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Freshman Poythress staying with Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky coach John Calipari says that forward Alex Poythress will return for his sophomore season with the Wildcats.

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Projected as a first-round NBA draft pick when he arrived last fall as part of another highly-touted recruiting class, the 6-foot-7 forward had a rollercoaster freshman season. He made the Southeastern Conference's all-Freshman Team but was criticized by Calipari for his lack of focus at times. The coach later suggested that Poythress might benefit from another year of experience.

Poythress had hinted at staying as well, following through after talking with family and mulling his options. His decision pleased Calipari, who said in a release his belief that ``we have only scratched the surface with Alex.''

Poythress, who started 30 games, was Kentucky's second-leading scorer (11.4 points per game) and rebounder (6.2) respectively last season.

``This year didn't end like we wanted it to,'' Poythress said in a release. ``I want to come back and do what we said we wanted to do and that's win a national title. I want to develop more as a player and the competition coming in next year should help me do that.''

Poythress' return provides a bit more continuity for a 21-12 Wildcats team that lacked it this past season. Kentucky returned no starters from last year's championship squad and the lack of experience showed as it failed to make the NCAA tournament and ended the season with a first-round loss to Robert Morris in the NIT.

Poythress returns with 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein and sophomore Kyle Wilter.

Freshman guard Archie Goodwin said on Monday that he plans to enter this year's NBA draft. Guard Ryan Harrow said Sunday that he plans to transfer to Georgia State to be closer to his ailing father.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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