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Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Player Preview: Alex Poythress

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Coming off of a season ending injury, Alex is looking to add a national championship to his Kentucky Wildcat credentials.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

#22 Alex Poythress

Height: 6'8"

Weight: 230 lbs

Position: Forward

Year: Senior

High School: Northeast

Follow @AlextheGreat22 on Twitter

Follow @alexthegreat22 on Instagram

Alex Poythress joined the Kentucky Wildcats a season after a national title in 2012. He had all of the accolades a high school player could desire and was projected as a top ten draft pick before his freshman season began. After a promising start, his game began to fade and the wheels came off of the team after Nerlens Noel went down with a torn ACL. The season ended in humiliating fashion as the Wildcats lost in the first round of the NIT to Robert Morris. Alex put his NBA aspirations on hold and decided to return for a sophomore season.

During his second year at Kentucky, he and the team experienced the same ups and downs as the previous season, but both were redeemed with a magical run to the national title game. Alex was integral in that run with his hustle, his athleticism, and his defense.

Coming into his junior year, it had seemed that he had turned a corner. He knew his role on the team as the hustle/energy guy even though he was playing out of position at the small forward spot. And then he, like Noel, tore his ACL. While Kentucky still had a super team, they missed Alex's defense, especially against Wisconsin in the Final Four. Alex would have most assuredly guarded Sam Dekker.

Alex is returning for his senior year and is looking to put another banner in the rafters.

Height: 6'8

Weight: 238 lbs

Minutes Per Game: 20.3

Points Per Game: 5.5

Rebounds Per Game: 3.8

Blocks Per Game: 1.5

Best Game in 2014/2015: vs. UT Arlington (4 pts, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks)

*only appeared in 8 games

2015/2016 Outlook: Right now this is hard to gauge. Alex is still rehabbing after his knee surgery and right now the hope that he will be ready for the start of the season, although that is not 100% certain. If Alex is able to go, then his length and athleticism will be vital in what should be one of the fastest offenses that we have seen at Kentucky since John Calipari became the head coach.

Alex will be able to play his natural position at power forward which will be a tough match up for any player in the country. He is an extremely strong player and a tenacious defender. In the 2014 NCAA Sweet 16, Luke Hancock was abusing James Young and scoring at will against Kentucky. When Young fouled out, Poythress guarded Hancock and shut him down. This is the type of defender that he can be.

His signature plays became monster put-back dunks and the chase-down-from-behind blocked shot. These are pure hustle plays. Alex has been a spotty shooter during his time as a Wildcat, but he has shown flashes of being able to pull up and nail a jump shot.

Alex has seen most of his best friends turn pro as he has stayed at Kentucky. His leadership will be key and his work ethic will be infectious.

Here is one of Alex's best outings as a Kentucky player. Dick Vitale says it right from the jump: He has to be more assertive.

And here are some more highlights of Poythress in action: