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By LARRY VAUGHT
It’s not hard for John Calipari to explain why he thought adding Wright State transfer Julius Mays was a good acquisition for the Wildcats.
“He is a great kid who had performed at a high level who could make baskets, especially jump shots, and that wanted to be part of this and understood what it means. We don’t make any promises. ‘You good coming off the bench?’ He knew what he was walking into. It’s hard,” said the Kentucky coach. “People say why not recruit a top 50 or 60 player that understands he will be the seventh or eighth man. Well, good luck. To say you just go find that guy, it’s impossible. Those guys think they are starters and they are one-and-done. It’s hard to do.”
Mays doesn’t think that way and understands he’ll likely come off the bench to back up guards Ryan Harrow and Archie Goodwin.
“It was the chance to be part of something great. To be able to come in on a daily basis and compete against the best that there is in college basketball and to go out every night and play with the best and having the best opportunity to win,” Mays said when asked why he came to UK. “I felt like coming to Kentucky gave me that and was something I wanted to take advantage of.”
Mays certainly adds experience. He played two years at North Carolina State before transferring to Wright State. After sitting out one season, he averaged 14.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game last season while shooting 42.4 percent from 3-point range. In his career, he’s played over 2,000 minutes and scored 693 points.
“He is a knockdown shooter. He can shoot well from the outside, shoot well from midrange,” Harrow, who spent one year at North Carolina State before transferring to UK last year, said. “He is a really good shooter. He is seasoned in the game. He is a fifth-year senior and knows a lot about the game and is helping us out a lot. He is definitely a good guy to be around. If he wasn’t, coach Cal would not put him on the team.”