John Calipari appears to be searching for bench depth.
Just days after whiffing on 2012 targets Mark Lyons (Arizona) and Anthony Bennett (UNLV or Oregon), Kentucky has found a new name emerging as the clubhouse leader to join the 2012 recruiting class. Say hello to Julius Mays, a shooting guard from Wright State. As previously mentioned here, Mays is planning on graduating this spring, allowing him to transfer and his senior season play immediately starting in fall 2012.
Earlier today, Steve Jones of Rivals.com revealed that Mays does indeed have a Kentucky offer ($), and that the two parties have mutual interest. Mays received the offer via phone, with a telephone call from Kentucky head coach John Calipari. Mays, who is still finishing classes in order to graduate, also lists Illinois, Michigan State, Pittsburgh and Purdue. He plans to finish up the semester and begin his recruitment following his finals.
Transferring Wright State guard Julius Mays says he has a UK offer and the Cats have a "high interest level" in him. kentucky.rivals.com/content.asp?CI…— Steve Jones (@SJonesRivals) May 8, 2012
Mays told Chris Fisher of The Cats Pause that he has a "high level" of interest ($) in the Wildcats, expressing the desire to return to the top tier of college basketball. In his freshman and sophomore seasons, Mays played sparingly at North Carolina State before transferring to Wright State for his junior year. As a Raider last year, Mays averaged 14.1 PPG and 2.8 RPG, shooting 42.4% from three-point range.
According to Fisher, Mays revealed why Kentucky is so interested in him.
"I talked to all the coaches and they let me know the situation: that they only have two guards in Ryan Harrow and Archie Goodwin and that's pretty much it."
Those are bold words from Kentucky's coaching staff, and insinuates that the coaches do not have overwhelming faith in current scholarship backup Jon Hood (returning from an ACL injury) or walk-ons Jarrod Polson or Twany Beckham. Even without Mays, Hood, Polson, and Beckham could very well likely to be serviceable backups to projected starters Harrow and Goodwin.
Likely is the operative word, and the sliding scale for Kentucky favors the negative side. Concerns about an injury striking one of the two primary guards or ineffectiveness from the backups appear to have led to this offer. Landing Mays would provide additional veteran depth in the backcourt, allowing Kentucky head coach John Calipari to bring the freshman Goodwin along slowly as a sixth man if needed, or to deploy mutliple options as a sharp-shooting triggerman off the bench and see which pieces fit best.
As for Mays, he is still looking through his options. He played his high school ball at Marion, Ind., and may be looking to stay closer to home. But if he truly wants a shot at big-time basketball, there's no better place than Kentucky. There's playing to be had, and Mays could end up being a big piece in next year's Wildcat puzzle.