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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.”

5 Responses to Polson trying to show Calipari he belongs in playing rotation

  • Kokano Joe says:

    Calipari’s history as been a 7 or 8 rotation. He has given his starters and potential NBA players the majority of playing time. He is now saying that he will continue that. I believe that he is being truthful.

    Logically it makes sense that if his freshmen are to move on to make room for next year’s freshmen they will get the most playing time. It is also logical that he will play his best players most of the time because they are the best that he has. The two talented sophomores had better work hard if they expect to crack his rotation.

    Polson is a fine young man. He walked on, was given a scholarship, and played last year because Calipari had to use him. If Polson plays much this year it will because the blue chippers are having problems and are not living up to what we expect or that players are hurt.

    Polson goes back to the same role that he had before last year…the bench. He will end his UK career with a MA and a life time “scholarship” if he chooses to live in Kentucky and avoids the mistakes of Richie Farmer.

  • Jim Harris says:

    Polson and Hood have both worked their butts off trying to help their teams in whatever way the coach chooses. IMO they both should be given all the minutes that the games allow. They’ve earned that much. And with this team there should be many games that aren’t even close. But Cal just doesn’t think that way—that his stars can still be learning while resting on the bench and watching the game. He could use this great depth and still have a team with fresh legs in April. Eventually, 4-year type players will understand this and further lower UK’s capability to maintain continuity from year to year. But so long as he continues to pull in mega-stars, he can contend for the title and keep nearly everyone happy.

  • King Ghidora says:

    I believe Cal likes to stick with a 7-8 man rotation because players have to play most of the minutes of a game to really be in game shape as the season gets into March. If you play 10 guys that means a lot of players won’t be getting more than 20 minutes per game and that can come back to bite you when more experienced players come up against you and they can play the entire game without getting jelly legs. Pitino managed to make that 10 man rotation thing work but not many others have. You want your best players to be ready to go the entire game if needed. Sometimes that just isn’t possible because players aren’t capable of doing it especially big men. But most of the time they get in much better condition playing 40 minutes a game than they can ever get in practice. They work much harder in a game. That’s just human nature. It’s also just true that if you don’t play a lot of minutes you might not be able to play a lot of minutes when the time comes that you must.

    Then again Cal has been known to say one thing and do another mostly because he wants to motivate his players. In this situation he’s trying to make them work extremely hard to get in the rotation by telling them that a lot of the good players won’t be playing that much. He could end up playing them anyway. You really just don’t know what’s going through Cal’s head. He is the master motivator IMO. He failed last year because he couldn’t threaten players with being benched. So he may be going overboard on telling players they may not play if they don’t hustle this year.

  • Bassmanb3 says:

    Polson get’s the start tonight

  • Dwain orten says:

    Agree completely on Polson and Hood they’ve earned minutes they are true bluers . We looked horrible in half court sets I think Polson and Hood both are unselfish enough (like that’s not evident) that they would improve our s pring in the half court offense and that the youngens could learn tremendously from grabbing some pine and watching . If your playing you just keep playing mind racing not the best place for learning . BBN pressure looms but if on the bench watch and learn relax and learn without pressure and a much clearer mind . Come on Cal play them and watch and learn oh and Harrison’s too lol

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