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By ASHLEY SCOBY

Jarrod Polson not only made his first 3-pointer in Southeastern Conference play in Saturday’s win over Auburn, but he also played 20 minutes, a career high in conference action for the junior guard from West Jessamine High School. He finished the 72-62 win with three points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal. He has now scored in six of the last seven games and has two or more rebounds in five of the last seven games.

“He was great. He’s just energy,” said Kentucky coach John Calipari after Saturday’s game. “All I need is energy.”

Here is what Polson had to say about his play, the team and more after UK won its fifth straight game Saturday.

On if he sees this team getting better in the last few weeks of the season…
Polson: “Yeah I think so. I think we’ve definitely improved a lot. We’ve been practicing a lot harder so hopefully that’ll pay off.”

On if he’s surprised when Calipari reads a book to the team at practice…
Polson: “We’ve been reading that book for a while, so I guess he can do whatever he wants.”

On if he’s surprised by the amount of playing time he’s gotten this year…
Polson: “Maybe a little bit. When I came here, I was wanting to get minutes eventually. It wasn’t that big of a surprise but I’m happy.”

On importance of Tuesday when UK plays at Florida…
Polson: “It’s big obviously. They’re number one, number-two in the country. But really we’re just focused on getting better ourselves. As we get better ourselves, maybe we can beat them.”

On key to getting better…
Polson: “Just defining our roles more. Cal’s telling us every day what our roles are, and we’re just really working hard in practice. The practices, especially the past couple of days, have been really intense. I think that’s working for us.”

Jarrod Polson drives inside in the win over Auburn. (Victoria Graff photo)

Jarrod Polson drives inside in the win over Auburn. (Victoria Graff photo)

On having a different level of confidence after practicing against Ryan Harrow for second year in a row instead of a new point guard…
Polson: “Not really. I was always just trying to go at whoever I was going against in practice. Ryan’s a really good player. We’re really good players. We just try to push each other, and we’ve really been doing that in the past few practices. It’s definitely helping us both out.”

On if he had a comfort level this year as opposed to the previous seasons…
Polson: “Yeah. Just getting more playing time – that’s making me more comfortable.”

On if he thought there would be playing time available after all the turnover from last year’s team…
Polson: “Yeah, definitely I knew that the roster might be a little shorter this year. I was just trying to take advantage of that opportunity so it worked out so far.”

On importance of taking a five-game win streak into the Florida game…
Polson: “It’s really important. We’re on a little streak. We’ve got a little streak going on so hopefully we can take that on the road. We know we’ve got to play even better than what we played today or the past five games. We’re going to try to be tough and practice hard and see what happens.”

On if he consciously thinks that he has to bring energy to the court or if it’s just “what he does”…
Polson: “I’m consciously thinking about it. Probably in high school, I wasn’t the most energetic guy so I just tried to change my mindset once I got to college. It’s working out and getting me more minutes.”

On how much the Maryland game was a turning point for him…
Polson: “I think more than anything (it was) just a confidence booster really. I thought I always could play at this level but I guess that just kind of showed me I really could — a real example.”

On if he and Willie Cauley-Stein talk on the bench about having to be the “hype” guys when they go in…
Polson: “Me and Willie always talk about it. We just try to bring energy. We’re coming off the bench.  We kind of like that. We both like to dive on the floor and stuff like that. We just like to do it.”

On what it takes to break through against Florida…
Polson: “Shoot, I mean, we’ve just got to play our roles really. That’s Cal’s biggest thing. We’ve just got to do what we’re best at. If we all play our roles and all play hard, I think we could be one of the best teams in the country.”

On if the physical games are a problem for him…
Polson: “Not really. I kind of like the more physical games to be honest. I kind of bring that in and I like it more.”

On if he’s always been that way…
Polson: “No, in high school I was pretty skinny and weak, so the weight room’s helped a little bit in college.”

On if he thought there was a chance this game would get out of control…
Polson: “You all saw it get out of control a little bit but I don’t think anything crazy would have happened. The refs did a good job of getting everything under control. There were a few plays that happened but we’ve just got to play our game and not worry about that stuff.”

On if the physical way Auburn played is the standard approach to playing a young team like Kentucky…
Polson: “Yeah. I think that’s what most teams are doing to us right now. Just trying to be really physical with us and beat us up. I think we’re doing a lot better playing against that.”

On if the team expects more of that approach….
Polson: “Yeah. Every game from now on, it’s going to be physical. We expect it every game.”

On if the reason teams play Kentucky physically is that Kentucky is more athletic…
Polson: “I definitely think so. We do have two 7-footers who are more athletic than little guards. I think teams have to do something to negate that talent and length and athleticism we have.”

On if it’s frustrating to play against that style of play…
Polson: “It’s (college basketball) gotten a lot more physical. I think we embrace it. Maybe not during the beginning of the year but I think we’re embracing it more and more, so that’s going to help us out.”

On how he can tell the team is embracing that style of play more now…
Polson: “Less turnovers. We’ve been doing more physical stuff in practice, getting at each other on defense. Just all of that stuff.”

On if there’s a fine line between handling flagrant fouls with composure and being too passive…
Polson: “Yeah, you can’t be soft. No one can, but you can’t go crazy. On the other hand, you can’t go out of control. We might get kicked out of the game or something. We’ve got to let them know we’re not going to back down but at the same time, we’ve got to keep our heads straight. I think we did a good job of it today.”

On if Calipari has given him the green light to shoot…
Polson: “I’ve always had the green light pretty much. It just felt good so he kicked out to me and I was open. I just figured I’d shoot it.”

On why he likes more physical games…
Polson: “I don’t really know. I just like it. I think it’s more fun.”

On if he thought Auburn played a “clean game,” as coach Tony Barbee said…
Polson: “I think for the most part it was clean – a few plays here and there but for the most part, yeah I agree.”

On what about this team makes opponents go for the physical style of play against them…
Polson: “I just think we’re really long and athletic. They’ve got to do something to combat that. Usually that’s just being physical and that’s what most teams are doing to us.”

On what former Wildcat Derek Anderson said to the team on Friday…
Polson: “His main topic was just attitude. He kind of told his story – where he came from a really bad background. He just said he’s always had a good attitude in life and that was his main point. Just having a good attitude in life no matter what life throws at you.”

On why that was a theme this team needed to hear…
Polson: “He kind of talked about his team, the ’96 team, about how all of them had good attitudes toward each other. That’s kind of what he’s trying to get at with us sometimes. People were talking about us throwing our heads down or something like that, not having a good attitude, so it was kind of a wake-up call. I think it was good for us.”

2 Responses to Ashley Scoby goes in depth with UK guard Jarrod Polson on his play, team play, physical game and more

  • Karen Sprinkle says:

    Nice! I think Jarrod brings a calm confidence in his game this year, and it’s really paid off for this team. I know he is scheduled to graduate in May, but I hope he gets the opportunity to stick around for another year and contribute to the success of the team.

  • Anonymous says:

    Nice article, Ashley. Jarrod has contributed a lot to the team’s upward move and will continue to do so. Just glad that he and Ryan are challenging each other to do their best.

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