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Guard play remains a question mark for Kentucky

The good news is that John Calipari has a veteran like Jarrod Polson who can come off the bench and provide quality minutes for his team when his two younger guards are struggling. The bad news is that we are nearly 3/4 of the way though the season, and both Archie Goodwin and Ryan Harrow are still playing inconsistently. Goodwin only played 17 minutes tonight, 15 below his season average which hovers around 32 minutes per game. The team actually appeared to run a much more effective and efficient offense today with the combination of Jarrod Polson and Julius Mays in the game. Mays and Polson combined for 57 minutes tonight to go along with 4 assists. Goodwin and Harrow combined for 43 minutes to go with 2 assists. Goodwin also finished with only 3 points, 11 below his season average of 14. 

Calipari mentioned the fact that it was probably good for Goodwin to see that his team could play without him as he spent time on the bench this afternoon. Calipari was asked about Harrow’s play and how compares mentally to some of the other point guards he’s had in the past. “He can play that way, but he chooses at times not to play that way. We all want him to be better. But he’s learning. I think he wants to do well. I’m not giving up on anybody on this team.”

The importance of having two veteran guards in Polson and Mays has turned out to be extremely valuable to this young team. The two have been able to continue to buy both Goodwin and Harrow time to keep developing into the contributors that Calipari needs them to be. I still think that this team’s future in March is directly dependent on Goodwin and Harrow becoming consistent and “buying in” as Calipari so often says. For a long time we thought perhaps it was the emergence of Alex Poythress that would make or break this team. And while his play and contributions are certainly important, this team will likely sink or swim based on Calipari’s two young guards.

With that said, Calipari certainly isn’t giving up on them yet. Neither will we.


Article written by Ally Tucker

I once successfully requested "The Wobble" to be played 6 times at one wedding.

33 Comments for Guard play remains a question mark for Kentucky

  1. Chicago Chris
    9:35 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Well, it’s freakin’ mid February already, so…

  2. Bleaker
    9:41 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Let a MAN answer a SPORTS reference (RADIO SHOW REFERENCE). Guard play WITH Archie is the problem. Guard play WITHOUT Archie is not. Our team is 150% better with Polson in and Archie out. Also, Matt says Polson is a defensive liability. I couldnt disagree more. I think he is one of the better perimeter defenders on the whole team. Kid gives 110% effort at all times.

  3. mudcreekmark
    9:42 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Two younger guards? Polson and Harrow graduated high school the same year, right? Polson got almost no meaningful minutes his first two years. Harrow started at North Carolina State one year and then practiced against Teague all year last year so I would think Harrow is much more experienced than Polson.

  4. kramer
    9:43 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Am I the only one who wants Notre Dame to KILL UL????

  5. mark
    9:43 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Ryan Harrow is not younger than Polson.

  6. goukats
    9:44 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Harrow is in his second year at UK ,and 3rd playing at a D1 level.There are no excuses for his play.Goodwin tends to be a selfish ball hog.looking more for his points than that of his teammates.Just before he was taken out near the emd of the game,he missed WCS wide open near the basket,took a 15 foot jumper that barely touched the front of the rim resulting in an Auburn basket and Cal ,correctly ,sitting him for the remainder of the game.At this point in the looks like he will never change.Thank goodness Polson can deliver.

  7. mudcreekmark
    9:45 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    2) I agree,Polson is not hurting us on defense at all. He is actually pretty darn tough too.

  8. sdog
    9:50 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    This team will go as far as Harrow takes us. That being said I am a fan of his and I like this team. Now we are 2nd place in the SEC when everyone gave up on us weeks ago. Tuesday night we can shock the world..

  9. Rixter
    9:52 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Goodwin and Poythress are still projected as lottery picks. Bye, guys. Think we’ll miss them as much as last year’s class?

  10. tankercat
    9:54 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Well said #1, we are near mid February, if they havent got it figured out by now i dont think they will have a bright light come on in March

  11. Syrin
    9:59 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    The NCAA tourney is all about guard play. If you don’t have, you won’t win.

  12. We won't miss you
    10:00 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    We won’t miss you either #9. Unfortunately, you probably won’t be drafted in ANY round…

  13. Syrin
    10:01 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Speaking of Polson… How many times does hes seem to hit a key shot, may a crucial pass, get a tough rebound right under the basket? The guy has heart, toughness, and gives his all. My ONLY complaint is I wish he would shoot the open shot more often. Teams sag off of him too much.

  14. Mack
    10:14 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Coach said he didn’t go over game film with the players, I think it would help at least some to see how they don’t try and walk around with their heads down during the games.

  15. NKY_UK_fan
    10:26 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Calipari is teaching life lessons because he knows this season won’t amount to much and is preparing those for the NBA, overseas, etc.

  16. WKY_Cats
    10:36 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    This picture annoys me for some reason……..

  17. Jus Sayin
    10:38 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    I’ll say it… We will make no noise in march with Polson as our PG. (Remember him vs Russ Smith?) We NEED Harrow to step up. We also need Cal to let him play through mistakes in games that dont matter like this.

  18. Han
    10:47 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    It drives me nuts that none of the guards (Harrow, Goodwin, Mays) look to the post. They dribble or pass around the perimeter, and they all miss the possible lobs when Noel sets a screen and then cuts to the basket. Often a defender rotates over, but when they don’t, we see Noel open at the rim and a guard dribbling the other way around the arc.

    There are far too many possessions where Mays takes a wild 3 or Archie dribbles into a double team instead of penetrating and dishing to an open shooter or a big man on the opposite block.

    At least Wiltjer and Noel sometimes find WCS at the rim.

  19. mudcreekmark
    10:47 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    14)Cal said he didn’t go over game film with the players but the assistants did. I think Cal may want to rethink that one because for some reason they keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

  20. Han
    10:49 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    10) In Cal’s 2nd year here, we were all complaining about how inconsistent this team was. Then at the end of SEC play and into the SEC tourney, Miller came alive, and together with Harrelson and Knight, they carried the team to a Final Four berth.

    While I don’t think Archie is going to get dramatically better, Poythress could step up.

  21. mudcreekmark
    10:54 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    18)At least Wiltjer and Noel looks for options like you mentioned. Goodwin wouldn’t pass it to anyone if his life depended on it. I think he has the lowest basketball I.Q. of any UK guard in history. How hard is it to understand, if you are driving to the rim and there are three men guarding You, then there should be at least one of your team mates who are wide freakin open.Pass the dadgum ball to that open player,he is your friend, he wants to help you win, I promise it won’t kill you.

  22. mudcreekmark
    11:00 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    20) I like your positive attitude but this team isn’t even in the same league as that team. We are barely beating the worse SEC teams in the history of the SEC. To let a team like Auburn stick around the whole game, at home no less, is an embarrassment.Knight and those guys would have destroyed these SEC teams,especially this late in the season.

  23. Rae
    11:03 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    22. Every team is getting embarrassed this year.

  24. Wildcatsteeler
    2:26 am February 10, 2013 Permalink

    Harrow is unbelievably soft. Any team that has an aggressive front court will beat us. He’s physically and mentally soft. And Goodwin is still clueless. It’s an extremely down year for everyone so we still have a chance.

  25. letsroll
    6:32 am February 10, 2013 Permalink

    So can someone tell me how Jarrod Polson was not voted player of the game .

  26. tdr76
    7:15 am February 10, 2013 Permalink

    These two guys are make or break for this team, that is why Cal “continues to buy time for them”. Their attitude will determine
    the altitude of this team.

  27. Han
    8:45 am February 10, 2013 Permalink

    22) Rose-colored glasses on your memory. A lot of people were not happy with that team, saying too many people left the year before. Countless people bemoaned that we didn’t have Bledsoe or Orton back to give us depth at PG (Lamb was the backup and I remember him losing the ball/taking a wild shot at the end of 2 games) and Center (with Kanter ineligible, we had no depth behind Harrelson, since Vargas couldn’t give us a lot).

    Most people agreed that that team got hot at the right time and made their run in the SEC tourney and NCAA. It’s not impossible for this team to have a similar hot streak. We just need Poythress to stay aggressive and out of foul trouble, Harrow to play more like he did a couple weeks ago, Mays and Wiltjer to be more hot than cold, and Archie to minimize his mistakes. Noel will be great, and WCS continues to improve. Not a lot of teams can deal with both Noel and WCS if we’re playing well.

  28. harry
    9:05 am February 10, 2013 Permalink

    eight games left and dont know what this team can do. we might lose to georgia and might beat florida..who knows

  29. Kiddekat
    9:29 am February 10, 2013 Permalink

    Question: In an earlier article, it was mentioned that Harrow had more blocked shots than Noel. My question is why does a blocked shot not count as such if a foul is called on the play? Seriously, anyone who watched the game knows the one shot Noel blocked and came down with the ball was a clean block. The ref called a foul so it did not count as a block. However, had the ball not been blocked and had gone through the hoop, the basket would have counted, and a foul shot rewarded. If the basket can still count on a foul, why can a block not still count on a foul? It has happened many times this year, but this one was the most obvious.

  30. Some Guy in Kentucky
    10:13 am February 10, 2013 Permalink

    I am not sure what Archie is doing before and after practice. His shot is still flat, he dribbles with his head down, and he still does not play within a team concept. Maybe they should give him some tape of someone that does those things correctly.

  31. Mc
    10:21 am February 10, 2013 Permalink

    22) I agree the SEC is down, but I don’t think the other conferences are that great. Auburn was right there with the same Illinois team that just beat indiana, and Missouri beat them. He’ll, IU struggled against Georgia. It’s just a crazy season. I’m not sure uk can stay consistent enough to make a run, but based on talent alone, they can. I think the SEC just had more bad losses, and the media treats the big 10 like the SEC in football. The difference is the SEC wins championships and has credibility as a result of that.

  32. hmmm
    11:23 am February 10, 2013 Permalink

    24. you mean back court? dipshit

  33. 3cats
    12:33 pm February 10, 2013 Permalink

    Polson,plays with Hart! Kentucky on his jersey means something to him. He plays as hard as he can to help the TEAM. Seems a few players are not, some of the players can play most of the game and are not even sweating. Goodwin play like what he is a freshman.
    Once he slows down he is going to be very good, but will he stay long enough?