Poythress staying at Kentucky

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Updated: 4/23/2014 12:49 pm

Lexington, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - Kentucky forward Alex Poythress has decided to return for his junior season with the Wildcats.

Poythress averaged 5.9 points and 4.5 rebounds in 40 games this past season, helping the Wildcats reach the NCAA Tournament championship game.

"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," said Poythress on Wednesday. "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."

Poythress shot better than 68 percent from the field during the NCAA Tournament. He scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds in the national semifinal win against Wisconsin and was a key figure in Kentucky's Sweet 16 win over Louisville with six points in the final five minutes.

The 6-foot-8 native of Tennessee started 31 of 33 games as a freshman and averaged 11.2 points with 6.0 rebounds.

"I'm excited for Alex and the decision he's arrived at," said Kentucky coach John Calipari. "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."

Willie Cauley-Stein and Marcus Lee have also announced their intentions to return next season, while the Wildcats have already lost Julius Randle and James Young to the NBA Draft.

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