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By LARRY VAUGHT
When Julius Mays transferred from Wright State to Kentucky, he knew there might be “some bumps in the road” this season for the young Wildcats.
Now he’s hoping the team can put those bumps behind it and start making a push to win the Southeastern Conference and secure a NCAA Tournament berth.
“Obviously I am not happy that we took the losses that we did, but I think it only made us better. I don’t think if we had not taken the losses that we would have put as much work as we have in the last few weeks,” said Mays, who averages 8.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game.
“I don’t think there is any team in college basketball that is that much better than us. There might be teams with more experience, but as far as man to man I don’t think we are outmatched by anybody. I think we have just as much, if not more, talent as anybody in college basketball and this is all about us coming together and working together and not settling for anything but getting better.”
Mays has always been a scorer, but he’s struggled to consistently make shots at UK. However, he says that has not impacted what he is willing to do to help the team. He has 54 assists and just 17 turnovers while averaging 30.9 minutes per game, the second most on the team.
“I am willing to do whatever whether it is knock shots down or just come in and be that glue guy and it’s not even about scoring but just being out there on the court and making extra pass or getting defensive stops,” Mays said, who has 27 3-point goals,. “I am ready to do anything and willing to do anything. I don’t look at myself as having just one particular thing to do, but I know the team needs me to make shots for us to be very successful. I do know that.”
He’s played for three coaches in his collegiate career that started at North Carolina State. He says UK coach John Calipari is “very different” from the other two coaches he’s had.
“I think he has pushed me the hardest. He is 100 percent real and is always going to be honest. He is like my dad away from home,” Mays said. “He always has your back. He is not a guy that will throw you under the bus. He is just a great guy and I am glad that I got to the opportunity to play for him.”