By Les Johns | @KernelJohns
UK head coach John Calipari is unsure how many post players he will play at any given time, as he juggles numerous lineup combinations in the early season.
He will tinker with a twin-tower lineup with both freshmen forwards Willie Cauley-Stein and Nerlens Noel together, and he will try freshman forward Alex Poythress at both 3 and 4.
One player will be a constant, however.
Freshman Archie Goodwin will be a major part of every lineup combination, due to his relentless pursuit of the front of the rim — either scoring the ball or distributing to his open teammates.
Calipari used 16 different lineups Thursday in the 93-61 exhibition win over Northwood.
Goodwin was there through all of it, with a team-leading 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting.
He hit one of his two 3-point attempts and was 7-of-8 from the free-throw line.
“He is a good player. I like the fact that he was seven out of 12 (from the field),” Calipari said. “He makes his free throws.”
He tied sophomore Ryan Harrow with five assists, while playing the most minutes (30).
Goodwin spent time against Northwood playing both the point and off-guard positions.
“I feel comfortable at both positions,” Goodwin said. “I know at the point guard position you have to change speeds, and you have to look to get the big men involved.”
Goodwin also committed five turnovers, all in the first half.
“But the issue becomes he gets so out of control. You can play fast, but don’t be in a hurry,” Calipari said. “When he plays fast, he hurries. There is stuff he is still learning — I am all over him.”
Despite the opportunities for improvement, Goodwin seems like a player absolutely built for Calipari’s dribble-drive offense.
Goodwin attacked the rim repeatedly Thursday, seemingly penetrating deep into the lane whenever he wanted.
That aggression led to scoring opportunities for both Goodwin and his teammates.
“I try to find different angles to score or try to throw the lob to Nerlens, Willie or whoever is down there,” Goodwin said. “Sometimes I am looking to come to a jump stop to kick it to Julius, Kyle or another knock-down shooter from the outside.”
Far from satisfied and exhausted from yelling at his team all night, Calipari had one final admission.
“We were better than I thought we would be,” Calipari said. “But we’re way away from where we need to be.”
The same can be said for Goodwin.