clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

EJ Floreal leaving Kentucky Basketball; Quotes from Eldrick and John Calipari

New, 16 comments

EJ Floreal is taking a break from basketball to focus more on running track.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats are losing one of their basketball walk-ons.

On Tuesday, UK announced that EJ Floréal was leaving the men's hoops team to pursue a career with the track & field team, which his father, Eldrick Floréal, is the head coach of.

Basketball head coach John Calipari is happy to see the senior get a chance to pursue his track dreams while playing with his father.

"I’m really happy for EJ and this opportunity to run for his father, who is one of the best in the world at what he does," UK men’s basketball head coach John Calipari said. "EJ has elite athleticism, and I’m happy for him that he’ll truly get a chance to shine. I want to thank him for his hard work and dedication to our basketball program. He was a great teammate; he improved immensely over the last three years, and he was a big part of our success."

For EJ, getting to suit up for Kentucky Basketball has been really special for him, but he knows the track is where his best chance at long-term success is.

"First of all, I just want to thank Coach Calipari, my coaches and my teammates for the opportunity I’ve had the last three years," Floréal said Tuesday in a press release. "One of my goals was to play alongside the best players in the country and to grow and develop, and I think I’ve done that.

"Sometimes other opportunities come along. I want to use my athleticism to truly excel, and after seeing what my dad has done with his track and field athletes, I felt like this was my best chance to be the best version of myself. I want to make something clear: This was completely my decision and my decision alone.

"I know this transition won’t be easy, but I was bred for this. As much as I love basketball, track is in my blood. I’m excited for the next step."

As for EJ's father, Eldrick, it's going to be a special opportunity to coach his son on the track team.

"I’m looking forward to having EJ on the team and watching him reach his potential," Coach Floréal said. "I’m thankful to Coach Calipari for giving him an opportunity to play basketball at UK."

Good luck to EJ as he looks to make a career out of what his father has done at an amazing level with UK.