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By LARRY VAUGHT

Sporting News columnist Mike DeCourcy did two things I really liked with his player rankings — he noted that Alex Poythress’ freshman season was not a total failure and he pointed out just how good freshman Julius Randle will be.

DeCourcy is ranking the top players at each position — he had UK freshman point guard Andrew Harrison No. 2 at point guard — and he has Randle as the third best power forward. Based on what I’ve seen, that might be too low because Randle could easily contend for freshman of the year honors just like John Wall, Brandon Knight and Anthony Davis did.

Here’s what DeCourcy wrote about Randle: “It seems possible Randle will have a greater impact on the Kentucky Wildcats’ season than on the 2013-14 season as a whole. He will be one of the most important components of their championship drive, a physically overwhelming force along the baseline who remains versatile enough to step away from the basket and make a few jump shots. Then again, DeMarcus Cousins made AP All-American averaging 15.1 points in 24 minutes per game. Randle’s going to play more than that, and maybe do more, as well.”

Randle will do a lot. To me, he’s the key to UK’s championship hopes because of his physical presence and versatility.

DeCourcy ranked Poythress as the No. 6 small forward — and that’s probably a lot higher than many UK fans would put him.

“We all know how disappointing Poythress’ freshman season was for the Wildcats, how John Calipari frequently challenged him to play with greater maturity, how many times Poythress found himself stewing on the bench. Would it surprise you to know that even with all that, Poythress still averaged 11.2 points and 6.0 rebounds and shot 58 percent from the floor? Those numbers were almost by accident,” DeCourcy wrote. “What if he returns for his second season with confidence and wisdom and a better sense of how to impact the game from the perimeter?”

And the guess here is that Poythress will do just that.

12 Responses to DeCourcy right about potential of both Randle and Poythress

  • Judi Cole says:

    Poythress reminds me a lot of Terrence Jones who matured so much in his sophomore year and is beloved by fans for his contributions to the championship team. I think Poythress will leave his own legacy at UK and will be a force to be reckoned with next season.

  • Andy says:

    I am sure Randle will bring out the competitiveness between him and AP. Those 2 together on the floor would be beastly. Harrison Twins, Randle, Poythress and Wille Stein would be quite the starting line up.

    • larryvaught says:

      Andy, I still think as highly touted as Randle is, he might yet be better than most fans realize

  • ukscat says:

    I tend to be pessimistic to keep myself sane . . . but I remember Wiggins completely shutting down Randle in their first all-star meeting.
    I’m confident Alex is a gentle giant that Cal will eventually “flip”.
    Teams win the deal – - Jerry West won it all once, Ted Williams “nonce”.

  • David says:

    Randle just might be another Jamal Mashburn, Jamal was one of my all time favorites. Could handle the ball like a guard, could pass the rock like a point guard, could shoot the three as good as any 2 guard and his drives to the bucket were not all dunks he could finger tip roll those layups with either hand, just had an awesome touch around the rim.

    I hope Randle is just like Jamal!

  • GrampyBlue says:

    Alex had stats = or > Mash had his freshman year. He’ll be OK!

  • AndyP says:

    ukscat, you’re confusing Randle with Jabari Parker. That’s the kid that Wiggins totally dominated in the Micky D game.

    I agree with Larry on Randle’s potential – the sky’s the limit.

    I have to see Alex play much smarter, handle the ball in traffic, and see him put the ball on the floor and create his shot before I’ll be convinced that he was not over rated coming out of high school. He’s a superior athlete trying to play a game that he really doesn’t understand.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree 100% with AndyP’s comments…I would add that Alex needs to learn how to go to his left and stay away from that base line where he continually stepped out of bounds or found himself too far under the basket. Look at the bright side Alex, we’re all pulling for you at BBN. Dakari Johnson in the picture on KRS looks to be in great shape and is going to surprise a lot of people with his offensive skill level…I pity those defensive players who run into this wall on picks-WOW!

  • Karen Sprinkle says:

    I saw an interview with Dominque Hawkins who talked about the already epic one on one battles between Randle and Poythress. The increased competition at practice can only help each of these players get better. Speaking of Hawkins, he had a great game (33 points) in the second game of the All Star series with Indiana. He may be able to push Andrew Harrison in practice a lot more than most people think.

    Bottom line–this is going to be a fun team to watch!

  • King Ghidora says:

    erererererererererererererererererererererererererererererererererererererererererererererererererererPersonally I thought that AP was a freshman who had been used to getting passes on his cuts and lobs on his back door jumps. He did not get those things at UK last year. I very much admire Polson but his talent level is limited. The other PG had his head somewhere else the whole season and maybe for good reason. One 2G is the one who really didn’t understand the game very well at all. And the other 2g was a designated shooter so he wasn’t expected to get the ball to AP in position to score.

    The Cats will NOT have that problem this coming season and neither will AP. I expect to see many great things from him. I can’t help but think about how he had 20 or more 4 straight games then, when Harrow came back, he got only ONE FGA for the entire game. It’s hard to score 20 when you only get one shot off. The next few games whenever Alex got shots he made them at a fantastic rate. He would go 6/10, 7/9, 6/8, etc. etc.. He can score the ball. He just isn’t great at creating his own scoring opportunities. I think that won’t be a problem for him this year. He will have improved on creating his own shots and there will certainly be players capable of getting him the ball in scoring position.

    I think he will have a fine year by any standards. Remember too that after scoring 20 4 times in a row the competition started concentrating on him. But he still made his shots

  • King Ghidora says:

    Sorry about leaning on the key there at first. I didn’t notice that had happened until I had posted. I don’t know how the cursor got back to the start either. Computers are funny things.

  • AndrewB says:

    Alex P is a great young man who, even in High School, was team oriented. I believe King G hit the nail on the head with his assessment of point guard play. Alex shot over 50% in nearly every game and yet where was he getting passes. The guy was a star amongst his senior piers in the McD and other all-star games. He had a pretty admirable
    He is a solid player who, much like Patrick Patterson, was a bit timid his first year (and yes, he too was built like a tank).

    Randle and Alex P at forwards plus a bit of Young, Witjer, Lee and Willis action = most likely one of the best collection of forwards on a college basketball team in a while. (If you haven’t seen Willis play, you may not appreciate his upside)

    WCS and Dakari in the paint: my WORD!

    The inside is solid and strong. Alex will be a major factor in the success of this team…and that’s what I believe.

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