The buzz around Lexington this summer has been the competitive fire of incoming freshman Tyrese Maxey, who continues to dazzle in pre-season workouts as the happy-go-lucky point guard seemingly always beats you with a smile.
It’s a trick that fellow SEC point guard Josiah-Jordan James knows all too well.
James, also an incoming freshman at rival Tennessee, played alongside Maxey on the USA 18U National Team that won the gold medal at the 2018 FIBA U18 Americas Championship. The No. 14 ranked player in the country is expected to have some epic battles with Maxey as Kentucky hopes to reclaim the top spot in the SEC next season.
“He really is always smiling,” said James in a recent post by Larry Vaught. “He is never having a bad day and that’s what I like about him the most. He’s a great competitor and I can’t wait until I match up with him because I know how good he is and how hard he will play.”
Maxey, of Garland, Texas, was ranked No. 11 overall by ESPN and was UK Coach John Calipari’s first signee for the 2019-20 season. As a senior, Maxey averaged 22.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.3 steals per game last season at South Garland High School.
“I think he is a great guard and great player. He is a great person as well,” said James, the 2019 Mr. Basketball in South Carolina. “He’s fun to be around but on the court it is all business all the time. He has great energy. He is never trying to bring anybody down. He is always trying to uplift people and that’s the type of leader you want to be around. As good a player as he is, that quality might make him an even better teammate to have.”
At 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, Maxey can play both guard spots and could be a double-threat this season with returning point guard Ashton Hagans as Calipari could easily play both in a return to the dribble-drive offense. A move that could bring even more smiles throughout BBN.
Always has a smile on his face! What I really love about @TyreseMaxey is he wanted the challenge of this place. https://t.co/6S9f747Wrb— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) July 8, 2019