Most Recent Posts
- Neal Brown on Mobley, Sanders, Miller, Borden, Shields, Kendrick, Timmons and more
- Humphrey “grateful” that Archie Goodwin got to play under John Calipari
- Brown says line, receiver are offensive recruiting needs; OL Kelly commits
- Goodwin getting “postive feedback” from workouts with various NBA teams
- Ohio twins will transfer from Pittsburgh to Kentucky
- Photo Gallery: Alex Poythress at Camp Cal
- Ohio RB Mikel Horton did all he could to help convince Georgia RB Boom Williams to commit to UK
- Boom Willams expects to make impact returning punts, kickoffs
By JONATHAN STARK
NICHOLASVILLE Ã¢â‚¬â€Ã‚Â ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no doubt that Jessamine County has been shaken up by Jarrod Polson first walking on at the University of Kentucky basketball program and then earning a scholarship.
People have followed his progress at UK this season, whether it be him pumping up his teammates from the bench or getting to play the final few minutes of blowout victories. PolsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s freshman season has taken him all over the map: Oregon, Maui,Ã‚Â North Carolina and the yearly tour of the southeast for conference play.
He played under the bright lights of the Georgia Dome in Atlanta at the SEC Tournament. He went to the warm temperatures of Tampa, Fla., for the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament and then the frigid cold of Newark, N.J., for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. This weekend, he will be with UK in Houston, Texas, for the Final Four.
Polson hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been alone during most of his travels. The average fan may not have the time or finances to make these treks, but PolsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s parents, George and Chrisi, have been on the road nearly as much as their son.
This past weekend, the Polsons were on hand to see the Wildcats take down No. 1 seed Ohio State Friday night and then rival UNC on Sunday in Newark.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just been beyond our expectations,Ã¢â‚¬Â George Polson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“To put it in words is hard just because itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s every UK fanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s dream to just be in this.Ã¢â‚¬Â
As a parent to a UK basketball player, the emotional investment in the program is tenfold.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You absolutely cheer your heart and soul out. Just being from Kentucky, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re rooting for the team, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s magnified on so many levels when you have a son playing,Ã¢â‚¬Â George said.
The Polson family drove up to Newark, N.J., for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight and plans on driving to Houston on Friday for the Final Four. They are hopeful to stay through the remainder of the tournament.
Players are given six tickets each to give to friends and family for SaturdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s game against Connecticut. Jarrod will be cheered on in Houston by his parents, his two older brothers and two younger sisters.
In all the ruckus and celebration, Jarrod and his parents havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t had a chance to connect except through a few texts.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“(Jarrod) was just absolutely elated beyond belief,Ã¢â‚¬Â George said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He texted us after the Ohio State game and said it was the best game heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ever been a part of. That was prior to the North Carolina game, and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure he would say the same for that.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The turnaround in the UK basketball program over the past two seasons has happened very quickly. Many were expecting a Final Four trip in the near future, but many are surprised it happened this quickly and with this group of players.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I was teasing someone today that Jarrod seems to be the good luck charm wherever heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s at,Ã¢â‚¬Â George said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just a wonderful thing … I think there were kind of doubts about the team early because of the way they were playing … then it finally clicked going into the SEC tournament, and from there on it was like this was a different team. They finally got it.Ã¢â‚¬Â
PolsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s parents see every day the hard work and sacrifice their son puts in at practice. Many times he has come home bruised and bloodied.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“(Jarrod) comes home with battle scars a lot,Ã¢â‚¬Â George said. During practice, Jarrod has to match up against the likes of Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Jarrod has to literally bang up on those guys to try and simulate a game condition. He definitely has an impact on their game preparation.Ã¢â‚¬Â
During his senior year at West Jessamine, Polson and the Colts went to the Sweet 16 for the second year in a row. After defeating Muhlenberg County, West advanced to the Elite Eight, where it lost to Shelby Valley 67-54. Polson left West as the schoolÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all-time leading scorer with 1,884 points. He also holds the state records for most free throws attempted and made in a game.
At West, he averaged 17.1 points a game and dished out 482 assists while shooting 55 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from three-point range.
His numbers at UK this season havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been quite like other freshmen on the squad. Polson last saw action in the SEC title game against Florida, which the Cats won 70-54. He has seen time in 17 games this season, playing 31 total minutes, scoring six points and collecting two rebounds.
The staggering dropoff in stats and minutes may have affected some players and deterred their drive, but PolsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s father says heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been handling it well all season and there has been no dip in morale.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“(Jarrod) understands the whole situation and is not down at all,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
As a parent, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a bit more frustrating.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re up by 30 and thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s five minutes left, you want your kid out there. You want the other kids out there too, like Jon Hood and Stacey Poole. You want to see everyone get some time,Ã¢â‚¬Â George said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But at the same time, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not the best coaches in world, just fans. You almost have to take yourself back a little bit and just let the coaches coach.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Just as the players have gelled together over the season, the parents have as well. Kentucky recruitment knows no bounds, having nearly had a Turkish player on the team. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not as easy to get to games for some as it is for the Polsons.
However, in the past few weeks with the postseason tournaments going on, more parents are getting to see their children. The Polsons have become friendly with the parents of Josh Harrellson, Darius Miller and Hood to name a few. In the past few weeks, the families of Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight and Poole have joined the ever-growing group, too.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You get really close to these parents and families because youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re with them a lot,Ã¢â‚¬Â George said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“When weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re in Houston, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll all be staying in the same hotel.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Polsons know that JarrodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s college decision has had an impact on the rest of Jessamine County.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This has really been an impact on Jessamine County Ã¢â‚¬â€ the schools, the kids. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s like everyone has adopted Jarrod as their own,Ã¢â‚¬Â George said.
But for the Polson family, their world gets turned upside down with every UK win.