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Poythress opts to return to UK

Following in the footsteps of one of his classmates, Alex Poythress has announced he will return to Kentucky for his sophomore season. The move was made official in a Tuesday night release from the university.

Alex Poythress averaged 11.4 points and 6.2 rebounds as a freshman

The freshman forward joined Willie Cauley-Stein in passing on the opportunity to enter the NBA Draft, deepening Kentucky's already talent-rich roster for the 2013-14 season. The move gives the Cats eight players who were rated as five-star players coming out of high school, as well as four-stars Cauley-Stein, Derek Willis and Jon Hood.

"This year didn't end like we wanted it to," Poythress said in a release. "I want to come back and do what we said we wanted to do and that's win a national title. I want to develop more as a player and the competition coming in next year should help me do that."

The move comes just a day after the school announced Cauley-Stein and sophomore forward Kyle Wiltjer would also return for next season. Poythress, who was an enigma for much of his rookie season, averaged 11.4 points and 6.2 rebounds a game in 2012-13.

“I’m really happy that, after talking with his family and evaluating his options, Alex has decided to return for his sophomore season,” UK coach John Calipari said. “Alex is a great kid with a lot of potential and I’m excited to be able to work with him next year. I believe we have only scratched the surface with Alex, and another season in college will get him closer to reaching his dreams.”

The move gives Kentucky at least 11 scholarship players for next season, 12 depending on former walk-on guard Jarrod Polson's scholarship status. That would also leave room for a possible commitment from Andrew Wiggins, the nation's No. 1 prep player, and Madison Central (Ky.) High School guard Dominique Hawkins.

Earlier in the day, the Cats' six incoming McDonald's All-Americans spoke in Chicago about how competitive practices would be next season. The return of Poythress only adds to that challenge.

“Intense,” forward Julius Randle said. “Everybody is just going to get better. Everybody is going to compete every day and it's just going to be a fun, fun thing for all of us. If you want to get better, that's the place to go.”

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