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Alex Poythress Needs To Step Up… Now.


Willie Cauley-Stein, the mustard to Nerlens Noel’s ketchup (or is it the other way around?), is out for the foreseeable future. Sucks, I know. Despite WCS’s free throw woes, and his less-than-soft hands down low, the twin towers lineup was clearly the one that gave us the best chance to win. Now, Cal either has to give Kyle Wiltjer another shot at the 4, or we’re looking at a guard heavy starting 5 featuring Julius Mays. Neither of those options are ideal, frankly. Dems da breaks though. Larry Bird’s not walking through that door, so someone is just going to have to step up. And if we’re being honest, there’s only player capable of carrying the Cats while Willie is on the mend. That someone to step up has to be Alex Poythress.


Poythress hasn’t exactly been bad so far this season… But he hasn’t been all that great either. After rattling off four straight 20 point games at the beginning of the season, he’s been all over the map since. 16 and 8 here, 11 and 4 there, and so on and so on. Basically, courage hasn’t been roaring, more like growling inconsistently. And for a 5-star physical specimen like Poythress playing on a team with no depth whatsoever, that’s just not going to cut it. To date, his underwhelming play this year has just been one of many reasons why we’ve been unable to fire on all cylinders. Now? Without Cauley-Stein? If he doesn’t step we start losing must-win games. Period.


Maybe I’m just an eternal optimist, but I think this temporary reshuffling of the lineup actually might do us (and Poythress) some good. I think with WCS out, Poythress sees more time at the 4, and he starts to get his groove back a little bit. In his more natural position, he can bang a little bit down low, pick up some easy buckets, and dominate the less athletic SEC big men. And then, with his confidence back, maybe we see a little bit more of that beast that hasn’t reared its head often enough this year.


But if not? Well, it doesn’t so much matter where Poythress feels comfortable. If the Cats are going to win without Cauley-Stein, not to mention in March, Poythress is going to have to fight through whatever is holding back and start playing to his potential anyway. When he wants to be, Poythress can be one of the best players in the country.  It’s now or never for that version of Alex Poythress to start showing up every night. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long season.




Article written by Andrew McCarthy

26 Comments for Alex Poythress Needs To Step Up… Now.

  1. Condiment Police
    9:51 pm January 18, 2013 Permalink

    No no, Willie is ketchup and Noel is mustard.

  2. Mike
    9:52 pm January 18, 2013 Permalink

    I believe Cal or someone said that the knee problem with WCS has been going on for a few weeks….and it is just now coming to light??

  3. Good Times Good Times
    9:53 pm January 18, 2013 Permalink

    Good time to stop being a flamboyant gay Alex. Come out tomorrow in beast mode and we’ll roll. Step up son!

  4. NBA
    9:55 pm January 18, 2013 Permalink

    Alex doesn’t have to do anything. He is NBA bound in a few months and will be rich either way.

  5. Good Times Good Times
    9:55 pm January 18, 2013 Permalink

    Oh, and if you turn it over, don’t be irrational and go into depression. It will be ok! Your teammates need you.

  6. Alex Poythress
    9:58 pm January 18, 2013 Permalink

    I’m just trying not to get hurt.

  7. Miller
    10:04 pm January 18, 2013 Permalink

    You lost me at the twin towers lineup clearly gave us the best chance to win.

  8. ukcatfan36
    10:06 pm January 18, 2013 Permalink

    This is a similar situation as to what happened in the 1969-70 season for the Cats. A change in lineup really charged the team up as they finished off the regualr season and went into the NCAA. LArry Steele went out with an injury and Soph. Tom Parker was put into the starting lineup. It seems this change fired up the Cats for the last half of the season. Steele (a great player in his own right) came back but never took Parker’s starting job. Parker had a GREAT 2nd half of the season. UK was ranked number 1 but lost a heartbreaker to Jacksoville in the mid-east regional final.

  9. Mike
    10:10 pm January 18, 2013 Permalink

    Get ready for the excusearama tomorrow….”well,I feel we would have played better had we had a healthy WCS”.

  10. Ridge Runner
    10:12 pm January 18, 2013 Permalink

    8- Great point and example.

    yes, there is a history both college & pro of teams using an injury to a significant player to propel the entire team into another level. Not saying this will happen because yes, there are times it doesn’t. But heck, if Camp Cal, individual player attention, practice after practice and this many games can’t seem to get the team to “get it”…perhaps this might kick start it. By the way, not just Alex either. There is a lot of players that need to “get it” and maintain it for more than 1 or 2 games too. Anyway, here’s another opportunity the way I look at it.

  11. Cal'sSweatyNipples
    10:14 pm January 18, 2013 Permalink

    You can count on Twinkie [email protected] blowing this game. He does not have enough talent to beat the likes of Auburn.

  12. Got CAL?
    10:22 pm January 18, 2013 Permalink

    If Alex has any idea of going pro he better start showing something. Before the draft, teams have players in for workouts with other players they may draft. So, he better start showing he can outplay them. The Texas A&M player he could not guard when he scored 40 pts against UK, scored 4 pts against Florida.

  13. TD
    10:30 pm January 18, 2013 Permalink

    That pic looks like Archie Goodwin

  14. old man
    10:37 pm January 18, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t see Alex Poythress or Archie Goodwin ever having a consistent career in the NBA if they leave after this year. Alex’s lack of aggression and passive attitude doesn’t translate to the NBA. He is a heck of a talent naturally, but I don’t think his attitude will be successful in the NBA. I don’t think aggression is something that can be taught. Something has to click in his head for him to have a long career in the NBA. NBA players are competing for jobs, and have an instinct to put someone away when they’re down, and I just don’t see that in him.

  15. Middle school
    10:40 pm January 18, 2013 Permalink

    WCS has been dealing with the knee thing since middle school.

    Cal is obviously looking out for the kid’s draft stock getting it taken care of now instead of sending him to work out against the other top players, have his physicals, etc by the NBA teams, even if it hurts the team for awhile (which he’s right to do, Players First).

    I’d imagine this is pretty good evidence we won’t be seeing him next year.

  16. Wildcatsteeler
    11:05 pm January 18, 2013 Permalink

    The problem with emotionally/psychologically fragile players is that the pressure and expectations make it that much worse. I played basketball for 20 years and can relate. I compensated by goin all out as soon as the game started and got winded and broke a sweat very fast. Once you get in that “groove” the pressure is gone and you’re totally “in the game.”

  17. Guy After Wildcatsteeler
    11:16 pm January 18, 2013 Permalink

    You can’t relate.

  18. SuperCats
    12:33 am January 19, 2013 Permalink

    kid is stressed,
    which is normal
    wake up!!
    PAXIL is the cure…

  19. Catfan
    1:52 am January 19, 2013 Permalink

    Cal wants Poythress to be our 3 based off our current talent pool, but Pothress will only flourish as a 4. Once Cal realizes this and lets him to play the 4 spot, then and only then will the team begin to become a contender

  20. DHo
    8:20 am January 19, 2013 Permalink

    How many times have I read this same article?
    How many more times will I have to read this same thing again… answer to this one… How many games does UK have left?

  21. niaps
    8:35 am January 19, 2013 Permalink

    #7 I feel the same way. WCS did not give us the best chance to win with both he and Noel in the lineup. Our scoring went from a 40+ pt half to the 20’s. Poor idea that just did not work. Wiltger will give us scoring opportunities that just were not possible with WCS. Do not take me wrong WCS will be great but not this year. With Wiltger the inside opens up and gives Noel more room to roam. If Wiltger continues to play as he did last game the Cats may salvage a good year yet.

  22. Captain Obvious
    9:46 am January 19, 2013 Permalink

    TD is correct. The “I Am Alex Poythress” caption is on a photo of Archie Goodwin. #FAIL

  23. GoCats#9
    10:40 am January 19, 2013 Permalink

    I remember when Terrence jones was in slump… he came back and became one of the best players and helped us win it all. So, I’m not giving up on Alex. I just wish people would have patience.

  24. C'm on man
    11:17 am January 19, 2013 Permalink

    Most freshmen play more like Poythress and Goodwin, then they do Noel and AD! We have been spoiled with the play of our past freshmen. Give these kids a break it takes most freshmen until Feb. Or March to peek.
    Funny how some still think a kid leaving to make millions is a mistake. The NBA drafts on potential more then actual play. Poythress and Goodwin will both be Millionaires in a couple months and it’s the right choice for them and their family!

  25. kybigblue
    11:42 am January 19, 2013 Permalink

    If Muhammad had come to UK at SF than Poytress would probably be at PF. I think that position would fit him better. I hope you are right and he gets more playing time today at PF with a three guard lineup.

  26. mudcreekmark
    12:46 pm January 19, 2013 Permalink

    Now we will all see why I keep talking about Wiltjer being the key to this years success. Cal will be forced to play him 30 plus minutes and he will be our leading scorer while WCS is out. As far as Poythress is concerned, he has zero handle. This is the reason he is struggling. He cannot dribble the ball good enough to get to the basket. He knows this now and has lost all confidence. If you haven’t noticed, the only move he has is to drive the baseline with his right hand. He does this every game and either gets it blocked,charges or looses it out of bounds. He can not dribble the ball with his left hand, period. Everyone wants him to be a monster but he just don’t have the skills.