Since Kentucky head coach John Calipari took over the program in 2009, most of the players that sign on to play for the Wildcats do not have extended stays. Calipari always recruits extremely well, earning the No. 1 ranked recruiting class every year since arriving in Lexington. Julius Mays was a different kind of recruit for Kentucky and John Calipari. Mays, who committed to North Carolina State out of high school, left the program after one season due to a surplus of guards in Raleigh. He then transferred to Wright State University where he sat out his sophomore season due to NCAA transfer rules. Mays became the premier point guard for the Raiders, averaging 14 points per game. Since Wright State did not offer graduate classes in Mays’ field of study, he was allowed to play one season for a school that offered his masters program. Mays decided to continue his education and playing career at Kentucky, playing one season for John Calipari.
The Wildcats had few bright moments of their season, and Julius Mays was a huge part of their minimal successes. His senior leadership and high basketball IQ was a rarity on a Kentucky team that lacked experience, depth, and chemistry. Mays played huge for the ‘Cats on the road, and hit clutch shots against the best of the SEC. Without Mays, Kentucky would have never been in consideration for an NCAA Tournament birth after star center Nerlens Noel tore his ACL against Florida in February. Mays averaged just over nine points per game, shooting 37% from the field and lead the team with 65 made three-point baskets. Mays became a savior for the Wildcats in his lone season; he just needed more help and more stability to keep Kentucky out of the NIT.
All Pro Sports & Entertainment Inc., which represents Mays, announced the former Kentucky Wildcat has earned a professional contract with the Italian club Mobyt Ferrara. Mays earned a spot at the NBA‘s Pre-Draft Combine, where he scored 17 points in only two quarters of action. Despite his performance, he went undrafted until getting this well deserved opportunity in Italy. Mays will join Nerlens Noel and Archie Goodwin as players from the 2013 Kentucky team to sign a pro contract.
I have no doubt that Julius Mays will succeed for anyone that gives him a chance on the basketball court. He was the stabilizing force for Kentucky when things were going array. At times, he was the clear leader and coach on the floor surrounded by so many younger players. His Wildcat teammates affectionately called him “Uncle Julius”, being a senior on the team. Congratulations and best wishes to Julius as he continues to chase and achieve his dreams.
Brian Lewis is an SEC Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. You can add him to your network on Google for more of his work.