John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, Marquis Teague, Jarrod Polson. One of those names does not exactly belong. However, even John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats, known for recruiting big names and future pros, can find a diamond in the rough sometimes.
Jarrod Polson made a couple big plays Friday night and provided steady point guard play with Ryan Harrow on the bench battling an illness. Polson is the opposite of Nerlens Noel. Obviously, Noel was highly touted, but is also 6-foot-10 with the ability to jump out of Rupp Arena. Noel will see himself get drafted in the lottery of the NBA draft, see millions of dollars before he is even 23 years of age and will not even have to graduate college to do it. On the other hand, Polson is an unimpressive 6-foot-2. He is somewhat limited athletically and will undoubtedly spend four years at college only to have to find a job like any other average Joe.
Yet it was Polson who exceeded expectations Friday night. Noel was outplayed by the talented Alex Len, produced modest numbers offensively and was physically overmatched on the defensive end. Meanwhile, Polson was a nuisance defensively, and was extremely efficient on offense. He finished with ten points on four of five shooting from the field. He made both of his free throws and managed to have three assists without a turnover.
Noel is an import from another region of the country who is using Kentucky as a stepping stone. His dream is not to play at Kentucky. It is to play at the next level. Polson is a local kid who likely dreamed his entire life of playing at Kentucky. For him, Friday night was the night his dream was fulfilled.
So the question becomes for Polson: what do you do after you have already accomplished your dream?