Kentucky Wildcats sophomore forward Alex Poythress will return for the 2014-15 season, he announced in a press release Wednesday. He bypassed a chance to enter the NBA Draft for the second-straight year, and will instead focus on finishing his degree and helping UK win it’s ninth NCAA National Championship.
“Playing in the NBA has always been a dream of mine, but I want to make sure that I’m NBA-ready before I make that jump,” Poythress said. “By coming back, I’ll be so much closer to earning my degree in business and it will give me another year to prepare my game and my body for the next level.”
The 6-foot-7 forward will join Willie Cauley-Stein as the team’s only juniors in 2014. UK head coach John Calipari is happy to have Poythress back to help him continue to improve and reach his collegiate goals.
“I’m excited for Alex and the decision he’s arrived at,” head coach John Calipari said. “I’m proud of the work he committed to this past season, on and off the floor, and think he’s ready to take that next step and lead this team next season.”
Poythress, hailing from Northeast High in Clarksville, TN., averaged 5.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game this past year in 18.4 minutes per game. Those averages rose to 6.5 points and 4.75 boards per game in the Cats last four game in the NCAA Tournament, where UK finished it’s season in the National Championship game.
He shot better than 68 percent from the field in the NCAA Tournament, including an eight-point, seven-rebound performance in the Final Four against Wisconsin. With no wing players returning this year, it’s likely that Poythress will get playing time at both small and power forward in ’14.
Fellow sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein and freshman Marcus Lee announced their intentions to return for the 2014-15 season last week in hopes of helping UK win that final game in 2015.
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