LEXINGTON — Archie Goodwin is part of another Kentucky recruiting class that will be ranked among the very best in the nation, but he said one more player might make it truly great.
That one player, however, would have to the one player everyone wants: the No. 1 player in the class of 2012, Shabazz Muhammad.
Goodwin, the first comittment among the three players who have already signed with Kentucky, said recently that he thinks coach John Calipari’s work would be complete if he could land Muhammad, the 6-6 forward who is at the top of virtually every list of the nation’s top high school seniors.
“I feel he wants one more player, the No. 1 player in the nation, Shabazz,” Goodwin said with a grin. “So if we get him, I think it’ll pretty much be a wrap for the class.”
When he came to Lexington with his Sherwood (Ark.) Sylvan Hills team for a game Saturday at Lexington Catholic, Goodwin made no bones about the fact that he’d love to have Muhammad join him and fellow signees Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley on the UK campus this summer.
“I could see myself playing with him,” Goodwin said.
Muhammad, a Las Vegas native, has made two visits to Kentucky — including a trip to Big Blue Madness last fall — and is considering the Wildcats along with Duke, Kansas, UCLA and UNLV.
Goodwin said he’s doing his part to convince Muhammad to come to Kentucky — without doing any arm-twisting.
“It’s just one of those things where I’d love for him to come, and if he wants to come, i’ll tell him to do it. But at the same time, I don’t want to persuade someone to do something that they’re not comfortable with doing,” Goodwin said. “That’s why I let family members and coaches take care of that. Me being a recruiter is not what I’m doing. I’m a basketball player right now.
“But if he was to tell me he wanted to come here, then I won’t be like, ‘Do what you want to do.’ I’ll be like, ‘Yeah, come on, let’s go.’ I’ll say that. But if he says, ‘I don’t know right now,’ I might throw out, like, ‘UK is a good place for you,’ but I wouldn’t try to force him to come here, because that might not be what he wants to do.”
Poythress, whose Clarksville (Tenn.) Northeast team also played in Lexington on Saturday, said he has no problem playing the role of recruiter, and he said he has been doing exactly that since signing committing to Kentucky.
“I am doing a little recruiting here and there, but if they come here, they come here. It’s their choice,” Poythress said.
And just who has Poythress been recruiting?
“Yeah, I can’t tell you that,” he said with a smile.
Goodwin said he has talked often with Muhammad.
“We talk a lot, but he’s a very busy guy just like I’m a busy guy, so sometimes we don’t (get) to talk as much. But when we do talk, we’ll talk for, like, 30 minutes or so,” Goodwin said.
Goodwin said he and Poythress have also become fast friends since establishing a relationship through the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League.
“We were pretty cool after that, and we got to talking about a lot of stuff,” he said.
Poythress said he looked forward to another chance to spend time with Goodwin after their teams’ games Saturday, as both of their teams were staying at the same hotel, but he said their conversations weren’t all about basketball and Kentucky.
“We’re just talking about normal stuff,” he said. “We talk about UK a little bit.”
Goodwin said he was glad to get the chance to see Poythress play this weekend.
“I’ve been waiting to watch him play since (the Nike Global Hoop Challenge last summer),” Goodwin said. “We have a really good relationship. We talk every now and then, just catching up on how he’s doing with his season, how his familys doing and things like that
Many of the current Wildcats came to Lexington Catholic on Saturday for Goodwin’s game.
“Those guys are very supportive, too,” Goodwin said. “I know a couple of them through AAU when I played when I was younger. They came to see me play, and that’s just the love that you get from players up here.”
Goodwin said forward Terrence Jones is probably his best friend on the current Kentucky team.
“Me and ‘TJ’ are pretty cool. We talk outside of me just being here,” Goodwin said. “He texts me every now and then, or I text him, just talking about regular, everyday things.”
Poythress said he also occasionally hears from some of the current UK players.
“I talk to some of them occasionally, but I mostly talk to recruits like Archie and Willie,” he said.