October 6, 2015 Louisville, KY. (Analyzed Sports)
Alex Poythress: The time is now to let courage roar
It’s been a few weeks since Kentucky Wildcats Head Coach John Calipari labeled returning Senior Alex Poythress the only beast type player on the roster for his upcoming 2015-2016 super talented basketball team.
10 games into the UK Men’s Basketball 2014 season, Poythress would suffer a torn ACL while going up for an uncontested layup in the teams practice for the upcoming Dec. 13th North Carolina game. This would be a season-ending injury for the junior forward who was thought to be a key piece to a team that would run off 38 straight wins before falling in a heartbreaking 71-64 loss to Wisconsin in the 2015 Final Four in Indianapolis. The 6’8 forward was a defensive presence and athletic play-maker that averaged 5.5 points and 3.8 assists in 20 minutes before the season-ending knee injury.
Almost 11 months later, with Big Blue Nation still licking its wounds from the 2015 Final Four loss, Poythress’s return for his senior season is vital for yet another team of fresh faces. Alex Poythress has been progressing well during rehab and is showing signs of his knee being fully healthy, but not yet at 100 percent. Head Coach John Calipari is counting on Poythress to be more of a vocal leader and has stated that this team will go as far as Alex Poythress takes it. This would be a huge step from a player who’s has been a quiet leader and whose motto is “Courage does not always roar” from famous author Mary Anne Radmacher.
“I think I grew as a player mentally.” “You grow as a player from a standpoint and physically there’s certain things you can work on in certain areas, like the weight room and stuff like that.” “It’s good.” said Poythress. “As long as I’m on the floor and just playing to my strengths I feel like I can play anywhere.” “This year I’m going to have to talk more, so I’ll be ready for that, and just lead by example. Just show what they need to do and everything like that.”
Poythress was a highly touted recruit out of Clarksville, TN’s Northeast high school expected to lead John Calipari’s 2012-2013 Kentucky Wildcats as a freshman a year removed from the school’s eighth National Championship. As a freshman, Alex would average 11.2 points per game and 6 rebounds in 25 minutes. Although Poythress was the second leading scoring during his freshman year, he never really grasped the role of being the type of leader needed for a young team to excel. That season would end in disappointment, as the young Wildcats would fail to reach the NCAA tournament and would lose in a first-round NIT game against Robert Morris.
Fast-forward to the 2015-2016 Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball season and now the senior 6’8 forward is being asked to lead a young team again coming off a historic season. Calipari believes Poythress can be the difference for this young team because they don’t have a player currently on the roster that can as physical in the paint as an Alex Poythress. The time is now to let his courage roar for what will be Alex’s last season as a Kentucky Wildcat.
“He and I sat down (and) I said, ‘It’s your time now to go do what you do. ” Head Coach Calipari said. “And I think he’ll be able to play in a spot, in a position, that he’s going to be comfortable playing, which means he’ll be more confident.”
November 13, 2015 the Kentucky Wildcats will open the season against the Albany Athletics.