Polson Gave Cats a Boost, But Calipari Gives Goodwin the Ball Against Duke

Posted by Brian Joyce on November 13th, 2012

Former walk-on Jarrod Polson made for a great story Friday night. He subbed in for starter Ryan Harrow, who was ill with the flu, and provided inspiring play and energetic defense in 22 minutes against Maryland. The junior guard added career highs with three assists and 10 points, including two game-saving free throws with 7.7 seconds remaining. He was the talk of, well, everyone making #Polson a trending topic on Twitter late Friday evening.

Polson came up big for UK against Maryland. (Photo via Kentucky.247sports)

He was, of course, the talk after the game as well with Maryland coach Mark Turgeon. When asked how much his Terrapins prepared for the junior guard to play, he responded, “zero.” Turgeon then said, “We weren’t thinking about him. Then he was the whole key to the game.” So it is only natural to think that when Kentucky fans heard that Harrow would not make the trip  to Atlanta as he still deals with the effects of the flu, the talk turned again to Polson. The unlikely hero was every bit deserving of the publicity he received, but don’t expect him to be the major storyline again.

That’s because Kentucky coach John Calipari will need more speed and athleticism to match up with Duke’s quick backcourt. He has both of those skills in freshman two-guard Archie Goodwin, who should start as the floor general on Tuesday after scoring 16 points in the season opener. But that doesn’t mean UK’s coach will want Goodwin to play the same way. “He’s got to do what he does, yet as he’s attacking as a point guard and they all come in, you must pass,” Calipari said. “But you’ve got to keep attacking. Don’t take away from what you are. Then you shouldn’t be the point guard. I want him to do what he does, but he’s just got to recognize that when they crowd that lane you can’t (just throw it up). He threw some shots (Friday) that I couldn’t believe – spinning, behind-his-head throw — and the guys are open. But that’s his learning.”

Goodwin is comfortable sliding over to the other guard position when needed. “I feel very comfortable with it,” Goodwin said. “Coach Cal has confidence in me, and with him having confidence in me, that’s all I need. I have confidence in myself and my teammates do as well, so as long as we have an understanding and bond with each other, we should be fine.” And in Kentucky’s first battle with Duke in over 10 years, Goodwin is needed to step up. Kentucky fans certainly want to see the hometown hero Polson shine again Tuesday night, similar to what walk-on and Lexington native Cameron Mills did against Duke in 1998. Polson might just come off the bench to give the Cats solid minutes against the Blue Devils, but it seems more likely that if Kentucky is going to pull off the victory, it will need the freshman shooting-turned-point guard Goodwin to become the trending Twitter hashtag coming out of Atlanta.

Brian Joyce is a writer for the SEC microsite and regular contributor for Rush The Court. Follow him on Twitter for more about SEC basketball at bjoyce_hoops.

Brian Joyce (333 Posts)

Brian Joyce is an advanced metrics enthusiast, college hoops junkie, and writer for the SEC basketball microsite for Rush the Court.

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