Photo via SportsIllustrated.com
We all saw it last night, even if we weren’t sure what was happening. Polson’s emergence as a reliable go-to guy in crunch time was as surprising as it was amazing, and he finished up the game as Cal’s most reliable, efficient player on a team loaded with studs. Naturally, BBN and the folks in Kentucky went crazy with attention, but we weren’t the only ones. Check out these excerpts from national media sources discussing our newest hot topic.
[The buzz] was about coach John Calipari’s latest haul of high school All-Americans and talented transfers, who would be making their debuts in white and blue. Instead, unheralded junior Jarrod Polson was the Wildcats’ MVP in a 72-69 season-opening victory over Maryland. But the hero was a 6-foot-2 former walk-on from Nicholasville, Ky., who played just 31 minutes all of last season and scored seven points combined in his first two seasons with the Wildcats. … Polson gave Kentucky 22 steady minutes at the point. How steady? Well, how about this stat line: 10 points, three assists and zero turnovers against a tenacious Maryland half-court defense. Throw in two clutch free throws with 7.7 seconds left, extending Kentucky’s lead from one point to three, and you’ve basically got a dream come true. … We’ll be talking about Noel, Goodwin, Wiltjer and company all season long. But on the opening night of this college basketball season, Kentucky’s best player was a former walk-on. There might not be a bigger upset over the next five months.
Polson played great down the stretch, including ripping the ball out of Nick Faust’shands and scoring under Charles Mitchell for two points to push the lead to 67-63. Polson ended up being Kentucky’s third-leading scorer and leading assist man. Pretty good for a guy who is the farthest thing from a big name that you can think of at a program known for one-and-dones.
Junior guard Jarrod Polson scored 10 points — three more than he had in his career at Kentucky — and made the clinching free throws with 7.7 seconds to play as the third-ranked Wildcats held off a furious second-half rally by Maryland for a 72-69 victory Friday night.
[T]he juggernaut was not prepared to offer answers. What it served up was a fairy tale, an improbable-but-satisfying distraction: a story starring someone who never appeared in the Terrapins’ scouting report, who was not mentioned in scores of national-media preview stories about Kentucky and its brigade of future Lottery Picks. And for good reason, because junior reserve point guard Jarrod Polson — the star of the Wildcats’ 72-69, season-opening victory — was heretofore irrelevant. … In three years he had gone from walk-on to center stage at the Barclays Center, with the season opener in the balance. … [H]e gave us an improbable story, and on opening night of a long season, we can settle for that.
The Sports Illustrated article, by Luke Winn, was the most expansive of those linked; it featured the entire WBA original video.
The Polson phenomenon looks like more than just a local thing. Congratulations to the junior whose commitment is paying off big-time.