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By LARRY VAUGHT
Senior Jarrod Polson is realistic about where he stands on the pecking order on the Kentucky basketball depth chart this season.
That’s why he’s hoping to continue to impress coach John Calipari Monday night when UK faces Montevallo in an exhibition game as the UK coach tries to decide how many players he’ll use on a regular basis this year.
Polson’s hope it that Calipari will use as many as 10 players per game, not only seven or eight as he has indicated he might.
“I mean, that is what obviously some of the guys like me who are more down on totem pole are hoping. We are trying to convince him that we can play, too. I don’t know honestly how the rotation will be. I don’t know if he will play seven or eight or nine or 10. We are just trying to prove that we can play, too,” Polson said after Friday’s win over Transylvania.
Calipari got frustrated with his starters and twice substituted five players at a time Friday, something that would suit Polson, a backup point guard.
“That would be great with me. It would mean I get to play more. I think it worked great tonight, but I don’t know … I have never seen him do that before,” Polson said. “I don’t know if that was just him proving a point or something. It worked tonight and maybe that will be something for the future.”
Polson had five points, three rebounds, one steal and one assist in 18 minutes with freshman Andrew Harrison, the expected starting point guard, out with a bruised knee. But no matter who plays, Calipari has made it clear that a lack of effort will earn a spot on the bench this season.
“He put that message out tonight by doing the five-man rotation. That is something we couldn’t really do last year just because we didn’t have enough players,” Polson said. “He tells us a lot that if you are not contributing and helping the team, then he is going to sit you and he has the players to do it this year.
“When I went out there, I had played the point for three years and I know the position in and out. The biggest thing we were trying to do was just push the ball. I think Aaron (Harrison) just playing the point for the first time is not comfortable with that. It is a process for him.”
Aaron Harrison, Andrew’s twin brother, has been a two guard but started at point Friday in his brother’s absence.
“He has had his brother beside him who has handled all the point guard duties, so it is literally new for him. He is going through some growing pains with that, but he is really good,” Polson said. “He is just a natural basketball player, so you put him anywhere and he is going to do a good job. It is just a process where he’s going to have to play some point at some time, so we’ll see.
“It does hurt that Andrew is out. He is a really good point guard. I am just always ready whenever my number is called. I think Aaron is way more comfortable at the two. He has done a good job at the one, but his natural position is the two and he does a lot better with that. It will be better when Andrew is back and then can just put me in there sometimes.”