It’s Alex Poythress’s birthday! Number 22 turns the same age as his jersey number today and I’m sure Mrs. Cal has baked up a special batch of brownies for him.
And with his birthday, comes the sad reminder that this will be Alex’s last season as a Wildcat. So in honor of the big guy’s birthday here is a small recap of Alex’s career so far at Kentucky.
As a freshman, Alex was rated as the number 8 player by Scout.com for the class of 2012. He came to Kentucky as part of the 2012 recruiting class with Nerlens Noel, Willie Cauley-Stein and Archie Goodwin just after the Wildcat’s had clinched its eighth national championship. While much of the spotlight was on Noel, Alex began his freshman year strong. He appeared in all of 33 games, making 31 starts. He was the first UK freshman to record four-straight 20-point games since Dwight Anderson in 1978-79 season and averaged 6.0 rebounds per outing. Unfortunately, with Noel’s season-ending ACL injury during the middle of the season, the Wildcats headed to the NIT.
Determined to make up for a disappointing end to his freshmen season, Alex’s sophomore year was marked for his role as the team’s sixth man. He appeared in all 40 games that year and helped push the Wildcats through their surprising NCAA tournament run. It was Alex’s six points in the final five minutes of the game that helped UK secure a comeback win over Louisville in the Sweet 16 and he delivered eight points in the game against Michigan during the Elite Eight that propelled the Wildcats into the final four. The Cats made it to the championship game that year, thanks to the hard work of Alex and his ability to mesh with incoming players such as Julius Randle, the twins and James Young.
Alex’s junior year was off to a monster start with a productive trip to the Bahamas and he started in all eight games in which he played. Preseason, Alex was thought to be the one of the most important pieces of the Wildcat team along with the surprise return of the Harrison twins and Willie Cauley-Stein. With the infusion of incoming freshman talent such as Karl Towns, Trey Lyles and Devin Booker coupled with the experience of players like Poythress, the talk of an undefeated season was everywhere. Unfortunately, after playing in only 10 games Alex would suffer a season-ending ACL tear during practice. However, while recuperating, Alex was often seen on the sidelines cheering on his fellow teammates to a NCAA record 38-0. Roar for 22 became the battle cry for the team and Big Blue fans everywhere.
For his final year, a healthy Alex will again be considered a crucial part of the success of the 2015-2016 season. Hopefully, Alex will come back stronger and better than ever and we will see him on NBA draft night.
Here are some highlights of Alex’s performance against Duke his freshman year during the Champions Classic.
Alex’s dunk at 1:15 gives me goosebumps every time…