Kyle Wiltjer, Marcus Lee, Jemarl Baker, and now Johnny Juzang. There is a long line of big-time recruits from the West coast that came to Kentucky only to end up finishing their college careers elsewhere.
While playing time and “fit” was certainly a factor for some of those, it is certainly possible that being so far away from family played a major role as well. According to Juzang’s father, that absolutely applies to him.
“When you think about being homesick, I’m not sure how he played at the end was much of a factor,” Maxie Juzang, Johnny’s father, told The Athletic. “Johnny was young, so it took him a little longer to adjust mentally and maturity-wise, and the fact that me and my wife both work and didn’t get out there near as much as we thought we might really made it tough.”
If you remember, Juzang was a reclassified recruit who chose to leave high school a year early for college. Kentucky has had success with reclassification in the past (see Karl-Anthony Towns and Ashton Hagans), but moving so far away at such a young age age was apparently not the best idea for Johnny.
You hate to see a guy leave for any reason, but it is somewhat reassuring to know that it had nothing to do with his Kentucky experience. Juzang’s departure will not be used as fodder for negative recruiting against Kentucky, and in fact it seems like Juzang and his family remain big fans of John Calipari.
“We don’t have any hard feelings about anything,” Maxie Juzang said.
Read more about Maxie Juzang’s interview with Kyle Tucker of The Athletic here.