Alex Poythress….Has He finally figured it out?
01/22/2014 11:20 AM
By: Austin Linton
It took until halfway through Terrence Jones’s sophomore year at the University of Kentucky for him to figure out how to play basketball. This is obviously a sarcastic statement. Terrence Jones was a highly-rated recruit coming out of Portland, Oregon and clearly, he knew how to play the game of basketball at a high level. Same for Alex Poythress, a 5 star recruit out of Clarksville, Tennessee and a unanimous pick as a future NBA lottery guy. Poythress came in with all the accolades a high school player could dream of and figured to make a big splash in the college basketball scene.
As we came to find out, both Alex and Terrence seemed to come out of the gate firing on all cylinders their freshman years and then seemed to taper off the rest of the year. They both struggled with grasping the idea that college basketball was much harder than high school ball. These players weren’t going to be able to just “get by” on their talent and athleticism alone.
Alex has recently been on a tear for John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats, not just with stats, but with consistency in his energy level. Rarely anymore do we see Alex have “low shoulders” on the court and run with his head down, disengaged from the game. Now we see Alex calling for the ball on the baseline and attacking the basket with his superior athleticism and instinct around the rim.
If Terrence Jones’s career is any indicator of what’s to come from Poythress, then UK fans should be very excited. Jones, drafted in the first round of the 2012 NBA draft by the Houston Rockets alongside 3 other forwards, was not expected to contribute much, if any, in his early years. Just four days ago, Jones had a career high in points with 36 and grabbed 11 rebounds.
As I said, it’s always hard to predict the future of a player like Jones or Poythress because intense play is something you usually are born with. If Poythress can continue to grow and learn to play with a consistent motor, then a self-confident attitude and play should be something fans will see in the coming weeks. We are almost to the time in season where Jones’ career seemed to take off at UK and, after the last few performances from Poythress, maybe the same will happen for him. I would have to say we are looking at a bright future for a very talented player.