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Jarrod Polson’s father says son has “fan following that is kind of different than the normal Cat”

UK coach John Calipari talks to point guard Jarrod Polson during the win over Missouri Saturday. (Victoria Graff photo/all rights reserved)

UK coach John Calipari talks to point guard Jarrod Polson during the win over Missouri Saturday. (Victoria Graff photo/all rights reserved)


As he’s watched his son, Jarrod, play for four years at Kentucky, George Polson admits the overall experience has been even better than he anticipated it might be.

“It’s been better because of the increased playing time the last two years,” said George Polson as the senior guard, a former walk-on who earned a scholarship, prepares to play his final game in Rupp Arena Tuesday night against Alabama. “Obviously, getting a (national) championship in 2012 even though he was not playing a lot was special because not everybody does that. He has been to two Final Fours.

“I could not say anything except that his experience has been beyond what I expected. We fully expected him to play, but we didn’t know how many minutes. We didn’t think he would be a walk-on player who never got in a game. We figured he would play some. So in some ways his career has been more than we expected and in other ways about what we expected.”

Polson averaged 18.2 points, 6.4 assists and 4.9 rebounds as a senior at West Jessamine High School and led his team to two straight 12th Region championships. He finished his career as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,884 points and picked walking on at UK over a scholarship offer from Liberty.

He played in 17 games as a freshman, including appearances against Florida, Indiana and North Carolina. During UK’s national championship season, he got in 11 games, including the NCAA Tournament win over Western Kentucky. He opened his junior season with 10 points and three assists in 22 minutes against Maryland and finished it with 10 points, three assists and a career-high 31 minutes against Robert Morris and became reliable performer for coach John Calipari.

This year he’s played a season-high 30 minutes against Mississippi State and has played in 24 games. Overall, he’s been in 85 games and scored 133 points in four years.

Every year, though, he’s been one of UK’s most popular players — and had girls show up at games with signs asking for dates or even a marriage proposal. However, his popularity transcends any age or sex barriers.

“It still blows my mind how popular he’s become,” George Polson said. “It is young men, old men, young boys, coaches, women, girls. You just go across the board and the support for Jarrod is there, especially locally. He is everybody’s son or grandson. I still have people come in my work to talk to me and bring me articles about Jarrod or just talk about the game.

“Another person came in the other day to get my autograph. That’s happened three or four times. It’s kind of weird each time and I think people are pulling my leg, but they are really not. Just various things like that remind me of how popular he really is.

“He has a fan following that is kind of different than the normal Cat. I told him recently that he might thinks this ends when the last whistle blows, but he’s going to be more in demand for speaking appearances and stuff like that. That’s usually reserved for star players, but he gets it and he’s not a star player. It just goes back to him being like your son, grandson. Everybody relates to him. Every Joe Fan can relate to Jarrod because he’s one of them.”

Yet what George Polson is most proud of concerning his son did not happen on the court. Instead, it’s his academic and off-court success.

“He is going to have two degrees (finance and marketing) and one minor (communications) in four years,” George Polson said. “I don’t know of any other player who has done that. That’s made me so proud.

“Then from a faith perspective, to be involved in all he has for his time at UK has been wonderful. His faith has grown exponentially since he’s been at UK, and that’s unusual. I am more proud of that than anything. He’s been on a mission trip and was nominated for the Southeastern Conference Good Works team. How could I not be proud of that.”

Plus, George Polson has also seen how teammates respect his son.

“His teammates truly do love him. Everybody knows he’s different than the normal scholarship player and how special his story at Kentucky has been,” George Polson said. “It’s going to be emotional for all of us (on Tuesday night), but there are no regrets. He followed his dream to Kentucky and we couldn’t be prouder of him.”

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  1. Kokamo Joe

    It is no secrete. Kentucky fans love Kentucky bred players. Polson was bought to UK as a walk on…a player who was not expected to play much. He had to play both last year and this year because our stars needed help. He has shown an ability to distribute the ball better than the Harrisons. He has earned a degree, something that we are not likely to see from any of our hot shot recruits.

    Lawrenceburg and Harrodsburg still talk about their “boys” who went to UK and became stars. Both of those Kentucky kids played decades ago. We love the home town boys who made it big on the big blue stage, even if they play minor roles like Polson.

    Calipari will continue to pick a few locals to give the team a little Kentucky flavor. They are not likely to play unless his star recruits falter. But play or not, we love our home town boys.

  2. Sherri G

    He deserves every bit of attention he gets. He epitomizes the concept of student athlete and Wildcats fans will always have a special place in out hearts for one of our own…especially when they work as hard as Polson has..

  3. Karen Sprinkle

    Senior Day is always emotional at UK, as it’s always difficult to say goodbye to our seniors. It will be especially hard to say goodbye to Jarrod. I knew that he had graduated with his degree last year, but had no idea that he will have a second degree with a minor. That’s an absolutely incredible accomplishment in 4 years, especially with all the demands he has had on his time. His father is correct that the demand for speaking engagements and such will only increase once the season is over. I have no doubt Jarrod will be very successful in whatever the future holds for him. Kudos to this young man and his family!

  4. Anonymous

    Truly a great kid – – excuse me, young man.

  5. Brenda Sammons

    Congratulations to Jared, a real role model for all kids, wishing you all the best! Thanks for being a true, heart-felt Wildcat!

  6. Larry T Clemons

    Very proud of his ability, to make a difference on The Kentucky roosters, that are sprinkled with NBA Players, year in an year out…no question Jarrod would start at point at most Colleges. Glad he choose Kentucky. And, obviously, so is he.

    1. Kokamo Joe

      Let me make this clear. I am proud of Polson. He is a Kentucky bred young man. He has his degree and a double major. He has a bright future. He is much of what our stars are not…. a dedicated student who aspires to graduate. His talent does not stack up with the typical UK player and certainly not with the talent that we have now. Polson could have gone to Transy or Campbellsville and been a regular. He could not start at point guard for most college teams. Let’s not make him what he is not. But let us respect him for what he is…a walk on who earned a scholarship. A bright kid who represented his community and state well. A player who can help out when the Harrisons faulter. A player who graduated in three years and stuck around to work on more academics and to represent his state and home town another year. He is a rare individual in today’s business of college athletics.

      1. Anonymous

        You compliment the young man and demean him all in one paragraph. For example, “His talent does not stack up with the typical UK player and certainly not the talent that we have now.” and “He could not start at point guard for most college teams.” Is all that blabber necessary now?

        1. Kokamo Joe

          Truth, anonymous, truth. I was responding to a statement which indicated that Polson could start for most college teams. To say that that is not true does not demean this kid. He deserves credit for sticking with the program and finally getting a scholarship. He deserves credit for being a scholar. It is a compliment to contribute on a team filled with McDonald All Americans and future professional players.

          Suppose a high school kid with average intellectual ability busted his tail and made the honor roll every grading period and outshined kids with far more academic potential. Suppose the kid was valedictorian of his high school class. Would that be a greater accomplishment than some super bright kid who achieved the same honor while half trying.

          That is one reason that I respect Polson. No body ever expected him to play much. He was a walk on. Despite his lack of ability ….when compared to other UK players…he has achieved much.

          1. Anonymous

            Truth according to KJ is it? Let’s just talk basketball skill. There are a lot of different levels of college basketball. I say he accomplished much in the area of athletic achievement while at UK, and who knows what he could have accomplished at another college. You don’t know, nor will we ever know. Who even cares? Larry T was just giving some kudos to a fine young UK athlete on his way out. His career is ending. Why not just leave it at that is my point? Why do we need a dissertation from KJ on his skill level at this point in his career. Do you have some sort of extra perception that allows you to limit what this young man could or could not have done under different circumstances?

        2. Larry T Clemons

          That’s KOKO JO’s …M.O……Backhanded Compliments, then trash Coach Cal.

  7. Larry Pup

    I wish Jarrod all the best. He has been a great CAT. He will be missed.

  8. Stecec

    Jarrod is a good player and he will be missed by all but how many good Kentucky players have gone on to other schools like Vandy,Tenn. and so forth because they did’t figure they would play at Kentucky and how many have come back to bite us in the you know where, because of that fact and how many are we going to loose because they don’t think theywill get to play much. These future players are the one that bleed blue and have all the heart you need in a player just like Polson and Hood. So thanks fellows for doing a fine job of representing the BBN You will always have a place in our hearts.

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