Alex Poythress or as I like to call him AP22 is a name that Big Blue Nation knows pretty well, whether it be for the good or the bad. He was a highly sought out recruit that John Calipari landed but compared to the normal freshman standards at UK was a bust his freshman year. Showing bits and pieces of excellence at times, like against Duke last year where he put up twenty points and seven rebounds, but he also showing a lot of bad plays that shower the good with the bad. He’s that kind of player that you like , but can’t figure out why, and really want to do well. Now though, instead of being the guy we all would like to see do well he’s becoming the guy that we all can’t wait to see a big dunk or momentum swinger from. Alex Poythress is becoming a household name along with a player SEC coaches aren’t really looking forward to seeing.
Poythress is not a high scoring player. He’s not a guy who’s going to go number one overall in the NBA draft. He’s not the next Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, or Lebron. If he’s none of those then what is Poythress? Poythress is that guy that Kentucky has needed since last year, he’s the I’ll give you all my effort all the time guy. Between the 2012-2013 season and this season Poythress’ stats have not changed all that much. He’s actually getting less playing time and his stats are down. What has changed in Poythress is his effort and ability to change a game. He’s slowly making the climb we all want to see.
Poythress boasts a modest 6.4 points a game average this year (down from 11.2 last year), yet Poythress is averaging 10.2 in SEC play. It’s about more than stats with Poythress as lately he has been making plays at both ends of the court. Playing like he has with his size makes him a dangerous weapon that few teams can match.
In a recent article Jerry Tipton quoted Calipari saying “It’s about guys like Alex making that climb and becoming the player they can become. Knowing we push you, but giving you room to go do your thing.”
Poythress has slowly begun making that climb for Calipari. He’s giving his one-hundred percent out there at all times now. He’s becoming that guy that his younger teams can look to make a big dunk or possible game saving rebound, that amazing rebound against Arkansas where he flew like Superman. He’s becoming the guy we all as fans really wanted to see last year. In the simplest of terms, Poythress is becoming himself.
There’s still a lot of basketball to be played in the bluegrass state. A lot of big plays by Julius Randle and Willie Cauley-Stein and crazy screaming fans. Hopefully a lot more wins to come along with all that excitement. Along with all that is the new and improved Alex Poythress. A young man we’ve all been waiting to see has finally risen and is looking to keep his steady climb going while he helps his young teammates go on a run in March. Alex Poythress is becoming a blessing to this team that I don’t think a lot of people really expected. We shall see if he can keep this improvement rate up and for the fan’s sake I hope he does. Poythress is a changed man this year for a changed team and for him change was good.