Seeking Future Razorbacks
Now that he has secured the 2011 Razorback hoops signing class with numerous visits, new Arkansas basketball coach Mike Anderson and his staff have moved full speed onto 2012 and 2013.
The Razorbacks coaches were out on the road this week – three at a time – for the last opportunity to see prospects work out until July.
They made sure to see 2012 prospects such as Memphis Central center Jarnell Stokes (6-9, 250) – the Real Deal in the Rock MVP - Clarksville (TN) Northeast combo forward Alex Poythress (6-8, 215) and Thomasville (GA) center Robert Carter (6-9, 245), two others who also shined at the event.
They also stopped by to see 2013 guys like Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian power forward Julius Randle (6-8, 235) – that class' top-ranked performer - Little Rock Hall center Bobby Portis (6-9, 220) and Raytown (MO) forward Ishmael Wainwright (6-5, 200).
One player Arkansas actually couldn't go see was Sylvan Hills standout Archie Goodwin (6-5, 180), the state's best 2012 hoops prospect, a consensus top 25 player nationally and just named Mr. Basketball in Arkansas by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
The former staff – to its credit - had used up all the visit days on Goodwin, who Anderson and his staff had also been full boar after while at Missouri.
Goodwin, with over 50 offers now, has good things to say about the Razorbacks' hire of Anderson and notes the chances of him landing in Fayetteville increased because of the change.
"Even though (former Razorback) Coach (John) Pelphrey left and I think he was a great coach, they brought in a coach who was here when Arkansas won the (1994) national championship and got to the final the next year," Goodwin said. "They brought back a guy who knows how to win. He's been to the NCAA tournament multiple times, knows how to get you there and knows how to win once he gets there."
Goodwin is well aware that Anderson had a big hand in the 1994 title and the 1995 return to the championship game as a Razorback assistant coach.
"This is going to be huge for Arkansas, having a coach like Mike Anderson there," Goodwin said. "He runs a great offense and a great defense and I think you will see improvement right away and that has me really interested in playing for him."
Goodwin is likely to play this spring, summer and the 2011-2012 high school season in a bad mood.
That's because Alma downed his Bears in the Class 5A state title game when Airedale and Oklahoma State football signee Isaac McCoy put on a virtuoso performance with 39 points and 20 rebounds.
All five Sylvan Hills starters will return for next season.
"That left a sour taste in my mouth and I still have it to this day," Goodwin said. "I think I will still have it until I win a championship. It is going to be something that is on my mind a lot. It is something that I will never forget about and will make me work harder in everything I do."
ESPN analyst Dave Telep has already seen evidence of that when he saw Goodwin play for the Arkansas Wings in the opening session of Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League in Virginia.
"Archie got off the plane, didn't have a good game and then got it together and started hooping," Telep said. "Archie is one of the most difficult guys to check in this class. The thing that separates him from the others is that he is a nasty guy. He's competitive and nasty – and I mean nasty in a good way. I like Arkansas a great deal."
The fact that Goodwin and a teammate were photographed during a non-contact time with Pelphrey – and the ensuing hubbub that followed with the picture being publicized – was probably a factor in the loss according to Wings coach Ron Crawford.
"He is going to be in the gym every day and he knew that state championship was their's to take," Crawford said. "I personally think that the picture in the newspaper was a distraction and that the defense of Alma did a great job."
The Wings were 2-3 in the opening weekend and will be back in action next weekend in the second EYBL session being held in Dallas.
The 38-team league will also have a session in Los Angeles May 27-30 with the championship set for the Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C. on July 12-15.
"I want to win the Peach Jam finals, at least get there and be on that stage," Goodwin said. "That's what I am all about – winning."
He also wants to make a jump in the national rankings to insure his selection to the 2012 McDonald's All-American game.
"I want to try and make my mark this summer and be one of the top 10 players in the nation," Goodwin said. "Playing in the McDonald's game is certainly something that I want to do," Goodwin said. "I would love to make it to that game because there hasn't been too many people to make it from Arkansas. I think if I make it, it might help some of our younger guys."
Goodwin had planned to announce a final 10 list of schools by this time, but has not been able to find enough free time to complete it.
"I pretty much have a short list, but it is not all the way done yet because I haven't had much time just to sit down and think about it," Goodwin said. "Every time I try, something happens and I have to be on the move. I have been so busy, but I am going to have to take time to get it done."
Goodwin had earlier said he would wait until the spring 2012 signing period to ink a letter-of-intent, but is hedging on that a bit at the present time.
"I don't know about that now," Goodwin said. "I am not going to make my decision this summer for sure. I am going to make it sometime during my senior year. I just want it to be the right fit."
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