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Julius Mays A Pleasant Surprise

When John Calipari added Julius Mays to the roster last spring, many were unsure of the impact the Wright State transfer would have. Yes he was going to be a fifth-year senior as a graduate student at UK, but would he be accepted as a leader in his first and only year under the bright lights of UK? And would others accept him in return? The answer to those questions have been an emphatic yes, but that is not all Mays has provided.

His production on the court has turned out to be crucial to the team’s success. Not many thought he’d be a starter at UK, but Ryan Harrow’s absence has helped create that opportunity and Mays has made the most of it. We knew he could shoot, and he has provided some shooting and a steady nine points per game, but he’s also been an excellent distributor. Mays is tied with Archie Goodwin for most assists per game (4.4), but leads the team in assists to turnover ratio. For every 4.4 assists he dishes out, Mays only turns the ball over one time. And, by the way, (completely unrelated to Mays) of the seven players who have played in all five games, Jarrod Polson has the fewest turnovers per game of anyone (0.6).

We weren’t sure of how productive Mays would turn out to be here, and it turns out that Mays himself was unsure. He told the Herald Leader he wasn’t sure if he’d play a lot at Kentucky and contribute:

“Nah, I didn’t think I wasn’t good enough,” Mays said in explaining his hesitancy about UK. “I just thought they had another powerhouse, and they just needed another body. I didn’t want to go somewhere and just be another body.”

Mays has exceeded his own expectations, as well as those of Big Blue Nation, so far on the court. He’s actually turned into quite the fan favorite as well after giving a cramped-up Archie Goodwin a “piggy-back ride” back to the bench against Morehead State. This quote from the Fayetteville Observer in North Carolina pretty much sums up the way Julius has stepped in and accepted his role of big brother on the team, and has been accepted as the big brother from the very beginning:

“It is like playing with little brothers that I never had,” Mays said. “From the moment that I came here in the summer, they took me in and I took them in as well. It has been like a brotherhood ever since then. I feel like the relationship that we have off the court transfers over to the court.”

Five games in, there’s no doubt Mays has been a pleasant surprise, and it’s hard to see where this team would be without him right now.

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

35 Comments for Julius Mays A Pleasant Surprise

  1. Aaron
    9:38 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    Uncle Julius is the man!

  2. Aaron
    9:39 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    Yes!!!! First as well!!!! POW!

  3. The Professor
    9:40 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    I guess it depends on how you interpret kids use of language these days, but if you assume it to be literal Julius does not say he “didn’t think he was good enough to come to Kentucky”. Dude either brilliantly pulls off the rare double negative or is misquoted in the context you portray it in.

  4. Wrongjohn
    9:46 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    John, he didn’t say he didn’t think he was good enough. Reread the quote… He said that he “didnt think he WASN’T good enough. PS… Matt, please hire some better writers.

  5. EC
    9:46 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    Mays has been a very pleasant surprise this year. He is a very heady player.

  6. ncaa compliance
    9:49 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    Kid was all set to go to purdue until someone from cal’s posse bought his mom an suv.

  7. Nose Whistle
    9:51 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    One wonders if Cal may take more chances on this kind of one-and-done since his teams are likely to have few juniors and seniors.

  8. nswildcat813
    9:54 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    Julius’ awesomeness stems from his time spent in Middlesboro.

  9. HeyMan
    9:57 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    #7 Go blow your nose, man! I hate whistling nostrils!!!

  10. Bigblueaces
    10:02 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    First quote needs clarification. I’m pretty sure the kid wouldn’t have come here if he truly thought he was “just another body.” Is English 101 and 102 not a requirement at Any respectable university anymore? Or, anybody that can type can write for a major blog?

    By the way, still waiting on the “major” redesign of the site. I wish some other sprite, up and coming blogger would come get some of the play around here.

  11. Stigall
    10:08 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    Why does jones keep saying “source” tells ksr. Everyone knows his sources are pratt for bball and mitch for football. And mitch just tells matt what to say even if it isn’t true. Keep up the good work

  12. Never Wrong
    10:08 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    Mays RULES!!!

  13. Shawon
    10:10 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    FWIW, glad to have Julius Mays on the team for this year.

    #6 – Get Out.

  14. dave
    10:13 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    jones reporting on twitter dieng has broken wrist.
    appears he 50-50 for uk-uofl game, at best.

  15. Where’s the late night post on the football coach we were promised?

  16. Hicks
    10:24 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    Great kid. Gives us balance on offense. But we all know if he’s going to play 30 mins a game he has got to play better defense. Either that or he and Wiltjer can never be on the floor together. If we don’t get a little more fire out of eveyone on the defensive end the final four will be a little less blue this year.

  17. dave
    10:25 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    via ticker:

    Don’t be surprised in San Jose State head coach Mike MacIntyre emerges in the Kentucky coaching search. A source close to the situation tells me that Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart and Bill Parcells are close. MacIntyre worked under Parcells with the Dallas Cowboys. MacIntyre also has a connection with Kentucky associate AD John Cropp, who is Barnhart’s right hand man in this process. San Jose State finished their regular season late Saturday night with a win over LA Tech.

  18. bmt22033
    10:26 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    @14 – I heard that earlier, too, but it’ll be like every other coach who announces that a player is injured leading up to their game against UK. History has shown that 99% of the time, the injured player suits up for the UK game. It’s incredible how a game against Kentucky rehabilitates injuries almost overnight. 😉

  19. Carl
    10:53 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    Glad to have Mays on the team. Another young man of good character Coach Cal has brought to UK. People seem to be overlooking the character quality of the players that come to UK. Did we really miss out on Josh Shelby, Xavier Henry and Shabazz Mohamadd? I think not.
    GO CATS!!

  20. Experience
    10:57 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    Say Hey Mays, Willie the Kid, Golden Arch (or Archie Dunker), Nerlinator, Alex the great, Wiltgoggles, KY Poltrain, Rya-nice-assis, Hooded Merganser, Todthebod, Twany dollar no holler, Sam the man, Brians Long.

  21. Jr. Greer
    11:01 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    Yep…it’s a done deal Dave.

  22. Jus Sayin
    11:05 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    16 what are you talking about? He is a good defender.

  23. SuperCats
    11:12 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    Julius Caesar Mays!!!
    This guy is fantastic!!!

  24. Blue Gray
    11:33 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    #20 did you just say Harrow has a nice ass?

  25. Experience
    12:13 am November 26, 2012 Permalink

    #24 not intentionally let’s go with something else how about ryanoceros?

  26. mashburnfan1
    12:55 am November 26, 2012 Permalink

    the ucla fighting muhammads got beat this eveing by something called CP-SLO…Shabazz how does that taste, hope you enjoy the sneakers. nice to see coach braun ruin a top recruiting class. how does that guy still have a job, what a train wreck

  27. Mr. Big
    3:15 am November 26, 2012 Permalink

    #22- go watch that Duke game again

  28. Alan Cutler's Mustache
    7:24 am November 26, 2012 Permalink

    Mays has suprised me. He has elevated his game. I didn’t think he would be as good as he is, when I first saw him play at the sart of the season. I am still hoping that Harrow can develop into a star PG this season and that Mays doesn’t have to play a lot of minutes. Still, it is good to see Mays’ play improve.

  29. Harv T is here to stay
    7:43 am November 26, 2012 Permalink

    Good morning campers. Fatt jones tried to shut me down on twitter, but alas I’m still here. Come follow me @theghostofhtg. Where the real facts are told and we tease Fatt and screw. They’re not the only only ones who get to make fun of people.

    Hi Fatt, still mad?

  30. The Bottom Line
    8:42 am November 26, 2012 Permalink

    Julius Mays IS Anthony Epps

  31. Javid
    8:52 am November 26, 2012 Permalink

    Cal makes me a believer, he takes the kids that are middle of bench type players and they turn out to be better than they were sold to be, ie Josh Harrelson is a good example and now Mays. It’s important to be skilled but being able to coach kids and make them better, that is a beautiful thing!

  32. BradyCat33
    11:02 am November 26, 2012 Permalink

    #20 i AGREE,,, MAYS IS EPPS!!!!

  33. BradyCat33
    11:04 am November 26, 2012 Permalink

    #30 i mean lol u r right in my opinion

  34. BradyCat33
    11:06 am November 26, 2012 Permalink

    Anthony Epps is from my hometown Marion Co. never was supposed 2,come to KY & achieve what he did & i c Mays the same way …. GO CATS

  35. Katdaddy
    2:35 pm November 26, 2012 Permalink

    Ul still held their own against duke without dieng. We’d have to play really well to beat ul this year. The game is at chicken box is a plus for them.