LEXINGTON — Alex Poythress isn't second guessing his decision to return to Kentucky for his sophomore season rather than put his name into the NBA draft like teammates Nerlens Noel and Archie Goodwin did.
“I'm happy with my choice of coming back,” Poythress said Monday. “It was a long process and you just wanted to make sure your heart was all in it, make sure you made the right decision and I felt like I did it.”
Poythress admitted that it was a “hard decision,” because it's “your future” but leaned on his own conscious when it came down to making a final decision on whether to enter the NBA Draft or return to school.
“I just talked to my mom, my parents, figure what they're thinking and get their input,” he said. “I talked to the coaches and coach (John Calipari) and tried to get their input and decide what was the best decision for me. If your leaving school for a job, you have to take it very seriously.”
Poythress wouldn't reveal his mother's thoughts on his future, but added that “we all worked it out, so we're all good.” He also talked to his teammates, including Willie Cauley-Stein and Archie Goodwin, along with Kentucky coach John Calipari.
“I didn't want to leave with a bad taste in my mouth,” he said. “It (the loss to Robert Morris) was a tough loss and you don't want to end your college career like that.”
In addition to discussing his own future, Poythress touched on a variety of topics during his media availability at the Joe Craft Center:
Question: What are the expectations for next year?
Poythress: “We have big expectations next year. We have to come ready to play every day. The goal is a championship, nothing less, nothing more. That's the ultimate goal. That's what we want to do. Work hard and try to accomplish (that goal).”
Question: Looking back at last year, how do you rate yourself?
Poythress: “I think I had a decent year. There's always room for improvement, we just need to focus on next year now. I want to use (last year) as motivation (for next year). You don't want to this class next year to end up like this class. With the guys we have coming in and the guys that we have returning, we''we’ll have a fire burning to do well. We just need to work hard.”
Question: What is practice going to look like next year?
Poythress: “Competition is going to (be tough). You just have to go hard every day and compete. It's all competition, so it should be good. We should be mentally prepared for everything. When you're losing, that's when you figure out what people are made of.”
Question: Is there one guy specifically you're looking forward to going up against in practice?
Poythress: “Everybody in general. I just can't wait for practice to start and looking forward to the competition.”
Question: Did you watch the NCAA Tournament?
Poythress: “I watched it. Everybody was sick because you weren't playing in it. I knew some of the guys playing (in the tournament). It was kind of hard (seeing Louisville win it) and see a rival school winning it like that, but I'm happy for them. At the same time, hopefully it will be us next year..”
Question: What did Calipari say after the loss to Robert Morris?
Poythress: “He just said it will help in the long run and to work on your confidence and your mentality and get a sense of who we are. The other stuff will work itself out.”
Question: With the class coming in and Willie Cauley-Stein and Kyle Wiltjer returning, do you see yourself playing more on the wing next year?
Poythress: “Wherever coach Cal decides to put me, that's fine. I'll do whatever I need to do to help the team win.”
Question: What was the biggest weakness last season?
Poythress: “Probably getting our mentality right and our mentality good. I just need to come ready to play and get pushed (harder). I know I can do it. I just need to do it.”
Question: Will the competition next year help?
Poythress: “It should. The competition next year will be one of the best in the country, if not the best in the country. From the top player to the bottom player, everybody is going to be pushed in practice.”
Question: How well do you know some of those guys coming in?
Poythress: “I know Julius (Randle), one of the (Harrison) twins, we played AAU together. I've watched a couple of (all-star) games and just helped root them on because they'll be here next year on my team.”
Question: What are you going to do this summer?
Poythress: “I'm just going to work out when I go home, get myself in shape. I'll run the treadmill and do some (stationary) biking, work hard, get in the gym and in the weight room. Do everything I can to get prepared for the season. I'm going to get with Rock (Oliver) on the weights and do pool workouts to stay fit.”
Question: Have you changed your approach going into next season?
Poythress: “I just have to focus myself and go even harder than last year. I've been through a year and I will know what to expect next year. I'm not a freshman no more. I'm a sophomore and I know what to expect and how hard it takes to get there. I just want to get better myself, work on my skill set and get better as a player. I'm excited for next year. It should be a great year.”
Question: What do you tell the guys coming in?
Poythress: “You just have to work hard every day. If you work hard and do everything you're supposed to do, you'll be fine.”
Question: Will it be hard to watch the NBA Draft?
Poythress: “No, it won't be hard. I know a lot of guys (in the draft) and will be supporting them.”