When he met with his academic adviser to begin this school year, Jarrod Polson got a surprise: He can leave the University of Kentucky with a degree next spring.
"I think it's a good accomplishment," Polson said, "so I'm proud of it."
Despite the busy schedule for UK basketball players, which includes Final Four runs in 2011 and 2012, Polson found time to put himself in position to graduate in three school years. He's completing the requirements for a degree in finance with 15 class hours in the fall semester and 12 in the spring semester.
Besides taking a bow, Polson must also make a decision. Or perhaps more precisely, be the subject of a decision. Will he return to the UK team for the 2013-14 season?
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"That'd be great, just to be in grad school," he said. "That's the plan right now. Obviously, I don't know for sure what's going to happen next year."
First things first, Polson looks forward to this coming season. He's set a personal goal.
"Get some more playing time than last year, which won't be that hard," he said with a smile.
Polson played 31 minutes, which coincidentally was the exact amount of time he got in 2010-11 as a freshman.
"I really worked hard in the summer, and tried to get my confidence up," he said. "I think my confidence has been up."
Polson acknowledged that his confidence has waned at times. When asked how summer workouts could help his confidence, he said, "Just not really being scared at all. Just going at whoever. That's really it."
One of the perennial questions surrounding UK basketball can be directed at Polson: Is it better to sit but wear a Kentucky uniform or play for another, perhaps lesser, program?
Although he's mostly sat through two seasons, Polson expressed a desire for the best of both worlds: wear a Kentucky uniform and play.
"Last year, I was really antsy," he said. "Again this year, I'm really antsy. I think this is my best chance so far to get some playing time. And at the end of the day, if I work as hard as I can and don't get any playing time, that's all I can do.
"But I think if I do work as hard as I can, then I think good things will come from it."