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Kentucky Basketball: Is Alex a clone of Darius?

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As I listened to Tom Leach, Mike Pratt and Matt Jones work the Blue/White scrimmage the other night, there were several comments about Alex Poythress and his “disappearing” act. He would make a couple of plays and then seem to simply watch the others play. I seem to recall similar complaints about Darius Miller throughout his career at Kentucky.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone knew Miller had the talent, but he just didn’t have that “killer” instinct. Everyone has expected Poythress to be the next Michael Kidd-Gilchrest and have expressed disappointment that Alex doesn’t have that “killer” instinct. We all witnessed both players go into “beast” mode from time to time, but that has occurred nowhere near what our expectations were. We expected more from both.

Last year, Poythress averaged 11.24 points per game (second behind Goodwin’s 14.12). He shot 58.8% from the field and 42.2% beyond the arc. He was second to Nerlens Noel in rebounding, yet we expected more.

Miller, in his first year (2008-2009), averaged 5.31 points per game, shot 41.25% from the field and 32.73% beyond the arc. He was fourth on the team in rebounds. We all know how Miller’s career at UK ended. He was the “old man” and a key component on a national championship team. Throughout his career, though, we expected much more from the former Mr. Kentucky Basketball. In the end, we were quite pleased with Darius Miller.

After watching the replay of the Blue/White scrimmage on YouTube, I saw Alex Poythress differently than Jones, Pratt and Leach. I saw a player much like Miller in that he didn’t push the envelope and let the game come to him.

It seems to me that we are seeing the same personalities at play. While neither player was the definition of passivity, neither player brought the “killer” instinct to the floor very often. Both score(d) “quietly.” In the scrimmage, Poythress scored 6 points for the Blue team in 27 minutes, had 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block. He also played on the White team and scored 2 points in 11 minutes, had 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 turnover and 1 steal. You can see his stats here. Just like Darius Miller throughout his career, Poythress played a yeoman’s game. From time to time, we might (and have a few times) seen some emotion from both.

Just for the record, you can see Miller’s career stats at Jon Scott’s Big Blue History. For me, Miller was a consummate four year player.

My question for our readers is: Would it be all that awful if Alex stayed four years?