No Mere Mortal

Sylvan Hills junior guard Archie Goodwin, a five-star prospect that Arkansas and nearly every program in the country would love to sign, took his talents to Alma Tuesday and poured in 31 points to lead the Bears past CAC 73-50 in the Class 5A state tourney.

ALMA – In the early seconds of the third quarter Tuesday afternoon at the Class 5A state tournament, Archie Goodwin decided to separate himself from the mere mortals that were on the basketball court with him.

Goodwin – a 6-5, 180-pound junior guard who is the state's most highly regarded and recruited player in over a decade - ripped off 15 of his game-high 31 points in that time frame to lead Sylvan Hills over Central Arkansas Christian 73-50.

Goodwin, a 5-star prospect and the 18th best player in the country per, has over 40 scholarship offers.

Averaging 30 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists this season, Goodwin had a rather pedestrian first half with just 10 points before exploding right after intermission.

"I just wanted to give my team a lift," Goodwin said. "We got off to a slow start, well actually it was a strong start, but then we got sluggish. I felt like I had to step it up big and get us a lead we could be comfortable with in this game."

His performance was nothing new for Sylvan Hills head coach Kevin Davis, whose team advances to play Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. in a quarterfinal round game at Charles B. Dyer Arena.

"That's Archie Goodwin," Davis said. "He has done that quite a few times for us this year. He plays the game and you think he is probably somewhere about 18 to 20 points and he's in the 30s."

Goodwin thinks his team – which doesn't have any senior starters - has a chance to make it to the state title game next weekend in Hot Springs.

"I definitely think we can get to Hot Springs," Goodwin said. "We have a special team this year, we all work hard, we all play together and no one is looking to get more time than the other. We are just playing hard and I think that is a good component to go to Hot Springs."

Whether the Bears make it to the Spa City title tilt or the season ends in Alma, Goodwin will have some news soon after his high school season is over.

He'll be whittling that 40-plus offer list down to a manageable number.

"By the end of the state tournament I will narrow it down to 10," Goodwin said. "Then I will go down to five and go from there."

Goodwin plans to take official visits to his final five and currently intends to sign in the spring of 2012 and not the November 2011 early period.

Two names almost certain to be on that list are Arkansas and Kentucky, a pair of squads he was on hand to see play in Fayetteville last week. The Razorbacks edged the Wildcats 77-76 in overtime at Bud Walton Arena.

"I loved the environment," Goodwin said. "Both teams did good and played their heart out. Arkansas came out with a win, a big win that is going to help them in the future whether they go NIT or NCAA. That was a big win for them, a good environment and the fans were there supporting them, the coaching staff did great – everything was great about it."

He's heard the speculation that Arkansas will not be a finalist for his signature, but disputes that.

"I am from here, I have been up there a couple of times, I love the environment, I love the facility and the campus, the city – I love everything about Arkansas," Goodwin said. "They are always going to be there in the long run."

Goodwin, an Arkansas Wings AAU teammate of Razorback 2011 signees Aaron Ross, Hunter Mickelson and Rashad Madden, has already taken a plethora of unofficial visits.

"I have been to Arkansas, Kentucky, Baylor, Memphis, Tennessee and I went to Kansas, but didn't get to visit them because I was just up there strictly training," Goodwin said.

Goodwin and his teammates have certainly got used to playing with head coaches in the stands as Arkansas' John Pelphrey, Missouri's Mike Anderson, North Carolina's Roy Williams, Kentucky's John Calipari, Kansas' Bill Self and Memphis' Josh Pastner are among those who have watched his high school games this season.

"It is amazing how he has handled it and I give his parents and his family so much credit," Davis said. "We knew coming in what we were going to be up against with all the attention. I tried to put our staff on guard and everybody on guard and try to help Archie because you have got to stay humble in those situations. He has done an amazing job. He saw some of those guys in the summer and they have been coming in since September."

The coaches and players are now comfortable with the attention.

"Eventually you get accustomed to seeing those guys on a regular basis," Davis said. "Archie and the other guys have just been amazing on how they have handled it."

Those coaches have seen a player who lets the game come to him.

"If you look at all the great players, Michael Jordan, Kobe, LeBron, D-Wade, they all let the game come to them," Goodwin said. "The ones that rush it, those are the ones that aren't consistent and they don't have good games every time out. If you speed up, you will get out of sync.

"I just try to keep that in mind and I think about it every game before I go into it," Goodwin said. "I let the game come to me and not try to force it."

Davis was asked what Goodwin could do to improve his game.

"Boy, that's a tough question – wow," Davis said. "I don't think you can pinpoint any one thing that Archie needs to improve on. You can say maybe his outside shooting, but he has worked so hard that it is coming on so well. That is how Archie is. That kid is a worker."

Goodwin says it's about getting better at every facet of the game.

"I just want to get stronger and get better at the mental aspect of the game," Goodwin said. "I want to make sure I keep getting my teammates involved, work on my dribbling, just make sure I get everything better and better every game, so improvement in everything."

Archie Goodwin

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