Archie Goodwin - The Cronkite School

Several students from ASU's Cronckite School visited Suns practice recently to hone their skills. The following is one of the articles produced by the students.

Archie Goodwin is the second-youngest player in the NBA, but from the moment he was drafted 29th overall by the Phoenix Suns in April, he’s handled himself as a longtime vet.

The rookie shooting guard from Kentucky impressed throughout training camp and the preseason, partly due to his play, but also on his approach to learning the game and adjusting to his career as a professional basketball player.

“For guys in the NBA, experience really helps,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. “They know all the little tricks, when to push off. They know all the reads. Archie’s a young kid, he’s come in and what’s impressed us is he’s trying to learn all those things.”

Goodwin, who turned 19 in August, said his time at Kentucky with coach John Calipari, known for grooming NBA prospects, was helpful with his transition to the NBA.

“He teaches you a lot of little things that are necessary for this level, so he definitely helps out a lot more than probably another coach would,” Goodwin said.

“Just mentally being prepared for anything at this level. Anything can be thrown your way, you just have to be ready for it, for whatever obstacles come your way.”

Goodwin has attached himself to guard Eric Bledsoe, who also played at Kentucky. Bledsoe has a similar style of play to Goodwin and learned under All-NBA point guard Chris Paul in Los Angeles, so he’s served as a good mentor for Goodwin.

“[Goodwin] sits on the plane with him and watches tape when Eric watches it,” Hornacek said. “Eric’s obviously learned from Chris Paul a great deal, and Archie’s trying to learn what Eric’s learned from him.”

While there are many little things Bledsoe has been teaching Goodwin, improving on passing has been the priority heading into the season.

“You know, me being a scorer, that’s going to open up a lot of passing lanes for me,” Goodwin said. “I just have to be aware of where they are, and that’s why I look to him to help me, because he’s a point guard so he knows what all to look for.”

While Goodwin was using the preseason as a learning experience, he was also competing for a roster spot and playing time. With his place on the roster locked up for Wednesday’s opener, Goodwin now is working to earn minutes.

He shouldn’t lack for motivation; it is clear Goodwin has a chip on his shoulder from his slide to the end of the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft.

Goodwin averaged 14.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists in his one season at Kentucky, but the team failed to meet preseason expectations and Goodwin felt that affected his draft stock unfairly.

“I know I feel like I definitely slid, just because of the way our season went,” Goodwin said. “If I would’ve averaged those same numbers on a winning team, I would’ve gone higher. No question about it.”

Though he wasn’t a lottery pick like he may have hoped, the Suns saw something in Goodwin and they traded back into the first round to get him. Both parties are happy it worked out.

“I really like it here,” Goodwin said. “The fan base is going to continue to grow. It’s a really laid back city, relaxed, and it’s somewhere I can really see myself fitting in.”