CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The ultimate goal of a state championship didn't materialize for Quentin Goodin and the Taylor County basketball team this past season, but it was a successful run nonetheless.
Goodin helped lead the Cardinals to their first Sweet Sixteen appearance since 1983 in a dream season that ended with a first-round loss to Hopkinsville in Rupp Arena.
Going into his senior campaign, Goodin will be one of the favorites for Mr. Basketball honors, and Taylor County should again be contenders in the 5th Region.
It won't be easy though.
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"It's going to take a whole lot of development for our younger guys coming up, because we're losing people like Brandon Berry and Austin Webster and Cameron (Morgeson) — really key guys," Goodin said.
The three departing players Goodin mentioned were Taylor County's top three leading scorers behind himself and rising junior David Sloan, a talented guard who already has scholarship offers from Louisville and Missouri, among others.
Sloan will be back to join Goodin next season. So will Ezra Oliver, who started alongside those two for the Cardinals last season.
Goodin is also excited about some of the younger players and newcomers who are expected to make an impact. He's confident that Taylor County will make another run at the 5th Region title and earn a return trip to Rupp.
"Coach (Rich) Gatewood is a really good coach and knows what he's doing," Goodin said. "He's good at getting us to do things that we didn't think we were capable of doing and end up being really good at it.
"If everybody buys in, I feel like we'll be really good again. ... I feel like we're definitely going back."
Goodin has spent this week at the NBPA Top 100 Camp and plans to narrow his recruiting list to about five schools Monday. He mentioned Louisville, Western Kentucky, Indiana, Florida, Michigan, Miami and Butler as programs that could make the cut.
Scout.com ranks Goodin as the No. 75 overall prospect in the class of 2016, and he's the only high school player from Kentucky in the Top 100. He's planning to make a college decision before the high school season begins.
Cats on the radar
Texas big man Marques Bolden is one of the most recent recipients of a UK scholarship offer among players in the class of 2016.
Bolden — a 6-foot-9, 230-pound prospect — said he has already talked to UK Coach John Calipari several times.
"He told me just to keep working and I would fit their style of play," he said. "He thinks I can end up like most of his previous players — at the next level.
"I love the style of play they have. ... I like the way Calipari does his thing."
Bolden is an accomplished post player but described his game as "more of a stretch-four" that can get things done away from the basket as well.
Duke, Kansas and UCLA are just a few of the other major programs that have extended scholarship offers to Bolden, who Scout.com now ranks as the No. 1 center and No. 6 overall prospect in the 2016 class.
New Texas head coach Shaka Smart made him an immediate priority when he got the job, and Bolden made the three-hour trip to Austin from his home in DeSoto this month.
"I think I can learn a lot from him," he said of Smart. "I love his energy, too, like the way he interacts with his players and the way he gets up and down. It's definitely not a traditional half-court style."
Udoka Azubuike was his normal, rim-rattling self this week at the Top 100 Camp, throwing down dunks that left the backboards shaking long after the action had moved back down the court.
Thursday night's session of games included a matchup of Azubuike — a UK target in the class of 2016 — against 7-footer DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 player in the 2017 class and arguably the best prospect in all of high school basketball.
Azubuike was 7-for-8 from the field in that contest, getting his buckets on four dunks, two layups and one turnaround floater.
The game was a rematch from the high school season, when Azubuike had 20 points and 11 rebounds in a victory over Ayton's team.
"I didn't know a lot about him until we started playing," Ayton said. "And in the first few minutes, he started dunking everything. He loves being in the post. He dunks everything. He's physical, he's loud. He just loves it."
Earlier Thursday, Azubuike dunked one ball so violently that the back end of the basket support came off the ground as the backboard looked as if it would collapse to the floor.
On the road
Five-star shooting guard Josh Langford was not at the Top 100 Camp this week, but he still kept busy.
The class of 2016 star from Alabama took an official visit to Michigan State starting Wednesday, according to Scout.com. Langford — a 6-5 prospect — is also considering Kentucky, Michigan, Arizona and Duke, among others.
He picked up a scholarship offer from UK during an in-home visit with John Calipari in April and previously visited Lexington for Big Blue Madness in 2013. He is expected to return to UK on another recruiting trip sometime soon.