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Goodwin signs with Suns

Last Wednesday, a dream was realized.

Former Sylvan Hills guard Archie Goodwin was drafted in the first round of the NBA draft after spending one year with the Kentucky Wildcats.

Goodwin will play for the Phoenix Suns who acquired his rights after Golden State drafted him with the 29th overall pick in the first round.

His 14.1 points per game at Kentucky aren’t eye-popping. Neither could be said of his 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per contest, but Goodwin is drawing comparisons to a pair of solid NBA stars and has been mentioned by ESPN as a steal of the draft for the Suns.

ESPN draft analyst Ryan Feldman drew comparisons to Tyreke Evans of Sacramento and Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City. All play Goodwin’s projected position in the NBA and posted similar statistical numbers in their final year of college basketball.

“There are a lot of similarities between Goodwin and Evans. Comparing their freshman numbers, Goodwin was the more efficient scorer on isolation and pick-and-roll plays and overall against man defense” Feldman wrote.

Westbrook was also drafted fourth overall in 2008. His numbers as a sophomore at UCLA were comparable to Goodwin’s at Kentucky. Westbrook averaged 12.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.

Neither Westbrook nor Goodwin had overwhelming statistics or looked like a sure-fire lottery pick. But the Seattle SuperSonics liked Westbrook’s upside and gambled on him with the No. 4 pick, a gamble that paid dividends. Teams could take a similar gamble on Goodwin (perhaps not as high as fourth overall).

Goodwin’s high school coach, Sylvan Hills’ Kevin Davis said Goodwin would likely be a success at the pro level, and that Goodwin’s game is well suited in the league and that what America saw from him at Kentucky wasn’t everything that Goodwin could do.

“I think the style of play handicapped Archie,” Davis said.

Being on the floor with a pair of 7-footers forced Goodwin to adjust his game to suit a more half-court style, a style that Davis said didn’t suit him.

“He is the best open floor player I’ve ever seen, Davis said. “If a fast NBA team gets him, then he could be the sleeper of the draft.”

Phoenix has had a reputation of being that type of fast team going back to the days of current Los Angeles Lakers’ coach Mike D’Antoni.

Goodwin has always been labeled a star. That star shined a little brighter on Wednesday when Archie’s dream came true.

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