Polson a fan favorite living his dream



The crowd wanted Jarrod Polson to shoot the ball. The swelling noise was urging him — imploring him — to hoist up a shot.

Polson was one step inside the halfcourt line.

“I could hear it,” Polson said of the Rupp Arena crowd after the Dillard game. “It kind of makes you a little more nervous. But it was pretty cool.”

It’s happened in all three games now, for the two exhibition games and the regular-season opener against East Tennessee State.

Polson eventually obliged the fans in both exhibition games. Against Pikeville, he drove the lane and went for a layup that glanced off the rim. Against Dillard, he got fouled on a twisting drive and made one of two free throws, although both attempts elicited loud reactions from the crowd.

His official regular season stats right now read: one minute, zero points and one already beloved player.

Polson, a freshman guard has already assumed the mantle of the hometown hero who UK fans desperately want to see score anytime, and everytime, he touches the ball. Originally a walk-on from Nicholasville, Ky., Polson earned a scholarship before the school year began. It’s almost as if he is Mark Krebs’ protégé.

“Pretty much from the time I was born, I’ve wanted to play here,” Polson said. “I’m kind of living the dream, I guess you could say.”

However, one crucial element might exist for Polson this year. Typically, playing this particular role on the team means it’s victory time whenever he is inserted into the game. But given the state of the team’s depth chart, Polson could see minutes that matter (to the outcome, at least) as  a backup point guard.

“Coach (John) Calipari told me the way I’m going to get minutes is by trying to run the offense and not trying to do anything spectacular,” Polson said. “It doesn’t hurt that Coach Cal isn’t afraid to put me in the game.”

One of Polson’s defining traits as a player is playing within his limits.

“He knows what he doesn’t know,” Calipari said. “Jarrod only tries to do what he knows.”

And he is aware when he does attempt something outside of his basketball arsenal.

“(One practice) he drove down the middle, and got his floater up and made it,” Calipari said. “At one point he tried to do something, and I said, ‘Hey, whoah.’ He said, ‘my fault, what was I thinking?’”