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By LARRY VAUGHT

There’s one thing that Kentucky senior Julius Mays always wants to see freshman Alex Poythress do more often.

“We are always trying to get him to smile and be excited. He is the only guy I know that will dunk on somebody and just run back down the court with his head down, We try to get a big smile or something out of him. I always want to encourage him to smile more,” said Mays. “He knows I want to see him smile. I want him to show excitement and show that you love playing basketball and not that the world is about to end tomorrow.”

But Mays also understands that Poythress is probably misunderstood by many UK fans who think he is not playing with the passion they want to see.
“That is how he has been since the day I met him and I am sure that is how he has been for his whole life. Now you are asking the kid to change. He’s still 19 years old. He has done it this way for his whole life. That’s all he has ever known. It is going to take time but I think he is starting to show emotion and it will come,” Mays said.

Actually, Poythress is emotional and passionate. He just doesn’t show it the way others might. Just ask his mother, Regina.

“I wish people would realize that everyone displays emotions and feelings in different ways. Just because Alex is not loud does not mean he is not passionate about the game. But the people closes to Alex already know that,” she said.

She basically confirmed what Mays suspected about Poythress merely playing the same way he has his whole life.

“Alex has always been soft spoken, respectful, grateful and confident but that should not be confused a sign of weakness. He has some nasty dunks that could be posterized but he doesn’t do anything to embarrass someone,” Regina Poythress said. “This comes from Alex being humble. He is not weak by no means. What it means it that he is humble, blessed and thankful for the is a position he is in.”

That position has been good. Or very good at times. He’s averaging 14 points and 6.3 rebounds per game going into the Southeastern Conference opener Thursday at Vanderbilt — which his mother will get to see in person since it is close to their home in Clarksville, Tenn. He’s also hitting a team-best 64.2 percent from the field.

“There is always room for improving. I have always been happy to see my son play the game he enjoy,” Regina Poythress said. “Because we realize this is a blessing,  Alex has never been concerned about averages.  Cal (John Calipari) is the coach and will determine playing time, but I am confident my son wants to continue to improve as a player and be an asset to the team.”

She’s right. Calipari knows that. Teammates know that.

He’s an intelligent, caring player who is not selfish or me-oriented. If anything, he may try to please others too often. Calipari has recently been putting him through individual workouts and says Poythress not only has been receptive to the workouts, but has improved.

“Can you bring something out of a kid that’s not in there?  I’ve never settled for that for any young man I’ve ever coached because in my mind, he doesn’t believe it’s in there, and I’ve got to convince him it is,” Calipari said after Wednesday’s win over Eastern Michigan when Poythress had 16 points and five rebounds. “So I told them, I’m not only building their confidence. You know who else’s confidence I’m building?  My confidence in them.

“Two days with Alex, I decide to start him (against Eastern Michigan). He was good enough that I looked at him and said I’ve got to start this kid. He’s that good. So he built my confidence in him, and I helped build his confidence. But I even told him, what did I do? I didn’t do anything. You did it. But I’m going to tell you, he’s halfway home. Half the way there to where we need him. So it’s still going to be weeks away. Maybe a month away. If he makes it, I’m okay if it’s a month away.”

17 Responses to Poythress’ mother says not to believe that her son is not passionate on the court

  • bryan mceuen says:

    I wish people would leave this guy the way he is, he will come around after all he just a kid enjoying his youth. It’s seems some people are forcing him doing things thats he’s not comfortable with. If everybody except coach Cal leave him alone he will come be the player that he is.

  • Karen Sprinkle says:

    You know, lots of players show their passion for the sport in different ways. For example, Julius Mays is always smiling and looks like he is having the time of his life anytime he is on the floor. Alex is of a more stoic demeanor, but I don’t believe that he lacks passion or he would not have become the player he is. I would like to see him smile more often, though, on a personal level (since he has a GREAT smile).

  • Stop it ! We all know that Coach got some great young men. We must accept the Fact that all our Players are just so dang Nice…They need to get Tougher and aggressive emotionally and physically…I said it all year, someone needs to stand at the tunnel before they enter the Rupp Arena Court and punch each Player in the Mouth to get the Adrenaline and aggressive juices flowing.

  • UK 24 7 says:

    Who are we to second guess what Regina Poythress says? Alex Poythress is from Clarksville Tn. where people are still humble and polite. He’s a good kid. I could care less if he smiles or screams like an idiot after a dunk. He has a very unique smoothness about his game that few posess. Calipari should teach him the fundamentals and not worry about his attitude. Tubby tried to change Rondo and we all know how that worked out.

  • Tom R says:

    Regina knows best, he has a competitive fire in his belly! I watched him live one game in HS and loved his quick spin move between defenders for layups or dunks. My layman’s observation is that the quick handed college players have often prevented those moves when in halfcourt offense. He has a decent outside shot and I believe he’ll eventually add new offensive weapons such as floaters or perhaps spinning left and right inside a couple of times, pump fakes, etc., to get free for good shots. BTW, Mays impresses me as a coach someday!

  • Hank Rippetoe says:

    I trust Coach Cal. He’s said the same things that many fans have been saying. Now, suddenly, those fans should quit the criticism?

    There ARE expectations at Kentucky. It comes with the territory. Cal recognized the lack of agression in Alex. Now it is a crime for the fans to have said the same thing?

    I believe Cal will straighten everything out and Alex will show us all that he is the player we thought he would be.

  • sharon says:

    As long as he playing like he need to be leave him Aloan

  • LindaS says:

    I’m a mama, if anyone says anything bad about Alex you will answer to me and his mother. I like the young man, you don’t have to be flashy, pose, beat the chest or anything else to have passion. Like his mother says, he is passionate and some people show it one way and some another. He is taking care of business, doing it his way, learning and getting better. Give him time, he will smile! Just as long as he is happy that is all I am worried about. Go Cats! Livin’ Blue & Lovin’ It!

    • I Love who Alex is…don’t read my words to harsh, I just understand the difference, when the quality of His Individualism and his Physical Strength and Skills are lead by the Confident Man ” HE WILL ” become, then he will be an unstoppable force…It’s just the next stage of Growth…We all are seeing LeBron James having that kind of growth, for the last 20 months…Just a more assertive, ” Take Over The Game ” kinda attitude…

    • John says:

      I agree 100% with you LindaS. We don’t need to see passion in that way. We want to see hustle and play every play.
      I think that is what Cal is talking about.
      Fans will confuse passion with celebrations, and smiles, and screaming.
      By that definition, Florida had more passion that UL in the Sugar Bowl.

  • Larry Pup says:

    Great young man in my book, great Mom.

  • UKFAN197TONE says:

    Did we hear the same things about Randolph Morris? I could swear I watched him jog down court and fall asleep and he still had a double double.

  • S C White says:

    I met him at the Women’s Clinic, and he was immediately one of my favorites. He was by no means shy, but his demeanor was not loud and aggressive. Well-mannered, polite, everything a mother could want. He was sitting with Jon Hood, and I told Hood I was from Dawson Springs and he made some silly remark. I then said, but I work in Nashville now. Alex immediately beamed and said my mother does, too. We talked another minute or two, but I immediately thought – what a great kid. I think he will do just great. Regina, we other mothers have your back and his! We know he will succeed. Go Big Blue!!

  • Dover Cat says:

    I hope Regina understands the BBN loves Alex. We as fans and more important adults should not be so quick to judge every single move these kids make.

  • UKFMLY says:

    Guys my mother in-law is telling me to post this. She lives in Clarkville and has watched Alex for a while and she says he is just a good kid that will be fine. I told her to read this site to keep up with Alex(best site on web). I for one believe her. We are all different and require different forms of motivation. He wants to be here, he worked hard to get here and he will do what Cal asks. Lighten up he is just a freshman.

    He reminds me of Mash his freshman year. Soft spoken but willing to work to get better. Heck I watched Eric Blesoe a while ago put up a top ten play of the day dunk on ESPN and he barely smiled as he ran back up court.

    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK GO BLUE OR STAY HOME

    • GrampyBlue says:

      He reminds me of Mash also and he’ll be fine. I don’t know how far U go back but Archie reminds me of James Blackman in certain situations. He was never afraid to take it to anyone and was capable of getting to the rim.

      I still think this team will be scary by tournayment time.

      Exciting Times To Be Part Of The BBN In All Sports!!!!!

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