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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.