Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Preview: #3 Jarrod Polson


#3 JARROD POLSON
SR – GUARD
6’2, 182
WEST JESSAMINE, HS
NICHOLASVILLE, KY

BEFORE UK (from UKAA)

Averaged 18.2 points, 6.4 assists and 4.9 rebounds as a senior at West Jessamine High School, leading the squad to the second round of the Sweet 16 state tournament … Scored 40 of the team’s 60 points in the regional semifinals and 31 of the squad’s 51 points in the regional finals to help West Jessamine advance to the Sweet 16 state tournament … Finished his career as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,884 points … Named First Team All-State by a number of publications. Jarrod turned down a scholarship offer from Liberty to walk on at Kentucky

AS A WILDCAT

Jarrod played sparingly his first two seasons at UK with a total of 62 minutes in 28 games. He scored a total of 7 points and went 1-9 from the field. There really was nothing to suggest that Polson’s career trajectory would change, yet Polson ended up having a type of storybook season, going from a seldom used walk on to a key member of his home state Kentucky Wildcats.

With Ryan Harrow struggling in the season opener versus Maryland, Polson stepped in and was up to the task, playing 22 minutes. Polson went 4-6 from the field for 10 points and dished out 3 assists. Polson helped to secure the game by draining a pair of late free throws. From there, Polson was a steady presence off the bench as he scored in double digits three times and had five games with more than three assists. He even earned his first career start against Tennessee and had 11 points. While Polson lacked the talent of his team mates, he earned their respect with his heads up, gutsy play and heart. For the season, Polson averaged 3.1 points a game.

WHAT TO EXPECT?

With the arrival of Andrew Harrison, it is an almost certainty that Polson will see a reduced role, barring injury. Harrison and his twin brother Aaron will make up perhaps the top backcourt tandem in the country. Even though the majority of the minutes, Polson will still see regular action as a backup. The other true PG’s on the roster are all walkons, although Dominique Hawkins could press for minutes. Polson will be looked on to provide some leadership as he is the rarest of rarities … a four-year John Calipari player. The knock on Polson is his defense and speed. While you can’t teach speed, Polson can be a defensive liability at times. That is negated by his heart and hustle however and if Polson’s style of play and effort can influence his team mates, this can be a very good year for UK.

I would expect about 10 minutes a game for Polson, which would be down slightly from last years 13.8 minutes a game. I think that John Calipari is very comfortable with Polson and will not hesitate to put him in if say Harrison gets two fouls early in a game. Polson has proven he can play at this level and he played admirably in all but a few games when he was up against elite point guards. You have to keep in mind that Polson’s toughest challenge each week will be in practice against his team mates.  Polson can score and has an unexpected good move to the basket. He shot well last year (52.9%) but his three-point shooting was suspect (28.6%).

With another year at Camp Cal, Polson has gotten stronger and better. It’s admirable that he has played himself in a position where he can have a career playing professionally overseas after this season. Look for about 10 minutes a game, with 3.0 points average and 2 assists.

CALIPARI ON POLSON

“Jarrod improved as much as anybody that I saw in our offseason workouts. He is confident that he can hold his own against his teammates, and if you can do that, you can play with anyone. He will be a vital part of our depth this year.”

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