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Goodwin looks to become total-package student-athlete

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Freshman Archie Goodwin looks to be an impact player for the 2012-13 men's basketball team. (Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics) Freshman Archie Goodwin looks to be an impact player for the 2012-13 men's basketball team. (Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)
College freshmen across the country go through life-changing adjustments year after year. They are placed in brand-new environments, with new people, in new living arrangements. They leave the comfort of their homes for the less than desirable living conditions of a dorm room. And getting used to all of those changes can be exhausting.

Add all of those adjustments and changes on top of the hectic schedule and life of a Kentucky basketball player, life can be pretty draining.

"I expected the crazy fans coming in," said Kentucky freshman Archie Goodwin. "But I didn't think I was going to be this tired. I am tired. Just from all the school and working out, it does get tiring."

But that doesn't mean Goodwin would change a thing. He knows what he signed up for.

"I do appreciate it because anybody would give up anything to be in the position that I'm in," said Goodwin. "So that's something I don't take for granted and I always thank God for it."

The position that he's in has Goodwin bogged down with numerous activities and responsibilities on a daily basis. He has structure for the first time in his life with most of his day already set in stone. Classes are planned out, he has tutors he has to see, he wakes up at the crack of dawn to get early morning workouts in with the team, and they actually practice basketball in between.

When Goodwin finally gets some time to himself, what does he do?

"I sleep," said Goodwin. "Sleep is something valuable right now. (The upperclassmen) told me that it was going to be something that I would cherish, and they were right because we're so busy from sometimes six in the morning until right around five in the afternoon."

It sounds like the upperclassmen are making a real impact on the freshmen already, and Goodwin is hearing their message loud and clear.

While Goodwin chose the University of Kentucky for basketball, he isn't brushing off the rest of the responsibilities of a student-athlete. There are two things and only two things on his mind: school and basketball. In that order. Goodwin doesn't just want to be a great basketball player, but he hopes to become a complete person when his time at UK is over, whenever that may be.

"You don't want to have any holes in anything," said Goodwin. "You don't want people saying he's a good basketball player but he doesn't have the grades. You want them to say he's a good basketball player and he has good grades. They tie in with each other and that helps off the court as well with business opportunities and other things."

With basketball season fast approaching, Goodwin is trying to shore up some of the holes in his game.

Goodwin is one of four incoming freshmen of John Calipari's fourth straight No. 1 recruiting class. He's a highly touted swingman but capable of playing both guard positions. He has a natural ability to put the ball in the basket a number of different ways. That versatility should allow Goodwin to fit right in with what Calipari likes to do with his offense.

It's Goodwin's versatility that makes him special, and potentially even more valuable for Kentucky this season. With the way Kentucky's 2012-13 roster has shaken out, chances are pretty good Calipari will rely on his freshman to pick up some of the slack at the point guard position when Ryan Harrow, the projected starter at point guard, is out of the game.

"I'm getting a good grasp of (the offense)," said Goodwin. "I'm understanding things that (Calipari) wants me to do and what he expects at both positions. What he expects out of me is going to help me a lot and help me focus on what I need to do and what I need to learn."

Goodwin's transition to a Division I student-athlete isn't limited to the alterations off the floor. Calipari is working diligently to get Goodwin and the other freshmen up to speed, but also to help round out Goodwin's game, specifically in one of his weaker areas.

"We've been working (with) Archie on a consistent shot," said Calipari. "You can't shoot a different ball. You can't lean one way (and then lean the other). You've got to shoot consistently."

Where he currently lacks as a shooter Goodwin more than makes up for with his explosiveness. In fact, that's been one of the most impressive parts of his game so far in his short time at Kentucky. Even his new teammates are taking note. When Goodwin gets the ball in his hands in transition, defenders should expect him to try and finish with an exclamation point.

"I feel like fast break, just going head on with somebody, (Goodwin is) just going to beat you," said Harrow. "He jumps so fast that you know he's going to dunk on you. You might as well just face the facts."

That's the way Goodwin goes about his business. He plays hard. He works hard. And though he's just a freshman, he's already gained a reputation as a leader by example.

"Archie, he's going to step up and lead because he works so hard," said Harrow. "He might not be vocal, but he shows it throughout his play."

His hard-nosed style and effort may be exactly why Goodwin's transition to the college game won't be as difficult as it is for most freshmen, especially when playing for Calipari.

Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the top-two picks in the 2012 NBA Draft and members of the 2011-12 Kentucky national championship team, were notoriously hard workers and team-oriented players. In fact, they were fourth and fifth on the team respectively in shots taken last year. While Goodwin will likely have to be one of the main shooters/scorers on this year's team, he still sees himself as one of those team-oriented guys.

"I'm a team player, as well as every other guys in here is, and (Calipari is) for team players," said Goodwin. "He wants guys who he feels can help his program out, and I feel like I can do that. And hopefully we're both right on it."

So far, so good for Goodwin who feels that, despite all the demands of a person in his position, he's made the right decision. While the workload and dedication are something he will have to continue to get used to, transition is always easier when you know that someone has your best interests in mind.

"(Calipari) always wants to look out for what's best for us as a team, and not just himself," said Goodwin. "And that's a credit I give him. Everything I thought it would be, it has been so far, and it's something I'm very happy with and can't complain about."

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