Kentucky sophomore forward Alex Poythress will return for his junior season, the school announced Wednesday.
“Playing in the NBA has always been a dream of mine, but I want to make sure that I’m NBA-ready before I make that jump,” Poythress said in a statement. “By coming back, I’ll be so much closer to earning my degree in business and it will give me another year to prepare my game and my body for the next level.”
The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 5.9 points and 4.5 rebounds in helping the Wildcats to the NCAA title game. He shot better than 68 percent from the field in the NCAA Tournament, including an eight-point, seven-rebound performance in the Final Four against Wisconsin.
He was considered by NBA executives as a likely second-round pick had he entered the June 26 draft.
“I’m excited for Alex and the decision he’s arrived at,” head coach John Calipari said. “I’m proud of the work he committed to this past season, on and off the floor, and think he’s ready to take that next step and lead this team next season.”
Kentucky now has three legitimate NBA prospects for next season. Fellow sophomore forward Willie Cauley-Stein and freshman forward Marcus Lee announced their intentions to return last week.
Freshman forward Julius Randle and freshman guard/forward James Young have announced they are leaving for the NBA Draft.
Kentucky is still waiting on formal decisions from freshman guards Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison and freshman center Dakari Johnson.
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