Many media types rolled their eyes at the crazily colored uniforms the football teams of Georgia and Maryland wore last weekend.
Most of us long ago put away our East Bay catalogs. We can’t imagine trying to wear something hatched in a shroom-induced nightmare shared by Phil Knight and the Mad Hatter:
But if you get into the mind of a teenager, these uniforms can seem pretty sweet. Brand names, color, design – all this stuff can really matter when you’re a recruit in an increasingly image-saturated sports culture.
That’s something I had to remind myself when talking with high school senior Archie Goodwin, one of the nation’s most highly sought basketball recruits. Goodwin, of course, recently narrowed his list to Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis and Connecticut.
But I was most interested in the reasons he eliminated other top schools from consideration. Such reasons, after all, may provide insight into Goodwin’s priorities when assessing schools, and give clues to his eventual choice.
Here’s the breakdown:
Texas – “I did away with Texas simply because I didn’t feel like my relationship was strong enough with Coach Barnes. I can see myself playing for Texas but I didn’t feel comfortable with him as my coach.”
Missouri – “I talked to the assistant coaches all the time. Coach Tim Fuller is one of the coolest assistant coaches I’ve ever known, but as far as the head coach, I really didn’t know his name. I couldn’t tell you the head coach’s name. He talked to me on the phone, but Tim was the one that mostly called.”
Baylor – “Coach Scott Drew is a great guy. I love Coach Drew. They were one of the first schools that were recruiting me. But I didn’t like that they were an adidas team, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t go to Kansas because Kansas is a great team. I can look over the adidas thing – I own some adidas stuff. [Goodwin played recent summers with the Arkansas Wings Elite team, which is sponsored by Nike] I didn’t like their colors, either. I don’t like green and gold. That’s ugly …. When you got ugly colors like that, you gotta be Nike. …. Baylor has some ugly shoes, too.”
“On top of that, the one assistant coach I did really know – Coach Morefield, he moved on to doing something in the NBA so once they lost him I didn’t feel too comfortable with any other assistants on their team.”
“And then, I don’t like it that they play a 2-3 zone. I would rather play man[-to-man defense] than zone because you don’t play zone in the NBA. It’s 95% man.”
Check out of full Sync magazine interview here
POSTSCRIPT, ADDED ON 9/10
I have read a lot of comments on multiple sites, especially Yahoo Rivals, attacking Goodwin as a person for the above statements. Most of the people making these nasty attacks seem to believe the only reason Goodwin chose to eliminate Baylor from contention was aesthetic concerns. This is obviously false, since he gave other reasons. It’s unfortunate that his comments were stripped from their original context on this blog, but I also understand that is an inherent risk with anything written online for public consumption.
My job isn’t to be an apologist, or promoter, for Goodwin. It’s simply to serve as a way for him to tell the world about the life of a modern elite college recruit. He’s done that, and done it well, for six Sync player’s diaries now.
People who take the time to read these diaries, or listen to other Goodwin interviews online, will quickly realize he’s a personable, intelligent teenager. But he’s a teenager. In the spring, he was watching “SpongeBob” and “Fairly Odd Parents”. He likes to goof around. And yeah, he likes some colors and shoe styles over others.
Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, even those spewing ill-informed garbage all over major outlets’ comment sections. It’s a lot easier, after all, to form opinions without first going through the trouble of getting correct context and proper background information.
But it takes curiosity and intelligence to even understand when such effort is necessary.
The Yahoo Rivals comment section shows those qualities are absent in a disturbingly large number of people.