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Getting to Know Julius Mays

You know all about Noel, Goodwin, and Poythress by now, and if you didn’t know much about Willy Cauley-Stein before, you’ve probably gotten to know him a little better after his recent YouTube shenanigans with Kyle Wiltjer. Eric Lindsay from, however, has started a five-part “Meet the Wildcats” series, featuring each of the five newcomers to John Calipari’s squad this upcoming season. The first profile posted on Coach Cal’s website is on five year senior transfer Julius Mays. Mays is probably the Kentucky player who we have talked about the least here on KSR in the last few months, but his shooting ability and Division I experience could give him a critical role on next year’s team.

We’ve already linked this article previously on Mays, in relation to how he was not initially interested in the bright lights of Kentucky before deciding that it was actually a great fit for him, but give it a full read if you haven’t already done so. There are many interesting tidbits about Mays that I did not previously know, such as the fact that Mays was friends with Marquis Teague in their days of high school and AAU basketball in Indiana, and it also confirmed the suspicion of many UK fans that he did indeed know Ryan Harrow well from NC State. It was Mays who actually hosted Harrow in a recruiting visit in Raleigh. The article explains that it was much more than a shot at an NBA career, or any of his ties to Teague or Harrow, that brought Mays to Kentucky. A Master’s program at UK, which will help Mays pursue another sports-related career if the NBA doesn’t work out, was instrumental in bringing the sharpshooter to Kentucky says Lindsay:

He could have stayed at Wright State and finished his college career, but he wanted his master’s degree in a sports-related field that Wright State didn’t offer. When it became apparent that UK had a program that Mays was interested in, it sealed the deal.

“I know I just want to work in sports,” Mays said of his future. “It’s what makes me happy. I feel like if I didn’t have a career in basketball after this, I feel like just being away from it I would have withdrawal. I feel like that’s the most fun for me.”

Critics will tell you Mays transferred to Kentucky because of Coach Cal’s penchant for putting players in the NBA, but Mays said that had little to do with his decision. He admits he has dreams of playing at the next level, but coming to UK was about much more than that.

“I’m realistic,” Mays said. “Every guy doesn’t get to go to the NBA. It’s a very few select guys. If I have the opportunity, I would really be blessed and would appreciate it, but even if I don’t, the opportunity to play here and build relationships in this community and build relationships with the coaching staff and teammates for a lifetime, you can’t beat that whether you go to the NBA or not.”

Mays earned a bachelors degree in Organizational Leadership at Wright State, and is now enrolled in the Sports Leadership Master’s program at UK. Mays, an unlikely NBA draft prospect, could prove to be an example of how Kentucky can help all types of players achieve their dreams, whatever they may be. Or maybe, Calipari will just work Jorts-like wonders on Mays and get him drafted.

Article written by John Wilmhoff

Former beer vendor, college mascot and ESPN editor. This spring, you can also find me blogging about the Reds on Follow me on Twitter: @JohnWilmhoff

18 Comments for Getting to Know Julius Mays

  1. Blue Mist
    1:05 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    Mays will be a steadying influence on this team, regardless of the fact it’s his first year here.

  2. Blue Mist
    1:06 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    …and FIRST!

  3. John W
    1:10 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    I hope this guy has a breakout year and gets drafted. Seems like a good guy.

  4. Rockfield, KY
    1:14 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    Playing at UK is always a smart move. Become a beloved player, work hard, and you basically can have a career after sports handed to you. Boosters love to help out ex UK players after they graduate. Plus it’s good for their business.

  5. 5440 or fight
    1:30 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    “Calipari will just work Jorts-like wonders on Mays and get him drafted.” Just what do you think Cal did for Harrellson to get him to play so well? Rub his back tat with evaporated milk. No, Harrellson took the initiative and worked hard on his own against some great talent to put himself in a position for Cal to help him. Harrellson already had a great stroke and coordination he just needed to work on his rebounding. Sure enough, once he shaped up and got aggressive he did just that. Cal helped his staff, the primary player developers, to improve Harrellson’s skill along with the other pros. Cal and his staff, however, did not wave a magic wand. Mays will not get near the exposure in this one year going up against goodwin in practice, as harrellson got in four playing against patterson, orton, cousins, and kanter.

  6. Han
    1:32 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    USA vs Spain exhibition around 4:30p, fyi.

    Maybe Davis will get in given the size of Spain.

  7. CoalFreeCats
    1:46 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    Is that a UK t-shirt he’s wearing? Anyone have a link where it’s for sale?

  8. John
    1:50 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    5) Do you really think that any other coach would have gotten production like that out of Harrellson? I love the guy, but to say that he would be in his current position without Cal is ridiculous.

  9. emlang08
    1:51 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    #5, Jorts was seconds away from getting kicked off the team before his senior year. He was out of shape, over weight and not very mobile. Strike 2, he was a Gillespie recruit!
    Jorts only played 4 min a game in 22 games his junior year (less than 2 pts a game and 2 rebounds. Senior year, after the blue white game, Cal kind of credited his rebounding performance as a result of the rest of the team’s poor rebounding effort. Jorts tweets “no respect”, Cal puts him on a strict conditioning 2 or 3 a day program, Jorts gets in Shape, Enes Kanter gets ruled ineligible, Wallah – Jorts has a breakout season – Jorts gets drafter
    Gillespie recruits Jorts
    Gillespie strips him of confidence and pride forces him to sit in the bathroom and ride home in the equipment bus
    Gillespie gets Fired/Cal gets hired
    Jorts plays in China and rebuilds confidence
    Cal gets him in Shape
    He breaks out
    he gets drafted


  10. TheLaw
    1:52 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    Mays seems like a good kid, I’m excited to see how his time at UK plays out.

    5 – thank you so much for dropping your knowledge on all of us, we had no idea that Harrelson had to work hard to get where he’s at…c’mon man, get outta here with all that.

  11. Azubuike's Bicep
    1:56 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    7-The only place I could find it was at Finish Line, but it is listed as “unavailable.” It’s a Nike shirt though, so that may help in your search.

  12. 5440 or fight
    1:58 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    8) That is not what I said or am saying at all. Harrellson was the beneficiary of training against 4 first round draft picks during his time in the blue and white. From them he saw what it took to be a an NBA level player and benefitted from a coaching staff (Cal included) that could get him to the NBA. Julius Mays, on the other hand, will not have the same luxury that Harrellson enjoyed, having only one year to go head to head against one NBA SG prospect.

  13. JVice
    2:04 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    12) Might want to count those 1st rounders again.

  14. 5440 or fight
    2:07 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    13) “patterson, orton, cousins, and kanter” … sorry I must have left Eloy of the list

  15. emlang08
    2:15 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

  16. NbaLockout
    2:31 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    Jorts was drafted due too the nba lockout had all those players that could’ve came out. Had done so no way he gets drafted.

  17. JVice
    2:32 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    No, you didn’t. I just wasn’t aware you were only counting centers and forwards.

  18. bmt22033
    2:57 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    “The article explains that it was much more than a shot at an NBA career, or any of his ties to Teague or Harrow, that brought Mays to Kentucky.”

    I have to call BS on that statement. The NCAA’s graduate transfer rule states that an athlete can transfer to another school without having to sit out a year ***ONLY IF*** the institute they’re transferring to offers a graduate degree (which the athlete is going to pursue), ***THAT THEIR CURRENT UNIVERSITY DOES NOT***.

    If a shot at an NBA career was really so secondary to a specific graduate program, are we to believe that UK just happened to be the only and/or best school in the country offering that degree program? Is that possible? If I put on my blue/white-tinted glasses, it’s certainly easier to believe. But I feel quite certain that the opportunity he’ll have under Calipari to get into the NBA is a lot more important than the article suggests. Sure, if he doesn’t make it, he’ll need a fallback plan and a graduate degree never hurt anyone where fallback plans are concerned. But the PR spin that all schools put on this kind of situation is sometimes a little much.