Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
Rising sophomore Alex Poythress was one of America's 40 most efficient shooters last season, clocking a 61.1 effective field goal percentage and a 63.5 true shooting percentage, both of which ranked in the SEC's top five and the nation's top 40.
So why wasn't he shooting more last season?
In SEC and postseason play, a span of 20 games, Poythress hoisted more than seven shots on only seven occasions. In those same 20 games, he committed four or more fouls nine times, whether from trying too hard to make plays or simply being caught napping.
If the Clarksville, Tenn., native allows himself to be a forgotten man again this season, he'll never see the ball at all. The Harrison twins, Julius Randle and James Young all have the potential to do great things when they attack the basket, and all have shown the mentality necessary to do so.
Young, in particular, will force Poythress to get on top of his game. The two aren't really that different, after all.
Both can hit the outside shot, although one would expect that Young will take a lot more threes than the 33 Poythress put up last season. Both players can be capable rebounders, Young through length and verticality and the 6'8", 240-pound Poythress through bulk and strength.
And both have also been accused of lacking focus. The difference is that in Poythress' case, we've seen real collegiate proof.
If both struggle to keep their heads in the game, Coach Cal may resort to Randle or even senior Jon Hood. Hood shot 50 percent himself on the season, albeit in only 26 attempts.
This position battle could be the spot that decides whether the Cats realize their championship destiny or fall somewhere short of expectations (i.e. anything other than a national title). No one has more to lose than Poythress, who could tumble into the NBA draft's second round with another struggling season.