Poythress plans to return to UK

UK forward Alex Poythress performs a dunk after receiving the ball during the second-half of the UK men’s basketball game against Buffalo, in Rupp Arena on Sunday, November 16, 2014. Photo by Marcus Dorsey

By Kevin Erpenbeck

[email protected]

Cross off one opening on UK Basketball’s 2015-16 starting five.

After much anticipation, junior forward Alex Poythress announced on his Twitter account his decision to return to UK for his senior year.

The news came right after head coach John Calipari said he expected Poythress to return to UK at his Adolph Rupp Coach of the Year award ceremony on Thursday.

“We’ve talked. He’ll be fine,” Calipari said at the ceremony. “I’m so anxious to get him and Marcus Lee on the court because it’s their time now. This is their time.”

Poythress figures to play a big role for the Cats next year, being the only upcoming senior on the team. He played in the first eight games during the 2014-15 season before tearing his ACL, knocking him out for the year.

After UK’s loss to Wisconsin in the Final Four, Calipari said if it wasn’t for the injury, he thought Poythress would have declared for the NBA Draft at the end of the year. UK had seven players decide to pursue a professional career, which accounted for over 80 percent of its offense.

Freshman point guard Tyler Ulis has yet to officially announce his future plans, but it is expected that he will return to UK next year. Lee, Dominque Hawkins and Derek Willis are also expected to return and could see significant playing time next year.

When asked about if UK was done recruiting for next year, Calipari said there is still some prospects he plans on speaking with, but he’s comfortable with where the team is at.

“Some guys have to talk to us, but I think we’re going to be fine,” Calipari said. “At the end of the day, it’s going to be crazy again.”