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March 2, 2013When the Kentucky faces Arkansas on Saturday, Archie Goodwin will return to his home state.
And while he'll have a plethora of friends and family in attendance, there are some dangers to returning home.
For example, the Arkansas fans at Bud Walton Arena won't soon forget Goodwin, a Little Rock, Ark., native selecting the Wildcats over the Razorbacks.
And with so many eyes on Goodwin in Fayetteville, he could try to do too much.
John Calipari wants him to keep his emotions in check.
"It'll be tough," Calipari said. "We talked a little bit about it. It's going to be a hard deal for him, but I think he'll fine."
What hasn't been tough for Goodwin is scoring tickets for all his friends and family.
Goodwin has asked more than a couple players on the team for their reserved tickets to the game, designated for their friends and family.
Ryan Harrow obliged.
"He has all of my tickets for the game, and I'm sure he has a lot more other people's tickets," Harrow said. "I know he wants to do well out there."
Senior Julius Mays hadn't talked to Goodwin about his homecoming, and Goodwin didn't hound him for tickets, but he could tell the freshman was ready to put on a show.
"Yeah, he got quite a few tickets," Mays said.
But unfortunately for Goodwin, his homecoming is against one of the best home teams in the country.
Arkansas is undefeated in Bud Walton Arena against Southeastern Conference opponents, including a win over conference leading Florida.
Calipari knows Goodwin might try to do too much, but joked it wasn't different than any other game.
"He may have a couple moments, but he's had 'em without being home, where he does things like 'Oh my gosh, what did you just do?' So I don't think it's going to affect him," Calipari said. "It'll be a hard deal for him."
As the Cats cruise into Fayetteville, Mays has emerged as UK's go-to-guy on offense.
The senior has hit at least two threes in all but one of UK's last 14 games, and averaged 17.5 in UK's last two games.
Calipari isn't surprised he's taken over the offense.
"No, because he's not afraid to miss tough shots, the game-crunch shots," Calipari said. "He's not afraid to miss them, and that's how you have to be able to play. And he's made a bunch of 'em.
"He's really helped us."
Mays said his focus wasn't to be UK's main scorer, but he did have a goal in mind: to become UK's leader.
Whether it was vocally, on offense or on defense, he knew the Cats needed someone to step up. Especially after Nerlens Noel went down.
"I think we needed (a vocal leader)," Mays said. "It was that time that we all had to start taking ownership. It shouldn't have to keep coming from the coaches. I'm a guy I feel like they all trust and if it was coming from me, I felt like they would listen to me."
And since an 88-58 thumping at Tennessee, the Cats have been all ears.
The coaches have touched up the offense since Noel went out and the Cats have executed. The new offense features the guards having the ball in their hands, trusting their decision-making.
The decision-making has been stellar thus far, and as long as the guards continue to create, the Cats will be in good shape.
"Yeah, basically putting the ball in the guards' hands and letting us create - for not just ourselves but our teammates as well, and I think it's been working really well for us," Mays said.
Mays left the second half of Wednesday's win against Mississippi State after receiving a cut above his left eye.
He received four stiches and didn't return to the game, but don't expect the senior to miss any action Saturday.
"It's good," Mays said. "Better than last time. It's not bothering me."
Mays received a cut over his other eye earlier this season, but didn't miss any time.