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Alex Poythress different player in reality compared to paper

(Darrell Bird|CatPause)

When Alex Poythress came to Kentucky last year, many had high expectations for the 5-star and top 10 nationally recruit. However he, like many of his teammates, fell short of expectations and he decided to come back to prove everyone wrong.

Which he has.

Poythress has been a big part of this year’s team, averaging 19.2 minutes a game so far. Even though fans seem to be more than pleased with his performance, on paper so far his 2013-14 season average is below what last year’s total was. Here, take a look:

















































In today’s Pre-Tennessee press conference Cal seemed to think it all boils down to one thing. Responsibility.

“The guys that don’t take responsibility stay here longer,” he said. “Until you’re ready to take responsibility and be a man about your decisions and your choices, which leads to your performance.”

Poythress has learned all about responsibility this season as he stepped up to make big plays for the Cats when they need it most. One play in particular was his offensive rebound at the end of the Arkansas game this past Tuesday.  In fact, Cal said he did not know of any other player in the country that could have made that same play.

Although Cal praised him for the play, he also said that even just three months ago he didn’t believe Poythress would have made it.

“He would have never gone after the ball. He would have never attempted,” Cal said. “And then when you talked to him about it, ‘Why didn’t you go after this?’ His head would have went down, and he would have slumped. And that’s what he was then.”

Cal went on to talk about why Poythress has changed so much in such a short period of time.

“Now he can be alert because he’s in great shape. He can be alert because he’s busted through comfort levels. He’s doing more than he’s ever thought he could do. It just took him more time. I mean, these kids are on different timetables. They all are.”

In each game this season Alex Poythress has look less confused and more like the 5-star recruit he was as the season has progressed. He has learned to deal with game pressures and has converted that pressure into some big time plays.

At the very least Poythress has been putting the effort in. As Drew Franklin reported earlier today, Poythress has been joining Derek Willis for midnight sessions in the Joe Craft Center since Kentucky’s loss against Arkansas.

Coach Cal stated that he believes Poythress has finally learned to stop caring about what others think of him.

“You can’t deal with the clutter. He had to deal with clutter such as ‘He likes him more, if you did this and that’ and no one in that clutter makes these kids take responsibility.” Cal said. “At some point, you’ve got to be a man and man up, and it isn’t about another player on the team. It’s not about the coach. It’s about me. And I’m going to change this. And you get rid of the clutter.”

Based on the Pre-Tennessee conference today, Poythress seems to understand and even appreciate his role as Kentucky’s sixth man.

“Coming off the bench isn’t any different than starting,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who starts the game, it’s who is playing at the end”

Poythress also said he feels like he has been taking defense more personally than before this year.

“I’m trying to stop people and trying to guard people. I’m trying to help my teammates on the weak side getting rebounds and blocks,” he said. “I am just trying to be there to help them more and put them in the position to win.”

I say KSR should at least give Poythress an A for effort for the season so far.


Article written by Courtney Hessler

Ashley Judd is my spirit animal. Follow me on twitter at: @Hessler_KSR

16 Comments for Alex Poythress different player in reality compared to paper

  1. Juan4UK
    6:04 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

    Minutes per game 12-13 or 13-14 ? Are you reversing any of your stats?

    • Big Jule
      1:01 am January 18, 2014 Permalink

      Juan, she just doesn’t know how to read a chart. In almost every category Alex’s numbers are better than last year’s in PER MINUTE measurement. The overall numbers are down because he is having to play fewer minutes, as Cal has been saying for a year, he has enough players to sub now and doesn’t have to wear everybody out. He is getting more rebounds, more blocks, more steals, and more assists per minute than he did last year. Three point shooting has suffered because he hasn’t been encouraged to take enough (Cal’s mistake, as he is the best shooter on the team from 3 for his career).

  2. Mark
    6:11 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

    Go back to that play where Alex went down the baseline and then dunked it on what seemed like the entire Arkansas team. Last year, he would have softly floated it up, gotten it blocked, and then his confidence and aggressiveness would have been shot for the entire game.

    Love the difference. Still not sure it’s enough for the NBA, and I hope he realizes that and doesn’t make a mistake leaving.

    • Daniel
      7:54 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

      lol it did seem like that

  3. Rei
    6:20 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

    I don’t put much stock in stat lines like this because he’s been seeing less minutes. I’m glad he’s finally seemed to come into his own, and I think he’s earned a starting spot (unless of course he’s more comfortable as a 6th man)

  4. bigblueincincy
    6:31 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

    Alex Poythress has really made a lot of improvement this season. He might be my favorite player to watch this season. I think he needs another year or 2 and I hope he doesn’t entertain any thoughts of leaving this year. I really don’t think any of these kids are ready to go pro but there’s a few that will enter the draft.

  5. JR Hopkins
    6:49 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

    is this a newspaper article? why so many paragraphs? also when half the page is bold i dont see the point

  6. ummm
    7:01 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

    so, basically, this post covers 1) everything that was said earlier by cal about poythress from earlier post(s) 2) poythress’ comments regarding late night shooting from earlier post(s) 3) poythress’ comments on his improvement from earlier post(s) 4) his stats

  7. Daniel
    7:41 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

    Yeah I think Poythress got WAY too much of the heat for last year… yes he was disappointing and often didn’t give what we know he can… but he was one of the smartest players if not the smartest playing player on the team and I see him just getting better, which i’m excited to see

  8. Emerson Biggins
    8:04 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

    He really didn’t start playing like he has been until the UNC game, ever since the light bulb has been turned on and it keeps shining brighter and brighter.

  9. Catlogic15
    8:59 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

    Is it just me, or does it seem Alex is wanting to stay but Cal is practically bullying him out the door?

    • PhilUK18
      9:38 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

      I don’t get that sense at all. I think it might just be you.

  10. A$$hole
    9:29 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

    Thanks for including the team column in your chart, that was very helpful.

  11. coldspringmike
    10:14 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

    Catogic15—– just you.

  12. Willy
    10:50 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

    This guy is playing great & am so happy for him, thank god he’s playing like a WILDCAT!!!

  13. Basketball Bennie
    11:44 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

    Keep up the great work Alex!