipari has created some high expectations for himself in terms of bringing talent to the Bluegrass.

With the three prospects he inked during the fall signing period, Calipari is well on his way to living up to his lofty standards.

On Thursday, UK officially announced the signings of Willie Cauley (Olathe, Kan.), Archie Goodwin (Little Rock, Ark.) and Alex Poythress (Clarksville, Tenn.), moving the Wildcats up to the No. 2 2012 recruiting class according to most outlets, within reach of the top spot yet again if Calipari can add another highly touted player or two in the spring.

"I'm excited about all three," Calipari said. "I think all three have the potential to do special things here."

All three of the newest Cats, who will play for UK during the 2012-13 season, are rated among the top-40 players in the nation according to, and ESPN. The class are also balanced from a positional perspective, featuring a combo guard, a combo forward and a center.

Archie Goodwin - Guard - 6-foot-4, 181 pounds

Goodwin is the highest-rated of UK's three fall signees. He is a consensus five-star selection and is rated the nation's second-best shooting guard prospect by If Goodwin is as good as the player Calipari compares him to, UK fans are in for a treat.

"Archie is a combo guard who can really score the ball," Calipari said. "I love his athleticism and length. He plays kind of like Tyreke Evans, but can shoot it more consistent at this stage in his career than Tyreke could."

Goodwin stars on the court for Sylvan Hills High School, leading his team to a 25-4 record and a trip to the Class 5A state final in 2010-11. He average 28.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists en route to being named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Arkansas during his junior season. Goodwin has also twice been selected as an All-State performer.

Alex Poythress - Forward - 6-foot-7, 215 pounds

Poythress is an athletic, versatile player who has played all five positions on the floor over the course of his three-year career at Northeast High School. He projects as a combo forward at the next level and Calipari is excited to coach him.

"When Alex is at his best, because of his size and athleticism, he's as good as anybody in the country," Calipari said. "He is really athletic, and when he's got his motor running, he can score at will."

Poythress was a finalist for Mr. Basketball in Tennessee as a junior, averaging 22.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.1 blocks, 1.4 steals and 1.2 assists. Poythress also stars in the classroom, where he has earned 3.9 GPA entering his senior season.

Willie Cauley - Center - 7-foot, 225 pounds

Cauley is a two-sport star for Northwest High School, where he averaged 15.8 points and 8.5 rebounds during his junior basketball season and posted 1,140 yards and 14 touchdowns as a wide receiver on the football team. Calipari expects him to blossom in college when he turns his athletic focus completely to basketball.

"At 7-feet tall, Willie has great feet and great hands," Calipari said. "He's a wide receiver on the football team. When he starts zeroing in on this sport, I think people are going to be surprised at how good he really is. He's got his best basketball ahead of him."

Cauley is rated as a top-10 center prospect according to all major outlets. He is rated the No. 39 overall player according to, No. 28 by Scout and No. 32 by ESPN.

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