Give me Liberty or give me ... a chance to be a Cat.
West Jessamine basketball star Jarrod Polson, who had a scholarship offer from Liberty University, instead will accept John Calipari's invitation to walk on at Kentucky next season.
Polson, a 6-foot-3 point guard who averaged 18 points and six rebounds this season, announced his decision Tuesday in his high school library in front of teammates, students, teachers and fans.
They gave him a rousing ovation when he slipped on a blue UK cap.
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"This has been my dream since I was a little kid," he said. "And my family's always loved UK."
Polson visited Liberty's Lynchburg, Va., campus last week, "and I really loved it. But I couldn't turn down this opportunity" to go to UK.
"Of course, I probably would've played more at Liberty, but I'll work hard and see if I can play at UK."
George Polson, Jarrod's dad, said he always wanted his son to play for UK, "and now it's a reality.
"It's just incredible, absolutely incredible."
Liberty wasn't the only Division I school to make a late pitch for Polson. Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State also expressed interest. George Polson said they talked about redshirting Jarrod next fall, then giving him a scholarship for the 2011-12 season.
"He had a lot to think about, but I told him to follow his heart, and he did," his dad said. "It just means too much for him to go to UK, even at the cost of playing time."
Jarrod said UK hasn't mentioned anything to him about earning a scholarship, but that doesn't bother him.
"He's a unique player," his dad said. "He's never sought the limelight. He's always been a team person.
"He's really competitive and wants to play, but he's not going (to UK) with any false assumptions that he's gonna knock anybody out of playing time.
"But he's also confident enough to know he'll push them hard and, if playing time comes, then he's there."
West Jessamine Coach Damon Kelley said Polson has Division I talent and will get better by going up against players such as Brandon Knight in practice.
"Jarrod's not going to back down from a challenge," Kelley said. "I don't know how much he'll play next year or as a sophomore, but I know he'll work as hard as anybody they have."
Polson, a left-hander, led West Jessamine to back-to-back 12th Region titles, and shined in the Sweet Sixteen. He averaged 23 points in five state tournament games in Rupp Arena.
In his career, Polson totaled 1,884 points, 482 assists and 429 rebounds and hit 77 percent of his free throws.
Hall to Wright State
Franklin County standout Vance Hall, 11th Region player of the year, will play college hoops at Wright State.
Flyers Coach Scott Chalk said Evansville and Missouri-Kansas City were also recruiting Hall. The 6-foot-4 senior averaged 24 points and eight rebounds this season.
Hagans picks junior college
Domonique Hagans of Lafayette signed Tuesday with Southeastern Illinois, a junior college in Harrisburg, Ill.
Hagans, a 6-foot-2 guard, averaged 15 points this season and was first-team All-City.