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Senior Spotlight: Uncle Julius Mays

“I’m my Mother’s only son, and I refuse to fail.”

“Every time I put that uniform on, I know how privileged I am to have it on. I’m going to enjoy every minute of having that uniform on. That’s why I’m playing the way I am.”

John Calipari is always on the cutting edge of “what’s next” in the world of college basketball. Calipari is constantly striving to “be the needle” and push the mold. With that said, Calipari’s method for bringing players to Kentucky has been fairly predictable: Go after the best available and most talented seniors in high school in the country and bring them to Kentucky. Year in and year out Calipari has signed top classes while in Lexington, filled almost entirely with McDonald’s All-Americans with 5-stars next to their names.

And then Julius Mays came along…

Julius Mays didn’t necessarily fit John Calipari’s mold for incoming players. Mays wasn’t a high school senior and he wasn’t a McDonald’s All-American. Mays wasn’t oozing with athleticism or dripping with potential and talent from head-to-toe. Julius Mays was a player who for the most part, was already crafted into exactly what he was going to be. Mays completed a career that started at NC State before landing at Wright State, a mid-major program. With one year of eligibility remaining due to a redshirt, Mays went looking for a place to call home to finish his final season of college basketball.

Julius Mays didn’t fit Calipari’s mold. ¬†And honestly from the looks of things, Kentucky and Calipari didn’t necessarily appear to be the most likely fit for Julius Mays either. Mays was coming from a situation where he was the star player for his Wright State team. He was the leading scorer. He was the focal point. Why would a player want to go from that position to spending his final year potentially (and most likely) coming off the bench as a role player for the most storied program in college basketball? Why not go somewhere else where he could play the entire game, without question, for his final year?

In the end, the unlikely match was made. Julius Mays chose Kentucky in part because he wanted to be a part of a big program and he wanted a chance to be a part of a national championship contender. John Calipari offered Mays a spot because he wanted a veteran and a savvy player who could come off the bench and provide depth and perimeter shooting. Mays wanted a shot at a title, and Calipari needed a role player with proven talent to fill out his roster.

I’m not sure either got what they bargained for, but somehow the colliding parts wound up creating a fan favorite in Lexington.

In all likelihood, Julius Mays won’t be a part of a team contending for a national championship. In fact, Kentucky might not even make the tournament. And John Calipari didn’t get a role player to come off the bench. John Calipari got a leader and one of the most consistent players for the better part of the season in Mays.

Julius Mays wasn’t supposed to be fighting to avoid the NIT in his final game as a Wildcat on Rupp Arena’s floor. And John Calipari wasn’t supposed to be playing Mays 32.5 minutes per game. A year later though, that is exactly where this pairing stands.

Mays will be remembered as perhaps one of the few bright spots in this rather up and down season. The only shame is that Mays, a player who seems to take great pride in wearing the jersey and being a part of it all, will only get to spend one year and maybe just a few more games wearing the blue and white jersey. His name won’t hang from the rafters, and his team doesn’t appear poised to leave anything hanging there either. He might be part of one of the more forgettable and frustrating teams in the Calipari era. Nothing about Julius Mays and the effort he has given night in and night out, even with his own physical and athletic limitations, has been forgettable though.

Uncle Julius, you will be remembered fondly…. even though things weren’t quite what any of us expected. I think in the end, you gave us all more than we bargained for, and for that, you will be remembered.

3 Memorable Moments/Nicknames from Julius Mays:

1. The infamous piggyback ride Mays gave to Archie Goodwin

2. His former coach’s disgruntlement and skepticism after Mays committed to Kentucky.

3. Uncle Julius/Julius Treys


Lasting image of Julius Mays as a Kentucky Wildcat…


Senior Spotlight: Twany Beckham (in case you missed it)

Article written by Ally Tucker

I once successfully requested "The Wobble" to be played 6 times at one wedding.

12 Comments for Senior Spotlight: Uncle Julius Mays

  1. Like
    10:38 am March 9, 2013 Permalink

    Lets hope he plays better than he did the last 2 games.

  2. Jeff
    10:42 am March 9, 2013 Permalink

    Murphy lights us up. Game out of reach at the half.

  3. Bobbyperrysucks
    10:58 am March 9, 2013 Permalink

    Please stop with the julius mays hype! What i will remember most is him throwing up his arms after every foul or bad play he makes.

  4. chad b
    11:02 am March 9, 2013 Permalink

    I won’t miss him.

  5. plzstop
    11:03 am March 9, 2013 Permalink

    It’s not enough that Ally and Kristen are posting today…That alone makes me want to claw my eyes out with a rusty fork.
    but just stop with the uncle julius line…it wasn’t great to begin with and btw the horse is, and has been dead.

  6. SomeOfYouAreTerribleFans
    11:05 am March 9, 2013 Permalink

    Uncle Julius, ‘shop’d by my brother.

  7. Jarweed
    11:18 am March 9, 2013 Permalink

    Uncle had a solid year – our best shooter from 3. Hit plenty of clutch shots, especially against Missoura. Always played hard. Love the playa.

  8. GoCats
    11:40 am March 9, 2013 Permalink

    Thanks Julius we are proud you wear that jersey…great competitor that gives all he has.

    11:42 am March 9, 2013 Permalink

    Why would yaw knock Mays? Your negativity about an average talented Basketball player with pride, and gives his heart and soul out there every night is disgusting.WE WOULD HAVE lost 15 games or more without him. GIVE HIM props on senior day atleast. I SALUTE YOU JULIUS MAYS, THANK YOU

  10. Mike
    11:44 am March 9, 2013 Permalink

    9. Bib Blue Sky….get real my man…Julius has only had a handful of good games and that is it. He talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk with consistency. He has persnally won a couple for us but was a more non factor in most of the games we have lost.

  11. Dustin
    12:05 pm March 9, 2013 Permalink

    Uncle Glue

  12. Dustin
    3:22 pm March 9, 2013 Permalink

    What do you negative nancies have to say for yourselves now? Take you crap elsewhere. Elite 8, Final 4, Title. 6 players to the league. Were we supposed to be title contenders this year? You were dreaming if that’s what you thought. 9,5,4,3,2,1 eat it!