I stopped in Clarksville, Tenn., on my way to Starkville for tonight's Kentucky-Mississippi State game and Northeast coach Al Cooper let me watch him put Poythress and teammates through their final practice for tonight's district championship game.
Several things stood out about Poythress. He's explosive to the basket. Once he gets near the rim, the ball is going down and he gets there in a hurry and soars over the rim.
He listens. Not once did he take his eyes off the coach or goof off in any drill. He constantly encouraged teammates and was talking to them and helping explain what Cooper was saying.
Teammates like him. That was obvious — and not because he's an elite player. He's a nice youngster with a great smile to go with a 3.9 grade-point average. He didn't want to really talk UK, NCAA championship or NBA. Instead, he's focused on winning a state title — an attitude I think John Calipari would really like.
It was also amazing to look at pictures and see how Poythress has developed physically in the last three years. He's gone from a skinny guy to a man's man. No doubt he'll be physically ready to play next year.
And I also got to see Chandler Cooper, the coach's daughter, shoot. She's deadly from 3-point range and I would match her with Doron Lamb in a shooting contest. She's signed with Florida and had Kentucky among her final five schools and had nothing but good things to say about the Wildcats.