Archie Goodwin is a 25 year old 196cm guard from Arkansas that finished his 6th professional season and first in Germany with ratiopharm Ulm after having started the season in Turkey with Sigortam.net ITU Basket Istanbul (Turkey-TBL). He played a year at Kentucky (NCAA) and then got drafted by the Oklahoma Thunder in the first round at #29. He played in the NBA from 2013-2017 playing a total of 165 games for the Phoenix Suns, New Orleans pelicans and Brooklyn Nets. His best season was his last one with Phoenix where he played 57 games averaging 8.9ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 23.2%, FT: 67.4%. He also played briefly in China. He spoke to germanhoops.com during the season ending BBL tournament in Munich.
Archie thanks for talking with germanhoops.com. What kind of experience has it been for you playing the BBL tournament? Has the whole atmosphere in the hotel living with other players remind you of your days at Kentucky?
It seems like that a little bit. It reminds me most of summer basketball back during AAU. I have been enjoying the tournament.
Having you had any talks with ex NBA player Jordan Crawford a guy you battled against in the NBA on enough occasions. Is he a guy you feel you could get closer to in Munich?
I saw Jordan for the first time today and shook his hand. He is a great player. I don’t know if I could develop a close relationship with him here in the short amount of time. But he is definitely a cool dude. I’m here more to do my thing and win games.
Before we get back to the BBL tournament talk a little about how you experienced COVID-19 the last months? Did you remain in Germany or head back to the States?
I went back home. I stayed in Germany 1-2 weeks after the season was canceled. But then after having discussions with the Ulm staff and my family, I decided it would be best to go home. It was a good time to go home and spend time with my family. I also worked out on a regular basis. I’m from Arkansas and the restrictions weren’t that bad there. Arkansas isn’t so big and only certain parts had curfews. I got around and could do what I wanted.
There has been so much suffering, disappointment and sadness all over the world. On top of that so much drama going on in the States with politics and the senseless George Floyd murder. What have you learned during these tough times that has made you stronger as a person?
I don’t think that there has anything that made me stronger, but more that I have become more aware that the world has become aware of the race problem. I like that all kinds of races feel strongly about the topic. People understand that it isn’t only a black problem, but a world problem. I think that with so many protests in the world, the race topic has been put more on display. The other day when we were driving to the arena, I saw ‘Black lives matter’ spray painted on a wall. That impressed me. This shows that the whole issue has been an eye opener not only at home, but in the world. The senseless murder of George Floyd could have prevented. I hope that in the future that more people will step up especially law enforcement people to have the courage and speak up.
Ratiopharm Ulm are playing great basketball in Munich and have a perfect 3-0 record. Has there slowly been loose banter about the chances of the club winning it all or are you guys going game by game?
We are taking it game by game. At the moment we are playing very well together. The two new players Dylan and Thomas and everyone else have meshed together well. We have to continue to stay in the moment and play together. Important for our success has been that nobody has relied on one player, but everyone is doing what they are good at. We are clicking now.
What is so special about the Ulm team? It sems like despite the deep rotation every team knows it’s role and everyone is contributing. Can you elaborate a bit more on that.
We all have different duties on offense and defense, but everyone is combining what they do well and it’s been working for us. Our formula is to play hard and be focused in each game.
How cool has it been having an ex Kentucky Wild Cat on the team with Derek Willis who was a freshman the year you were a rookie in the NBA. Have you had any discussions about the Kentucky days or have you been fully concentrated on the tournament?
We have talked sometimes about Kentucky, but the past is the past and we are locked in the moment. Derek is a great guy. I have gotten to know him well in my time here. He is a great teammate. I enjoy playing with him.
What kind of experience has it been being teammates with Ulm lifer and BBL in the making legend Per Guenther? His statement about paying the first 10,000 Euro for player protests must have impressed you, but what about his ability to put his ego to the side and accept his more limited role something he has done for years now?
Per is one of the best teammates that I have ever played with. I respect that he is selfless and his great leadership skills. He is a great vocal leader, hard worker and has team first. You don’t see many guys like that. He is a genuine dude and great person. My teammates have really appreciated his gesture about the 10,000 Euro.
That attitude of Per Guenther is something that you also have. You came to Ulm and never let out that NBA player and have accepted every other player, playing your role and not displaying an ego that will get on the nerves of all. Who has been most responsible for shaping your character?
I think it goes back to my parents, step dad and uncle. These 4 people did a great job raising me. They taught me to stay humble and respect others. I also have learned that I’m blessed to be able to play the game and remember that none of this would have been possible without God. I also have learned that you can never be too high or too low. Everything can be gone at the snap of the finger. I just try to be the best teammate possible and help the team win no matter what my role is.
You began the season with Sigortam.net ITU Basket Istanbul (Turkey-TBL) playing 17 games averaging averaging 17.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.5apg, 1.9spg, 2FGP: 52.2%, 3FGP: 36.6%, FT: 64.2%. What was your wake up call to being in Turkey where you knew that you were very far away from home?
Being away from my son. It was so tough going to Turkey. It all happened so fast that I couldn’t get him a passport. That really hit home for me. I had been used to be away from home since high school, but this was different. At the end of the day I have to play to give my family a better life.
Two seasons ago you played briefly with Zhejiang Chouzhou (China-CBA). What kind of experience was that for you. Do you feel like if you had another chance to play there, you could average 30,0ppg with the scoring talent that you possess?
China wasn’t the best situation for me. I wasn’t patient during the process. I put myself in a bad situation, because I listened to the wrong people. They put me in a bad situation and no matter what I would have done, I wouldn’t have succeeded. I feel that If I were to get another chance and be put in a good situation that I could average 30 points per game.
You then finished the season with the Maine Red Claws (NBA G League) averaging 17.5ppg, 5.3rpg, 4.0apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 24.5%, FT: 63.6%. It was your second season away from the NBA. How much of a topic and focus is the NBA today after 3 years away?
My goal has always been to get back to the NBA. This season I felt that my best option to get back to the NBA was to come to Europe. I’m not big on social media, but the people close to me know that I always want to get back to the NBA. I have learned that I can’t be a slave and take a bad deal or miss out on better money in another country. The G-league is closer to the NBA, but that doesn’t mean that it is the best opportunity to get back to the NBA. I wanted to take a step away and explore Europe and see what presents itself.
Is a guy like your ex teammate PJ Tucker a sort of role model for you? A guy who began in the NBA, went to Europe and returned back to the NBA and never left again.
To be honest I have thought about PJ’s story a lot in the last year. I knew that he had been in Europe before he came back to the NBA. He was in his second year with Phoenix when I was a rookie. I use his story as a motivation for me. I saw the hard work that he put in every day. I could see myself fulfilling a defensive role the way he did. I could see myself getting back to the NBA being that energetic player that can defend many positions and be that spark plug.
In the 2017-2018 season you began with the Portland Trail Blazers (NBA) and then played with the Greensboro Swarm (NBA G League) averaging 17.6ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.3apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 42.5%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 76.8%, and also played with the Northern Arizona Suns (NBA G League) averaging 19.4ppg, 6.3rpg, 3.1apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 60.4%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 68.7%. Did you ever feel like you were close to an NBA call up that season?
I felt that I had deserved an NBA call up that season. I remember an article coming out at that time that said that I had the highest field goal % in the paint in the last 20 years. I had my first real wake up call seeing that just because you play good doesn’t mean that you will get a call up. It is true that many guys put up big numbers in the G-League, but also taking many shots. I proved that season that I could put up big numbers efficiently. I feel being efficient and selfless can translate to any NBA team.
After 3 years in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns, you played the 2016-2017 season in the G-League and NBA with the Pelicans and Nets. How tough was this season bouncing around? Did you have different expectations after leaving the Suns?
That was a tough season for me. I was 21 years old and young. I never expected a season like that especially after improving every year with the Suns. I learned a lot about myself that season and also matured. I kept quiet that season and didn’t talk much about it. I got rewarded at the end getting the Brooklyn call up. That was huge for me. I had a great time with the Nets. Since then God hasn’t had the NBA in my plans. I will continue to work hard to get back to the NBA. I know that I’m a NBA player.
How cool was it being teammates with Randy Foye at Brooklyn at the end of his career? What did it mean being teammates with him?
Randy was a hilarious guy. He was a great vet. He was a guy that when he talked everyone listened. Everyone felt his presence and he knew about the ins and outs on the court and about the business side. He was a great leader and a guy you could always ask questions. We didn’t really have many 1-1 talks. He is a family guy and spent most time with his family. In the locker room he would give the young guys tips about the NBA. He was a great vocal leader.
You played 3 seasons with the Phoenix Suns. You played with some great guys like Emeka Okafor or Channing Frye. How do you remember this time and what were your fondest moments?
Emeka was signed, but never played. Channing Frye was a lot like Randy Foye in that he had also been around for a long time in the league. He knew so much and never hesitated to give advice. I never felt like I couldn’t ask him a question. He talked a lot. I remember him giving me advice on the bench. When I was frustrated coming out of the game, he always kept my head up telling me not to worry and stay focused and telling me I was doing good things.
Your most productive season was in 2015-2016 where you averaged 8,9ppg with the Suns. In that season Devin Booker was a rookie. Do you feel like your Suns career may have continued after that had a Booker not come?
No my leaving after 3 years had nothing to do with him. When he came on board there was a phase where I started like 10-12 games and was productive. I played the 1 and Devin played the 2. I felt that if we could of remained playing together that the organization would have moved forward more. Me as a slasher that can get to the rim and he a pure scorer, we really complimented each other. In todays game, you need a PG who can score. I’m a big guard that can defend. I wish that the organization would have given us more time. We weren’t winning right away, but we lost a few close games while we were meshing well together. We weren’t winning then, because we were so young. I remember Devin telling me that it had been a fun stretch playing with me.
You didn’t play against Kobe Bryant in his farewell season, but played against him in the 2014-2015 season scoring 10 points in a 119-99 Suns win while he poured in 31 points. Is this one of those games that you will always remember?
I would of remembered that game anyway. Kobe and MJ were my big idol’s growing up. I am very happy that I had had the opportunity to have some conversations with him. The first time I talked to him, I told him how much he touched my life even though he didn’t know me. I really appreciated his greatness. I remember the 2008-2009 season. I would come home and watch each of his games that were on ESPN or TNT. I didn’t miss a game. I really respected his dedication to the game, attention to detail and passion. This is something that I idolized. I just had to tell him.
What was the best example for you during your NBA days that the league was a business first where money is always above a player’s feelings ?
The guys that get paid the most are going to play the most. That is the business side. I think that there are better players in the league that get paid less and play less. There isn’t anything that you can do about it. You just have to remain positive and keep working hard. You can only control how hard you work, being a good teammate and having a good attitude. The NBA is all about timing and the perfect situation that has given many guys the perfect career.
You played one season at Kentucky (NCAA). What kind of experience was it gaining NCAA experience for such a great school?
I was a great opportunity. Our season was derailed by injuries though. A blow was losing Nerlens Noel. We had our ups and downs. I learned a lot about myself and the game. It took a lot of courage to go to the NBA after my freshman year. I got a lot of backlash from the Kentucky fans. I bet on myself and was drafted in the first round. I did what I could and had my name called by David Stern (R.I.P). I had great teammates and a great coaching staff at Kentucky. I have no complaints.
Was the Robert Morris NCAA tournament loss one of the toughest in your career that you had to digest?
When we found out we were going to the NIT instead of the NCAA tournament our hearts dropped. It was crazy that we didn’t make the tournament considering there were schools that got in and had a worse record than us. Going in to the NIT we were mentally out of it. It was a tough loss to Robert Morris. I have to give them credit for playing a good game.
How did head coach John Calipari groom and prepare you best for a professional career at Kentucky?
He was very tough on me and helped me a lot. Once your in the NBA, it’s all about doing the little things. You have to be coachable and get it in the first try. If not you get replaced by the next guy. When your young, you make more mistakes. So you have to limit your mistakes, because a 10 year veteran won’t make those mistakes. He also taught me to be able to play with my teammates.
Who was the toughest player you battled against Kentucky that made the NBA?
Jordan McRae. He was a very tough player that was a natural scorer.
Please list your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Locker room: Per Guenther, Tyson Chandler, Damian Lillard, Eric Bledsoe, PJ Tucker and Jared Dudley
Skill wise: Devin Booker, Eric Bledsoe, Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, TJ Warren (cold blooded, not enough recognition)
Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore. Which 4 heads would you pick past or present?
Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James
What was the last movie that you saw?
I don’t really watch many movies. I try to spend as much time with my family.
Thanks Archie for the chat.