Jarrod Polson working for playing time with confidence


at basketball media day in Lexington, Ky., on Thursday, September 12, 2013. Photo by Emily Wuetcher

By Nick Gray | Sports Editor

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At the beginning of last season, senior guard Jarrod Polson prepared for another year as a gently-used backup point guard at UK.

Twelve months later, Polson’s confidence and game is soaring to new heights.

“Confidence was the biggest thing (that improved) for me last year,” Polson said.

Polson sat the bench for his first two years and said he became discouraged.

“But last year gave me a wake-up call that I could play in the SEC and on this team,” he said.

Polson said his limited playing time in his first two seasons was hard — he played 62 total minutes in 28 games.

“I felt like I could be out there, but at the same time there was so much talent around me.”

He said playing against future NBA players, he knew he couldn’t be too discouraged because they were the best players in the nation.

“That gave me confidence that if I could go against them, I could go against anyone,” he said.

As a junior, Polson again found himself playing second fiddle to a new point guard, this time Ryan Harrow, a transfer from North Carolina State University.

Harrow was a top-50 recruit in high school and earned a spot in the Wolfpack’s starting lineup in the final 15 games of the 2010-11 season before coming to UK.

Polson was the only other point guard on the roster, so when Harrow fell ill shortly before the Cats’ season opener against Maryland, Polson got his first opportunity to play extended minutes for UK.

“I had an inkling that year would be the year,” he said. “I always thought since freshman year that if I gave it a couple of years that some good things would happen.”

He said he didn’t realize he would play as much as he did.

Polson delivered, hitting the final two free throws in a 72-69 victory over the Terrapins, recording 10 points, three rebounds and two assists on the night.

Through the rest of last season, Polson played in every game, starting and scoring 11 points in the Cats’ loss to the University of Tennessee Volunteers.

In the final game of the year, the NIT First Round game at Robert Morris University, Polson played a career-high 31 minutes and added 10 points in UK’s season-ending loss to the Colonials.

With another crop of highly-touted freshman guards at UK this season, Polson has to battle again for playing time.

His competition now are three 5-star recruits.

But Polson is confident in his game and in his outlook for the next six months of basketball.

“It’s going to be a battle every day in practice for who gets to play the most minutes,” Polson said. “But I think the confidence that I gained last year is going to help me in practice because I know I can go against anybody and I am not going to back down against anyone.”