Making a case for Alex Poythress


Forward Alex Poythress of the Kentucky Wildcats goes up for a dunk during the NCAA Tournament first round game against the Stony Brook Seawolves at Wells Fargo Arena on Thursday, March 17, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo by Michael Reaves | Staff.

Anthony Crawford

With the NBA Draft quickly approaching, UK head coach John Calipari has been active recently advocating and promoting his former players any way he can.

The latest string of sales pitches for each prospect came Tuesday morning during the SEC’s Pre-Draft/Summer teleconference.

Calipari said many of the things he was expected to say, throwing out Stephen Curry comparisons with Jamal Murray and discarding any defensive concerns about 5’10” Tyler Ulis. One of things that particularly stood out though was when he got on the topic of UK’s senior draft hopeful Alex Poythress.  

Calipari said during the conference he and Kenny Payne had talked with Poythress after a workout that had apparently gone well but then went on to discuss his particular NBA opportunity.

“Sometimes it’s in the Summer League. Like, that’s the last opportunity. Sometimes you’re a first-rounder, sometimes you’re a second-rounder, sometimes you’re going to camp,” Calipari said. “But you will – because you played here – get an opportunity, and probably more than you would and in a better position than anywhere else. But now you’ve gotta perform.”

As of now, Poythress projects to be a fringe second round pick. has him rated as the 77th best prospect, which makes it seem that Poythress will have to go the free agent route and work hard in the summer league to earn a roster spot.

Well this route doesn’t offer the security, if Poythress does have an impressive enough showing it allows him to have more control in where he goes. And the style of play in the summer league really fits his play.

With the teams being composed of various college and D-League level players with minimal practice time and team chemistry, the games are usually sloppy and fast paced — a perfect setting for the athletic specimen that Poythress is.

At this point, Poythress really needs to sell himself as a small-ball power forward, and he has a lot of the tools needed for that position. His athleticism is his biggest asset and if recent workouts are any indication, he looks to be closer to his pre-injury form, something that couldn’t be said for him much of this past season.

“Alex, if there’s a better athlete, a more dominating kind of athlete in this draft, tell me who he is,” Calipari said.

So if Poythress is able to capitalize on the chance that Calipari mentioned, then fans could see him make an NBA roster for next season despite his name being called on draft night or not.