UK notes: West Jessamine retires Polson's jersey

jtipton@herald-leader.comJanuary 24, 2014 

Surprise, gratitude and incentive to shave.

That's how Kentucky senior Jarrod Polson reacted to his high school alma mater, West Jessamine, retiring his jersey Friday night.

"I was pretty surprised," he said. "I didn't actually know they do that while you're in college.

"When they told me, I was pretty excited and my family was pretty happy about it."

UK Coach John Calipari, who attended the ceremony along with the UK team, termed the jersey retirement a tribute to Polson's work ethic and selfless approach to basketball and life.

"How much grace he shows," Calipari said.

Other players could learn from Polson's example, the UK coach said.

"It'll be really fun to go back and see everyone," Polson said in the afternoon. "And just kind of thank them for how they've invested in my life and how they've supported me."

Polson said he felt "just really humbled" by the jersey retirement. "Feelings of gratitude, really."

Polson sported a scraggly beard as he spoke to media types.

Asked if he would shave before the ceremony, Polson said, "Probably. Yeah." One-and-done

Georgia Coach Mark Fox suggested that Kentucky's reliance on one-and-done players might be involuntary, at least to a degree.

"Well, I don't think it's necessarily the model (UK) wants to use," he told reporters in Athens Friday. "I think it's a by-product of the rule, quite frankly. The fact that guys only have to go to school for one year and leave, guys at that level are going to leave first chance they get because there's so much money that they're assured of."

If basketball adopted, say, the same rules as college baseball, programs that aren't at an elite level might benefit, Fox said. In that scenario, players could go directly from high school to the pros. But players who went to college would be required to stay three seasons.

"Then a great program like Kentucky wouldn't have so many scholarships available to give five or six a year," Fox said. "They'd have to sprinkle guys around to other places. I think it's just a result of the rules that are in place. Not necessarily something that they set out to do.

"I'd love to have the baseball rule. If they want to go pro out of high school, let them go. If they want to go to college, let's commit to three years. It will make our game better and I think it will make the NBA game better."

While Kentucky essentially has a new roster each season, there are similarities from season to season, the Georgia coach said.

"You know they're going to have some great players," Fox said "You know they're going to be well spaced, you know they're going to defend you. There's some things you always have to get ready for. And they're very balanced. They've got so many guys that can score. That's one of their great strengths as a team. They've got guys who can score from anywhere."

Snow job I

Coming from Texas, Andrew Harrison acknowledged not being prepared for the frigid temperatures and snow of recent days.

"They didn't tell me about this," he said with a smile. "It's fine. You have to bundle up. But it's OK."

Calipari failed to mention how Kentucky winters can be bracing.

"No one told me about this, having to wear long johns and stuff like this," Harrison said.

His mother told him the temperature at home yesterday was 32 degrees. "That's cold for them," he said.

Snow job II

Georgia is used to seeing snow on the ground. The Bulldogs saw snow on three straight road trips earlier this season: at Colorado, at George Washington and at Missouri.

When told of a forecast for snow Friday night/Saturday morning for Lexington, Fox quipped, "Maybe that will keep the fans away."

Bill Owen, the president and CEO of Lexington Center Corp., noted that fans can gather inside the Lexington Center Shoppes and the lobby of Rupp Arena as early as 6 a.m., if they choose. The doors to the arena are scheduled to open at noon.

Composure

Georgia's last road game was a 72-50 loss at Florida.

"We've got to play with a level of composure we did not play with at Florida," Fox said. "We've got to play with better composure across the board. It's not just one guy's responsibility. We all have to grow up as competitors and learn how to play in an atmosphere like this."

GameDay tickets

Tickets for ESPN's College GameDay show will be available beginning at 6 p.m. EST next Wednesday at Ticketmaster outlets. The show will be on Feb. 15.

GameDay tickets are free, although orders carry a minimal service fee. There is a limit of eight tickets per household.

UK students can pick up a GameDay ticket during a lottery on Monday or at the UK ticket office during normal business hours Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kentucky plays Florida at 9 p.m. Feb. 15.

Doors will open at 8 a.m. for GameDay, which begins at 9 a.m.

Etc.

Joe Davis and Joe Dean, Jr., will call the game for the SEC Network.

Jerry Tipton: (859) 231-3227. Twitter: @JerryTipton. Blog: ukbasketball.bloginky.com.

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