Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
SEC Basketball Media Day report
Kentucky freshman Archie Goodwin (Sylvan Hills) scored a lot of points in the Wildcats’ Blue-White intrasquad game, but it was a pass he didn’t make that caught his coach’s eye.
HOOVER, Ala. Archie Goodwin, Kentucky’s freshman guard from Sylvan Hills, scored a team-high 32 points in the Wildcats’ Blue-White intrasquad game Wednesday night and made 11 of 22 field-goal attempts while playing 40 minutes.
But it was a pass Goodwin didn’t make, rather than any of the shots he made, that seemed to leave the strongest impression with Kentucky Coach John Calipari.
“Archie played good, but he made one play where he didn’t pass it to a player ahead of him, and I really got on him about that,” Calipari said Thursday at SEC basketball media day. “There are lot of things you look by, but that you can’t, especially with the way we play.”
Calipari said failing to pass to an open teammate “is unacceptable” for the Wildcats, and that he told Goodwin he won’t be lacking for scoring opportunities.
“After the game I said, ‘You took 22 shots. You took the most on the team. You’re going to get your shots,’ ” Calipari said.
Calipari said he is excited by Goodwin’s intensity level but said he needs to play more under control at times.
“Archie plays too fast,” Calipari said. “His pace of the game is always 110 miles an hour. Well, you can’t play that way. You’ve got to go 90 to 110, back to 80. ... But that’s all part of the growth of a player, and that’s what we’re working on.”
Ole Miss Coach Andy Kennedy saw Goodwin play extensively in high school and in summer tournaments.
“He’s very athletic,” Kennedy said. “I think he can be a lock-down defender, and he’s got the ability to score in a variety of ways.
“I think he’ll contribute at Kentucky right away. To what degree? I’m not in their practices every day, but I know physically he’s certainly capable of being an SEC player from Day 1.”
Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said while the NCAA denied a waiver for junior forward Alandise Harris to have immediate eligibility after transferring from Houston, this season won’t be a lost one for Harris.
“He’ll sit out this year and he’ll redshirt, and we’ll certainly use him in our practices to help our guys get better,” Anderson said. “He’ll also get a chance to concentrate academically and get really set up and be ready for next year.”
Back in town
Texas A&M women’s Coach Gary Blair, who held the same position at Arkansas for 10 seasons from 1994-2003, will be a visiting coach in Walton Arena for the first time when the Aggies play the Razorbacks on Jan. 6.
But Blair said he also considers it a home game because his wife, Nan, still lives in Fayetteville. She is an associate professor in Arkansas’ nursing department.
“Do I sleep in my bed the night before the game knowing that my wife works at the University of Arkansas?” Blair said. “Or do I sleep at the team hotel? That’s going to be a big question.”
Blair’s Aggies, who won the 2011 national championship and have made seven consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, are picked to finish fifth in the SEC in a preseason media poll.
“Being picked fifth in the league is probably an eyeopener to Gary, although he’s the biggest sandbagger of all,” said Arkansas Coach Tom Collen, a former Blair assistant. “He’ll probably come in here and say they should have been picked seventh or eighth.”
Blair, who spoke at media day a few hours after Collen’s appearance, said he believes Texas A&M is picked behind Kentucky, Georgia, Vanderbilt and Tennessee because of the Aggies’ strength of schedule. He said he’s not sandbagging.
“That’s the old days,” Blair said. “I used to sandbag pretty good, but we’ve got to earn our way into the SEC.”
Texas A&M is playing Kentucky and Vanderbilt in home-and-home series and has road games at Georgia and Tennessee.
“We’ve got the toughest conference schedule in who we’re playing, and who we’re playing on the road,” Blair said. “I guess this is our welcome gift from the SEC, so we have to accept it.”
Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said he’s been pleased by the first two weeks of preseason practices and that the Razorbacks have stayed healthy so far. He said the players are doing a good job of sharing the basketball and playing hardnosed defense.
“I think we’re going in the right direction,” Anderson said. “We’ve got guys that are really starting to see the light, so that’s encouraging, but obviously we’re doing that against each other.
“We’ll find out more when the season starts, but our guys are working extremely hard.”
Sports, Pages 26 on 10/26/2012