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Thank you, Uncle Julius

“Thank goodness he’s on this team because holds it together.” — John Calipari

“The greatest thing about Mays is he doesn’t even have to make shots. He’s defending; he’s passionate; he’s showing leadership … and if he doesn’t make shots, it’s easy to leave him on the court.” — John Calipari

“Julius, without him, we don’t win today.” — John Calipari

“There isn’t another person like Julius. He’s a great leader and a big brother to me, he’s like my best friend. He is just always there for encouragement when things aren’t going our way. He is always the person that pulls me aside to get my head back right.” — Archie Goodwin

“Julius is incredible. On and off the court, he is always there to help us when we are in need. We look to him for guidance. He always knows the right things to say.” — Alex Poythress

“Julius is that guy that we can count on when we need a stop or we need a play to be made. He just makes the game so much easier for everybody else.” — Archie Goodwin

 

Julius. Julius. Julius.

We heard his name mentioned over and over again, after wins and after losses, almost always positive. The graduate transfer came to Kentucky from Wright State late last spring for one season, to provide depth in the backcourt behind Ryan Harrow and Archie Goodwin, and to have one shot at a title in his last ride in college basketball. Not a lot was expected of the undersized guard upon his rival in Lexington, but little did UK fans know, Julius Mays would become the catalyst for Kentucky throughout the 2012-13 season.

Think back to how many times we said, “Nerlens Noel and Julius Mays left it all on the court today.” And when Nerlens went down, the postgame chatter became, “Where would this team be without Uncle Julius?”

He scored, he pump faked, he defended, he hustled, he pump faked some more, he coached, and, most importantly, he led a group of teenagers when they were desperate for guidance. The season is over now and the question remains, “Where would this team be without Uncle Julius?”

Of course, things didn’t turn out anywhere near the way Mays or anyone in Big Blue Nation had hoped, and that’s why it’s so much harder to see him go. Mays deserves more than one disappointing season at Kentucky. He deserves more than a one-game stint in the SEC tournament thanks to a loss to Vanderbilt. He deserves more than a first round NIT loss to Robert Morris. Unfortunately, that’s how his short career in blue concluded.

After last night’s game, the last of his career, Mays told reporters he wouldn’t change a thing about his decision to transfer to Kentucky, even if he had known how the season would go. He still would’ve been a Cat, he says.

And though he’s leaving empty-handed, without the hardware he set out to win, I hope the love and appreciation he earned from Big Blue Nation over ten months is an adequate consolation prize.

Thank you, Uncle Julius.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

31 Comments for Thank you, Uncle Julius



  1. lol
    10:37 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    Im sorry but he sucks ya he helped us like 2 times this year, well so did jon hood but we all know the kind of season he had.



  2. KSR Server
    10:39 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    as the clock ticks closer to 1pm, I’m getting nervous. Will I be able to handle all the traffic, or will I crash and burn like the Cats did this season?



  3. AbbeyNormal
    10:41 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    I wonder if he would come back and take a grad assistant job on the team. I think he could be a good motivator and at least it would give us someone else to practice against. anyways, I like Mays a lot…he earned my respect over the season just for the fact alone that he loved wearing that blue and white jersey!



  4. I Say
    10:43 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    I would love to see Julius come back and be apart of the staff some how. His time here was too short.



  5. 3
    10:44 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    3 ya because he helped motivate his current team so much rite



  6. Bobbum man
    10:46 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    Not to be Debbie downer but I don’t see what everybody likes so much about him, he just flat out sucks and is always out on the court pouting and throwing his hands up when anything goes wrong no defense and not a good shooter for someone who can only do that… I’m sure he’s a great kid and all but why would we want him on the staff? I can think of a thousand people who I’d rather have and have more tradition with the university



  7. AbbeyNormal
    10:46 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    ‘3 says’ Jesus H. So, imagine not having him. Just go and read the quotes from his teammates. I bet your loads of fun.



  8. NotFirst
    10:47 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    This team underachieved. Maybe it was a lack of effort, maybe they didn’t have enough players. Some is on Cal, some is on various players. But when it comes to Julius, he gave what he had — this season was not on him. We had a disappointing season, but like Cal, I still like “our guys”. If you all can’t give Julius credit based simply on the picture above, you are a sad human being, no matter who your team is.



  9. big blue fever
    10:47 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    Thank you for all you did this year julius. you will always be one of my favorite players that came through our program. Good luck the rest of the way



  10. _
    10:48 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    Gunana miss JUJU a lot!



  11. capnmonkey
    10:48 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    Trolls be working hard these days…
    UK fans appreciate what Julius did this year.



  12. WILLIAM BRASKEY
    10:48 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    I wouldn’t count my chickens on who is or isn’t coming back just yet. MKG left the door open late last year before coming back down to earth and realizing what was truly out there. This year’s draft is horrible and some of these guys may never get a shot again at what’s available this year. WCS has played his way into late lottery consideration, Goodwin and Poythress are still being viewed as 1st rounders, and Noel is Top5 pick with crutches. Our incoming roster as presently constructed will also probably drop these guys in the 2014 draft. Goodwin isn’t going to avg 14 points a game next year with weapons at every position, much less Young and Harrison getting SG mins.

    Let’s also not forget that the Coach is ultimately the one to make the roster decisions. Some of these guys may not be good enough to go pro, but that doesn’t mean that Cal wants them back. Saying the team was almost hijacked is a pretty steep claim. He may just eliminate anyone he views as expendable, and I’m not even taking into account the athletic ability of said individuals. This is the first team that had no swagger to it, and I’m not sure he’ll want passivity to be surrounding the new crop of guys



  13. symphonist41169
    10:49 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    Boy, an NIT loss sure brings out the vicious side of people on this site. I’m glad he was a Cat this year, I don’t think he pouted on the floor, and he definitely didn’t “suck”. I wish he was back next year to get rewarded for what he had to endure this year.



  14. Some Guy
    10:51 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    Amen. Thanks, Uncle Julius. You’re always welcome in the bluegrass.



  15. Archie
    10:51 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    Anyone who thinks he is useless is a moron. Did he turn in some terrible performances this season? Absolutely. Would we have won the Missouri or Florida games without him? Not a chance. The kid gave it his all every time out there on the court and thats better than the majority of the team this year. He tried to hold his teammates accountable when no one else would stand up. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. Uncle Julius should be applauded because this season would have been a lot uglier without him.



  16. abbeynormal say drrr
    10:53 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    7 ya imagine us without someone who stands behind the 3 point line all game and doesnt move or a 3 point shooter who doesnt make his shots. Or how about all of his great defense. I bet you know nothing about basketball.



  17. omg
    10:55 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    OMG no one is gonna miss him come on lets be real. Did he help us few times sure. But your telling me when we are playing aaron harrison and james young next year everyon is still gonna be thinking about mayes still? I think not.



  18. AbbeyNormal
    10:55 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t have to imagine that… Kyle wiltjer did it all season. So why dont you hate on him also? At least Julius gave some heart.



  19. really
    11:00 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    18 really obviously, but this isnt a post saying thank you kyle wiltjer now is it.



  20. RealCatsFan
    11:04 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    I just wish he was a little bit quicker and more athletic. He helped a few games with his 3-pt shooting, but he was a liability on defense. Still glad to have him – we would undoubtedly have a few more L’s on the record without him.



  21. letsgetserious
    11:08 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    ARE YOU SERIOUS??? Someone please look up his efficiency stats. He has to have the lowest points per minute stat in the history of this great school. He does not play good defense. He did not provide leadership (if he did, would we be talking about this now?)

    He played the most minutes per game that I have ever seen a Wildcat play with nothing to show for it. 38, 38, 39, 38 are his last 4 games. I don’t mean to hijack this post, but at the same time I can’t sit back here and “thank” someone for a first round NIT exit. He has not exuded or demonstrated anything that would make me think he would be a good coach… what did his floor coaching get us this year?



  22. NoGameForOldMen
    11:19 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    I’m sure Julius is a good kid, but for a guy that is supposed to be a shooter he can’t shoot. He had one or two good games, that’s all. Plays no D. Stands around behind the 3 point line, no movement at all. Like I said, a good kid but got stuck in a no win situation that was way over his head.



  23. Big Blue
    11:32 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    It’s sad that our team was in such a shape that we had to rely on him ‘hold the team together’. Yikes! He’s a great kid — but just a mid-major level player at best. He was to be a limited role player who had an outside shot. Obviously, he would have been better off staying at Wright State this year. Thanks Julius for stopping by but we want to compete for national titles!



  24. Booster
    11:43 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    Make him an assistant grad and keep him on the end of the bench, guy can clearly teach young players and can motivate with heart, Calipari should take advantage of his relationship with him and help out ole Uncle Julius at the same time with a spot on the UK payroll.



  25. chickabowow
    11:44 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    no more cal transfers please. dodson, harrow, mays…blech. The only transfer of any type that has worked out in the past decade of UK basketball has been harrelson.



  26. NashCatFan
    11:46 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    Thanks Uncle Julius. Real UK fans appreciate effort and heart. He gave us all he had. That’s the most we can ask for. It amazes me how easy it is for so called fans to dismiss players and the sacrifices they make.



  27. Aaron Craft's Rosacea
    11:53 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    Thank you Julius for ending Nerlen’s UK career with that lazy excuse of a pass. People that say he gave 110% effort seem to forget that minor detail.



  28. bbr
    11:54 am March 20, 2013 Permalink

    Sorry, but I think Mays was one of the main problems with this team this year. The one player with lots of experience and all but proclaimed himself a leader for the younger guys set the example of calling out his teammates in public, both on and off the floor and never took responsibility for his own bad play. He plays over 35 minutes a game, has miserable stats in so many games, yet points the finger at his teammates. He would not be the kind of player I would want to play alongside. I believe he was a poison to this team. In recent games every time he went out of the game the team played faster and more confident.



  29. billyball
    12:32 pm March 20, 2013 Permalink

    Mays was last in every statistical category. Except of course, minutes played. Briefly put – he was awful. Just f&*$ing awful.



  30. Dickie
    12:53 pm March 20, 2013 Permalink

    Media fawned over him for what reason? He was slow, not athletic, demonstrated leadership by showing up teammates with foot stomping and arm waving.

    Why Cal played him 36 minutes a game is a total mystery. Wait a minute, that last comment tells us all we need to know. Privately, a lot of players are glad he is gone.



  31. D
    1:43 pm March 20, 2013 Permalink

    I have no idea if he’s good guy or teammate. Just know Cal’s system not built for a 2-guard who can’t beat anybody off the dribble.