NEW YORK – After a roller coaster career at Kentucky, Alex Poythress endured one more low point Thursday night when he went unselected at the NBA Draft.
A 6-foot-8 former McDonald’s All-American, Poythress was considered a lottery pick early in his freshman season but suffered from inconsistent play the remainder of his career – plus a torn ACL in his left knee just eight games into his junior season.
He confessed after his senior campaign that the knee had not fully healed and committed to heavy rehab before reportedly impressing with his renewed athleticism in workouts for 11 NBA teams before the draft. ESPN projected him to be a late second-round pick, and Poythress was hopeful.
“If there’s a better athlete, a more dominating kind of athlete in this draft, tell me who he is,” UK coach John Calipari said. “I know this: There’s not a better person – kid’s like a 4.0 student, he graduated in three years – than Alex. You don’t go wrong with a pick like that.”
Calipari said he and Cats assistant coach Kenny Payne talked to an upbeat Poythress shortly before the draft, right after an encouraging workout.
“I could tell that he had a smile on his face about how he’s working out and the responses he’s getting,” Calipari said. “And I told him, I said, ‘You know, it’s been a tough, long road because of injuries and other things, but this is your chance.’ ”
Now it seems likely Poythress will either sign as an undrafted free agent or earn an invitation to an NBA Summer League roster for one more shot to prove himself.
Kentucky’s Jamal Murray, Skal Labissiere and Tyler Ulis were drafted No. 7, 28 and 34 overall to the Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns. Calipari has had 28 players picked in seven drafts at UK.
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