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January 7, 2012Lexington Catholic High School coach Brandon Salsman expects a sold-out crowd of about 3,000 fans packing into his school's gymnasium on Saturday night to watch his team.
But Salsman isn't expecting much of a home-court advantage as his Knights host University of Kentucky signee Archie Goodwin's Sylvan Hills team from Arkansas.
"I figure I'm going to be an away team in my own gym," Salsman said on Friday.
Today's Dunkin Donuts National Shootout is a chance for UK fans to see and cheer on a couple future Wildcats - Goodwin's team, in a 7 p.m. game against Lexington Catholic, followed at 8:30 p.m. by Alex Poythress' Clarksville, Tenn., Northeast team facing Lafayette.
Tickets at the gate are $10 for the event, which starts with Wolfe County vs. Sayre at 3:30 p.m. and Harrison County vs. Lincoln County at 5.
The five-star UK signees will take the court after the Cats' 4 p.m. game against South Carolina at Rupp Arena. Salsman and Lafayette coach Michael Mendenhall III expect a significant convoy of Kentucky fans to make the trip across town and pack the house to check out Goodwin and Poythress.
Kentucky coach John Calipari said on Friday that he'll attend the games and expects UK fans to be there in support of the Goodwin and Poythress.
Salsman said there will be a roped-off section in the gym for the UK staff and any players who attend. Calipari and most of the team came to LexCath two years ago to watch then-UK target C.J. Leslie in the same event.
Eyes on Archie
Goodwin, the 6-foot-4, 180-pound guard, is ranked as the nation's No. 12 prospect and is averaging 25 points, seven rebounds and three assists this season, Sylvan Hills coach Kevin Davis said.
Davis' team was set to fly to Lexington Friday night, and he said Goodwin and the Bears (9-3) are excited for the trip, which will include attending the UK game at Rupp Arena.
"We've talked about how basketball is a spiritual game, and Lexington certainly is the Mecca of that," he said.
Davis said Goodwin, who is expected to play primarily shooting guard in college, plays every position except center at times for Sylvan Hills, and he's been used primarily at point guard the past three games.
He said Goodwin is averaging a couple points fewer than last season as he's become more adept at getting his teammates involved. But Davis said fans should expect to see plenty of scoring for Goodwin, one of the nation's most dynamic, relentless dribble penetrators. He finishes at the rim, especially in transition, as well as anyone.
"He's going to be a guy who is really tough to stop going to the basket and gets to the foul line a tremendous amount," Davis said. "He's going to be shooting anywhere from 12 to 25 free throws because that's his game is getting in (the lane) and getting fouled a lot. ... And they should expect to see some and-ones."
Salsman's Knights (12-3) are focusing more on beating Sylvan Hills, not shutting down its star.
"When you play guys who are probably going to be first-round draft picks in the NBA, you kind don't prepare for them; you prepare for everybody else," Salsman said. "If you keep them under 30 points, you're probably doing a pretty good job. So we're fine with the fact that he may have a great game against us, and we're just going to try to lock down everybody else, contain him as best we can and hopefully score more points than they do."
Salsman said from what he's seen of Goodwin, all of the hype and accolades he's received are deserved.
"He's a freak of nature when it comes to athleticism," the coach said. "With the size and the strength that he has, he's got a college body already. You put him up against high school boys, and it's unfair advantage. He's got the full package - he shoots it well, handles the ball. There's a reason he's going to Kentucky. Coach Cal has proven that the recruits the best of the best, and I think Archie fits that bill 100 percent."
Salsman said he's a lifelong Kentucky fan, and most of his players are, too, and he expects that Catholic's players will probably try to meet Goodwin and want to become Facebook friends with him after the game.
But during the game, he doesn't expect the Knights, led by 2013 high-major prospect Jack Whitman (25 ppg, 10 rpg), to give an inch.
"I've got to get them to understand that we're trying to win the game, not get autographs from the kid," Salsman said. "So it'll be an interesting aspect. But we compete here at Lexington Catholic and play the best of the best and have played guys who have gone on to NBA careers before, so I know my kids, once the horn sounds, they'll compete as best they can."
Mendenhall's Generals (5-9), who have no seniors, upset Lexington Catholic 63-60 in overtime on Thursday, and he hopes that'll be a step in the right direction as they face an elite player like Poythress, who is averaging more than 30 points this season.
Poythress, the nation's No. 19 prospect, is an elite scorer, rebounder and shot-blocker. He is an excellent leaper with a long wingspan.
Mendenhall said has left most of the film work and scouting of Poythress to his assistants because "I want to be able to sleep at night."
"But from what I've heard, he can do it all," he said.
He had 46 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocked shots in a game last Saturday.
"He's going to get his; that can't be your concern," Mendenhall said. "With a kid that talented and with his skill set, you're not going to shut him down. What you've got to hope is that you make enough plays and your kids make enough plays to be able to overcome that."
Mendenhall said he Lafayette won't use any special defense, such as a box-and-one or triangle-and-two, to key on Poythress.
He said he hopes playing Northeast prepares his players, such as high-major 2014 forward prospect Jackson Davis, for top-notch district and regional competition down the road.