Julius Mays, now Kentucky's new elder statesman, came to Kentucky with three years of experience. He played two years at North Carolina State and one at Wright State. Last season, he scored 14.1 points for the Wright State Raiders.
As always, the Wildcats will be loaded -- with youth and inexperience. Mays could be a key component of a team seeking another championship.
It seems like every team in the near future is going to need a leader on the floor like DeAndre Liggins, Josh Harrellson, or Darius Miller. Mays will have a chance to fill the role on the 2012-13 team. He is already 23 years old and should not get rattled by the pressure of playing in any situation. The other experienced players in the rotation are Kyle Wiltjer and Jon Hood. Wiltjer could make strides in this area but is three years younger than Mays, and it doesn't seem like his personality anyway. Hood hasn't been on the floor nearly enough to be counted on as a leader of this team.
Coach John Calipari recognized that the Cats need a proven shooter who can knock down 3s and break zone defenses. Mays shot 42.4 percent from beyond the arc at Wright State last season. He was the Raiders' top scorer last season, and there was no close second. Mays was the guy other teams had to stop. It won't be like that at Kentucky where Mays will be surrounded by many big-time scorers. However, Mays will have his chances to hit big shots for the Cats and won't hesitate to pull the trigger.
Check out Mays' game against Illinois-Chicago. Mays hit 19-20 of his free throws in that game and hit 83.2 percent of his free throws for the season. Every team needs a guy to pass the ball to when the opponent is hacking late in the game. Kentucky fans won't cringe if the guy with the ball in his hands in those situations is Mays.
One other thing you'll notice about Mays' game log is the lack of big-name opponents on the Wright schedule. Mays put up 14.1 points a game but only played in three games against teams that would eventually make it into the NCAA tournament. In those three games, Mays' only big game was against Florida where he scored 21 points. The other two -- against Cincinnati and Ohio State -- were stinkers. Mays did score 20 and 21 points in the two games against Horizon League champion Valparaiso, though.
Mays will not score 14.1 points for the Wildcats. However, he will be a solid contributor and hopefully a leader on the floor. He isn't going to lead the team in scoring but if he can pass and hit big shots/free throws, his impact will be huge.
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