Comparing Archie Goodwin to other Arkansans in McDonald’s All-America game

UPDATE: Goodwin had 14 points, 7-of-13 FGs, 0-of-2 from three, 3 rebounds, 1 TO, 3 steals in 18 minutes, according to Rivals.com. He started shakily, with a turnover off an errant pass while driving to the hoop, and soon afterward a missed dunk while losing a shoe – but he settled in nicely after that with consecutive dunks while flashing ability to cut to the hoop that stood out even in this hyper-talented crowd. Goodwin, Shabazz Muhammad and Rasheed Sulaimon led the West to a 106-102 victory. 

BTW, he finished second in the event’s dunk contest, serving up a behind-the-back special I’ve never seen before (at 34 seconds):

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hgmwx1ncv4I&w=560&h=315]

Tonight, Archie Goodwin becomes the sixth male Arkansan to play in the nation’s most prestigious prep basketball game for high school seniors.

Here are his predecessors since the game’s 1977 debut:

  • 1980 Rickey Norton (Okolona, Arkadelphia)
  • 1982 Willie Cutts (Bryant)
  • 1984 Andrew Lang (Pine Bluff)
  • 1992 Corliss Williamson (Russellville) Tallied 14 points and 10 rebounds in a 100-85 win for the West team.
  • 2007 James Anderson (Junction City) Had 5 points and 3 rebounds in 11 minutes for the West, which beat the East team 114-112.

Will Goodwin, who has thrived in these kind of national all-star settings, notch the best McDonald’s game ever by an Arkie?

The stats for the three Arkansans who played in the 1980s aren’t readily available. But, based on the game’s record book, it is likely Williamson has the best-ever designation heading until now. Goodwin could become the first Arkansan to score more than 21 points, dish more than seven assists, snare more than four steals, grab more than 11 rebounds, or block more than four shots in a McDonald’s all-star game.

Another interesting fact: before Anderson, every McD’s Arkie eventually played for the Razorbacks. Indeed,  overall 13 such All-Americans had at one time played for Arkansas including:

  • 1981 Joe Kleine
  • 1986 Ron Huery
  • 1988 Todd Day
  • 1988 Lee Mayberry
  • 1993 Darnell Robinson
  • 1994 Kareem Reid
  • 1995 Derek Hood
  • 1996 Glendon Alexander
  • 2003 Olu Famutimi

Goodwin is one of two Kentucky signees playing in this McD’s All-America game. The program had signed 40 before them.

Part 2 of Sacrificial Lions

The below post is the second part of this article. It starts by examining benefits enjoyed by programs advancing deep into the NCAA Tourney:

Silver linings

Schools that advance in the NCAA tournament do tend to become richer. George Mason University, a public school of more than 30,000 students based in Fairfax County, Virginia, had never won a tournament game before 2006.

But that March, it broke into the Final Four — and into the black. The school’s fundraising rose from $19.6 million to $23.5 million, and George Mason merchandise led bookstore sales to $800,000 in March 2006 alone. (Sales the previous year totaled $625,000.) A study cited in Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal estimates that print, internet, and game coverage — twenty-three hours of national television broadcast exposure — was converted into $677,474,659 worth of media exposure for George Mason.

UAPB didn’t go as deep into the tournament as George Mason, doesn’t have the same-sized network (it has more than 3,800 students and 1,400 paying members of its national alumni association), and is in a far poorer part of the country. (Devonshire Associates, Ltd. and Scan/U.S., Inc. estimated Pine Bluff’s 2009 median household income as $31,356.The U.S. Census Bureau pegged that stat in Fairfax County, Virginia, as $107,075 circa 2008.) Partly because vendors didn’t have time to market Golden Lion gear at tournament sites, there was “very little effect” in UAPB merchandise sales following the NCAAs, says John Kuykendall, UAPB’s director of alumni affairs and government relations.

The school didn’t see an influx of donations in the months after the tournament, either.
Margaret Martin-Hall, director of UABP’s office of university relations and development, says annual contributions have held steady between $1.7 million and $1.8 million for the last three or four years. However, she adds, she was pleased that donations didn’t decrease considering the recession. “Our money comes in thousands and hundreds, and some other places they come in millions,” Davis says. “Our people give what they are able to give.”

Still, the basketball program has seen tangible benefits. The school’s NCAA tournament ticket sales totaled $3,075, interim athletic director Willie Fulton writes in an e-mail. The conference distributed about $99,745 to UAPB as its cut of TV revenue, making the NCAA Tournament, and winning the SWAC championship. In the fall, a group of some 120 UAPB lettermen raised $10,000 for new equipment — including free weights, two stair steppers, and stationary bikes. Other amenities for the basketball team have included a new scoreboard and new practice gear. The tournament appearance also helps lure recruits.

Daniel Broughton didn’t have to go far. Before last spring, the Pine Bluff native, one of the team’s four freshmen, was considering his hometown school, the University of Central Arkansas, Southeastern Missouri, Drake University, and Murray State. Watching UAPB’s
first game of March Madness with fellow recruit Marcel Mosley of Marion turned him into a Golden Lion. “As they played Winthrop, me and Marcel were on the phone talking to each other and we were like ‘Well, we could both be going to that school’ … so we ended up signing.” Broughton says that 61-44 victory helped convince Keith Ross, his Watson Chapel High School
teammate, to sign with UAPB, too.

Grades

UAPB’s men’s basketball team had a twenty-nine percent graduation rate in 2009, according to NCAA records. That rate includes student-athletes who complete degree programs and receive diplomas within six years of enrollment as well as those who transfer to another school or turn professional while in good academic standing. That statistic was released nine days after UAPB’s loss to Duke in an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article which also highlighted UAPB’s failure to reach an academic progress rate of 925. That standard calculates a team’s eligibility based on players returning and maintaining good academic standing. UAPB scored 907, and failure to meet 925 for two consecutive years could result in a lost scholarship. After three years, the school may be banned from preseason and postseason play.

Continue reading Part 2 of Sacrificial Lions

Sacrificial Lions: The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s shot at Duke

Each March, another Cinderella has a go. This time, it was Lehigh and Norfolk State. But in 2010, it was Salavace Townsend and the rest of the UAPB Golden Lions. (courtesy Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

Credit spewed in multiple directions following No. 15-seeded Lehigh’s historic upset of No. 2-seeded Duke on Friday night, including backward. Lehigh had played No. 1-seeded Michigan State earlier this season, and its star guard C.J. McCollum credited that game (a 9-point loss) with toughening the team: “It helped a lot,” McCollum told the New York Times after beating Duke.“Early on, we were in some tough environments. That gave us confidence we could play with anybody in the country.”

This reasoning reminded me of UAPB’s surprising run in March 2010, when the No.16-seeded Golden Lions became the only men’s basketball in Arkansas to win an NCAA Tournament game the last four years. The reward for that win was a date No.1-seeded Duke in Jacksonville, Florida. UAPB didn’t exactly pull a Lehigh there.

But that doesn’t mean their story wasn’t historic in its own right, as the following Arkansas Life article (published in March 2011) shows:

“It was like UAPB was Tiger Woods for one week.”

“Schools like UAPB support a Sisyphean system in which early-season beatings are scheduled for the chance, if all goes well, to get whacked in the end.”

UAPB’s basketball team made an amazing tournament run a year ago, but its success reveals a Catch-22 when it comes to college athletics: Some teams have to lose to stay alive.

by Evin Demirel

For nearly a week last March, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff stood alone at the center of Arkansas’s sports world. Its men’s basketball team graced the front pages and led the 10 o’clock news in a way usually reserved for the almighty Arkansas Razorbacks. But as the only Division I Arkansas men’s team in March Madness — aka, the NCAA basketball tournament — the UAPB Golden Lions were the official feel-good story of the spring. They had flipped an 0-11 start into a 12-1 finish through hard work, defense, and pluck, riding such enduring virtues through a whirlwind tournament tour that didn’t stop until top seed and future national champion Duke decided that enough was enough. In the opening round of the tourney, the Dukies clobbered UAPB 73-44 in Jacksonville, Florida, but by then the story had sold.

The Golden Lions returned heroes, beloved by a city they had thrust into the national limelight for reasons otherthan chemical weapons, poverty, and unemployment. Long an also-ran on Best Places lists, Pine Bluff had something to be proud of — its nationally known basketball team. “It kind of felt like we were rock stars for a week and a half,” says Terrance Calvin, a senior guard on last year’s squad. “By the time we reached Dayton [site of a tournament game] I had probably had about a thousand friend requests on Facebook. … And by the time we reached Florida, I had another thousand.”

The good cheer spread.
“It excited everybody — the run that these young men made,” says Harold Blevins, a UAPB alumnus and former men’s basketball coach at the college. “It excited the city, it excited the state, it excited all the alumni. As an ex-coach you even had people calling me thinking I was still coaching” and asking for tickets. “I could not find a network that was not talking about UAPB,” an anonymous poster commented on a Pine Bluff Commercial online article. “It was like UAPB was Tiger Woods for 1 week(lol).” In the ensuing weeks, congratulatory messages flooded in from public officials like Congressman Mike Ross, state senator Henry Wilkins IV, and state representative Darrin Williams. Jefferson County Judge Mike Holcomb declared March 19 “Black and Gold Day” in honor of the team’s NCAA Tournament victory over Winthrop.

But UAPB’s breathtaking rise last season was bookended by other storylines, each limning dark shadows above which Arkansas’s Cinderella team bounded to the Big Dance. These trenchant issues are not exclusive to UAPB athletics; they extend to other public universities, down to primary education and through society itself.

Continue reading Sacrificial Lions: The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s shot at Duke

’92 Parkview vs. ’80 West Memphis vie for title of Greatest Prep Team in State History

This tower had a twin.

UPDATE: West Memphis wins with 67% of the vote

The people have had their say:  ’92 L.R. Parkview (Derek Fisher, Maurice Robinson) will tussle with ’80 West Memphis (Michael Cage, Keith Lee [pictured above]) for the title of best high school team in state history.

In the semifinals, 57% of participants chose ’92 L.R. Parkview over ’99 L.R. Central.

’80 West Memphis got 67% of the vote versus ’76 Conway.

With Parkview making it to the finals, this Readers’ Choice edition has already diverged  from the original SYNC magazine version, where ’99 Central clashed with West Memphis in the finals of this hypothetical tourney.

But the ball’s in your court, now. So, which juggernaut gets the all-time marbles?

[polldaddy poll=6034960]

1991-92 Little Rock Parkview
Final Record: 35-1 (injury sidelined starter James Lindsey in only loss, to Los Angeles team)
Stars: Dion Cross(6-2), Maurice Robinson(6-7 post), Derek Fisher (6-0)
Coach: Charles Ripley
Finished ranked #4 in nation, all five starters signed with Division I teams

1979-1980  West Memphis
Final Record: 30-0
Stars: Michael Cage (6-8), Keith Lee (6-9), Stanley Andrews (guard)
Coach: Bill Terwilliger
Ranked third in nation, completed another 30-0 record the next season despite losing Cage to graduation

Reader’s Choice All-time Semifinals: ’92 Parkview, ’80 West Memphis, ’99 Central, ’76 Conway

Once again, Fish is in it to win it. Photo courtesy of University of Arkansas at Little Rock

We’re down to the Final Four.

The all-time Arkansas prep basketball tourney field started with 12 teams, then shrank to eight teams. Here are the Reader’s Choice quarterfinal results:

71% of participants voted ’92 L.R. Parkview (Derek Fisher) would beat ’84 L.R. Hall (Allie Freeman)

’76 Conway (Austin Sullivan) 71% over ’04 West Memphis (Sonny Weems)

’80 West Memphis (Michael Cage) 71% over ’59 Scipio Jones (Eddie Miles)

’99 L.R. Central (Joe Johnson) 60% over ’74 Northside (Ron Brewer)

So, who makes the finals? Vote before Tuesday morning:

[polldaddy poll=6030684]

[polldaddy poll=6030690]

No one likes to cast votes willy-nilly. Be a responsible voter by reviewing these Final Four team briefs:

1991-92 Little Rock Parkview
Final Record: 35-1 (injury sidelined starter James Lindsey in only loss, to Los Angeles team)
Stars: Dion Cross(6-2), Maurice Robinson(6-7 post), Derek Fisher (6-0)
Coach: Charles Ripley
Finished ranked #4 in nation, all five starters signed with Division I teams

1998-99 Little Rock Central
Final Record: 29-3 (Joe Johnson sidelined during only in-state loss)
Stars: Joe Johnson (6-7 “point center”), Hart (6-3 forward), Mark Green (6-2 guard)
Coach: Oliver Fitzpatrick
Won four state tournament games by record-setting average of 43.5 points

1975-76 Conway
Final Record: 36-0
Stars: Lawson Pilgrim (6-5 forward), Austin Sullivan (5-9 guard), Herman Hammons (6-3 forward)
Coach: Joe Graham
Beat opponents by average of 24.6 points a game, closest margin was four points

1979-1980  West Memphis
Final Record: 30-0
Stars: Michael Cage (6-8), Keith Lee (6-9), Stanley Andrews (guard)
Coach: Bill Terwilliger
Ranked third in nation, completed another 30-0 record the next season despite losing Cage to graduation

For yet more detail, check out the SYNC magazine version of this post which involves different semifinal matchups. Here’s my take on what ’92 Parkview v. ’80 West Memphis would look like:

This one fills Verizon Arena to capacity 90 minutes before tip-off.
Parkview shoots well from the start, with Cross and Fisher combining for 25 points in the first half. On the other end, Parkview uses a tight zone to limit the damage of West Memphis’ twin towers, causing Coach Terwilliger to start popping Antacids.  Blue Devils’ sharpshooters Tim Harrell and Johnny Oliver initially struggle, but heat up to help West Memphis surge to a five-point lead with six minutes left. In the next  two minutes, Parkview’s death knell is rung when an exhausted Robinson and 6-5 teammate Jeff Hall foul out.

Go here to find out how this tourney ends

All-time Quarterfinals: Vote who wins Second Round Between the Best teams in State History

First blood is spilled, folks.

Your votes are in, and initial casualties of the Arkansas prep basketball tournament to end all tournaments are down. Here are the advancing teams:

1.  66.7% of participants voted ’04 West Memphis (Sonny Weems) would beat ’00 L.R. Fair (Kim Adams)

2. 86.7% ’99 L.R. Central (Joe Johnson) over ’54 Jonesboro (Don Riggs)

3. 60% ’59 Scipio Jones (Eddie Miles) over ’09 Fayetteville (Fred Gulley)

4. 55.6% ’84 Hall (Allie Freeman) beat ’75 L.R. Central (Robert Griffin)

(n.b. the seniors of that ’84 Hall team were the last Arkansas team to have as much success as Hall’s 2011-12 seniors, who on Friday night helped Hall win its fourth title in five years)

It’s now on to the second round, where the big boys who had received a first-round bye get into the action:

(1) 1979-1980  West Memphis
Final Record: 30-0
Stars: Michael Cage (6-8), Keith Lee (6-9), Stanley Andrews (guard)
Coach: Bill Terwilliger
Ranked third in nation, completed another 30-0 record the next season despite losing Cage to graduation

(2) 1973-74 Fort Smith Northside
Final Record: 30-0
Stars: Ron Brewer (6-4), Jon Raybon (6-1), Jerry Taylor (6-3)
Coach: Gayle Kaundart
In AAAA state finals, beat Hall (featuring Sidney Moncrief) 57-45; In overall state finals, beat Conway (featuring Marvin Delph) 37-32

(3) 1991-92 Little Rock Parkview
Final Record: 35-1 (injury sidelined starter James Lindsey in only loss, to Los Angeles team)
Stars: Dion Cross(6-2), Maurice Robinson(6-7 post), Derek Fisher (6-0)
Coach: Charles Ripley
Finished ranked #4 in nation, all five starters signed with Division I teams

(4) 1975-76 Conway
Final Record: 36-0
Stars: Lawson Pilgrim (6-5 forward), Austin Sullivan (5-9 guard), Herman Hammons (6-3 forward)
Coach: Joe Graham
Beat opponents by average of 24.6 points a game, closest margin was four points

Below are the quarterfinal matchups. If you missed the first round, check the bona fides of  lower-seeded teams here. Cast your votes by early Monday morning:

[polldaddy poll=6025054]

Boothead's not digging the Northside-Central speculation below.

[polldaddy poll=6025062]

[polldaddy poll=6025066]

[polldaddy poll=6025072]

If ’74 Northside really played ’99 Central, below is my take on what would happen, one of the many hypothetical game summaries from this week’s SYNC weekly:

Early on, Fort Smith’s physicality gives Central problems. Mickey Meimerstorf outmuscles Central’s Jarrett Hart and gets six points as the Grizzlies build a 28-24 halftime lead. In the second half, though, Fitzpatrick has Central concede inside position for better spacing around the perimeter. Johnson and Hart combine for four-of-six three-pointers as Jerry Taylor and Brewer still look uncomfortable defending post players so far from the basket. That flurry, along with ballhawking press led by sparkplug Tavoris Uzoigwe, allows the Tigers to build a 2-point lead with 15 seconds left. Brewer blows by Johnson for  a layup and foul, but misses his free throw. Raybon is called for a borderline foul on Mark Green with three seconds left. Green hits both to ice it.

Central wins 55-53.

Go here to see how this tourney ends

Previewing Fayetteville High before state championship game with LR Hall

UPDATE: Hall won 42-31

I made it out to Cabot last weekend to watch Fayetteville take on Fort Smith Southside in the Class 7A state semifinals. Like many CenArk fans I was eager to see the team which has held the #1 ranking in the Democrat-Gazette most of the year. I wasn’t disappointed with the  FHS Bulldogs. They were especially impressive in the third quarter, when they used a 28-13 run to fuel their eventual 76-54 win.

For starters, Fayetteville is big. Really big. And in this sport, that certainly matters. No team in the state can match FHS’ “triple towers” lineup of 6-10 Tyler McCullough, 6-8 Caleb Waitsman and 6-6 Malik Fields. Against Southside this lineup – whose bigs were in the 6-4 range – was absolutely devastating.

Exhibits A, B, C, D and E:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klgLLXSIHXg&w=560&h=315]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ujo2lnJUWNQ&w=560&h=315]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEOp8Pv41HU&w=560&h=315]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K-ZB1NNZPs&w=560&h=315]

McCullough would finish this game with 13 rebounds, 18 points and 21 instances of  Little Rock sportswriters  instinctively typing “Todd” as his first name.

Continue reading Previewing Fayetteville High before state championship game with LR Hall

Clash of the Titans: Vote who wins a Tourney Between the Best teams in State History


The Readers’ Choice Edition

  This weekend, Arkansas’ hoops cognoscenti will descend on Hot Springs for the state high school championships. There, in Summit Arena, teams from each corner of the state will vie for the right to be called the best in 2011-12. Every few years, though, a team is so strong that its on-court competition simply isn’t stout enough to give a serious challenge. When that happens, the team ends up battling history instead, as its coach and fans stake a claim to being the best in state history.

What would happen if the top prep teams in Arkansas history actually met on the court to decide once and for all who truly is the best of all-time? If guys like Derek Fisher, Ron Brewer and Joe Johnson were magically transported to their 17-year-old bodies, and once again wore Patriots, Grizzlies or Tigers gear? It would be like Field of Dreams, but indoors and without so much corn.

I wasn’t able to summon otherworldly powers to actually make this happen, but I did the next best thing: talked to coaches and journalists who saw most of these teams play. With their insight, I created a list of contenders for the title of an all-time hypothetical tourney.

As you’d expect, it’s required that each entry won a state title. Some older teams actually won a couple state titles in the same year. After winning the state tournament against similar-sized schools, the team then tackled the winners of other classifications in a now-defunct “overall” state tournament that ran 1972-1992.

For the sake of simplicity, all teams play under modern rules. This means some of the older teams who’ve never seen a three-point arc will have to figure out on the fly how to defend three-point shots, or get accustomed to seeing crossover dribbles that decades before would have been deemed traveling violations. Admittedly, this gives the modern teams an advantage over the older teams. Although I would counter those older player have a built-in stamina advantage, given many claim to have walked  to school uphill both ways.

I realize rule changes and differing styles of play make it extremely difficult to compare teams from different eras, but it’s better to have fun trying than never attempt at all.

You’ll likely disagree with some of my SYNC magazine picks [0307sportschart] for who who’d win different matchup in a single-elimination, all-time 8-team tournament. I welcome that debate. It’s all part of the fun.  But on this blog, I’m no longer playing God. It’s time you decide who would win in the first round of an all-time tournament among twelve of the state’s top teams. Below are the eight teams out of those top dozen which don’t get a first-round bye:

1958-59 Scipio A. Jones (North Little Rock)  
Final Record: N/A (3 losses, all to Pearl High, a Memphis powerhouse)
Stars: Eddie Miles (6-5), James Nash, Theodore Hines
Coach: Arthur Calvin
Seniors won  four consecutive all-black schools state titles; made finals of 1959 national tournament  for all-black schools, lost to Pearl High in triple-overtime

2008-09  Fayetteville
Final Record: 30-0
Stars: Fred Gulley (6-1 guard), Cable Hogue (6-7 forward), Taylor Cochran (6-2 guard)
Coach: Barry Gephart
Finished season ranked No.8 in nation by Sports Ilustrated

1953-54 Jonesboro
Final Record: 34-0
Stars: Larry Grisham (6-3 power forward), Ralph Childs (5-11 point guard), Don Riggs
Coach: Troy Bledsoe
Averaged 77 points in first three state tourney games, a state record at the time
1998-99 Little Rock Central
Final Record: 29-3 (Joe Johnson sidelined during only in-state loss)
Stars: Joe Johnson (6-7 “point center”), Hart (6-3 forward), Mark Green (6-2 guard)
Coach: Oliver Fitzpatrick
Won four state tournament games by record-setting average of 43.5 points
2003-04 West Memphis
Final Record: 27-2
Stars: Sonny Weems (6-6 forward), Des McCoy (6-5 forward), Mark Mangum (5-9 guard)
Coach: Larry Bray
Didn’t lose after Thanksgiving weekend, average margin of victory = 23.4

1999-00 Little Rock Fair
Final Record: 31-0
Stars: Kim Adams (6-7 center) Dameon Ashford (5-11 guard), Anthony Rogers
Coach: Charlie Johnson
Opponents averaged around 40 points a game, roster included 14 seniors

1983-84 Little Rock Hall
Final Record: 27-4
Stars: Tim Scott (6-3), Allie Freeman (6-2 guard)
Coach: Oliver Elders
Elders said this team, the last of four consecutive state title winners, was the best he ever had

1974-75 Little Rock Central
Final Record: 27-1
Stars: Robert Griffin (6-2 guard), Barry Clark (6-7 forward), Houston Nutt (6-2 guard)
Coach: Eddie Boone
Defeated Sidney Moncrief’s Hall High warriors en route to overall championship

Arkansas Rules the Dunk World

Today, Sonny Weems won a dunk contest in a top Lithuanian basketball league. The title is the latest in an unprecedented run of dunk spectacularity for the Natural State. It all started in late January in Pine Bluff:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xXdaKuxW0A&w=420&h=315] 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVVmOncDgLw&w=560&h=315]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuC_mD9jm58&w=560&h=315]