The Kentucky Wildcats got some much-needed backcourt help Friday when Davion Mintz announced his commitment to John Calipari’s program.
The former Creighton guard wasn’t viewed as one of the top transfers this offseason, nor was he the best guard to hit the market. With bigger names like Radford’s Carlik Jones, Harvard’s Bryce Aiken, Kansas State’s Cartier Diarra and Bowling Green’s Justin Turner out there, it seemed odd that Kentucky quickly zeroed in on a guy who average 9.7 points and 3.0 assists per game two years ago and missed all of last season while redshirting with a high ankle sprain.
But Calipari is a Hall of Fame coach for a reason, and he thought what mintz brought to the table is exactly what Kentucky needed.
However, Kentucky did in fact look into other backcourt options before settling on Mintz, according to Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader.
The Herald-Leader was told that UK vetted other guards who were ranked much higher on such lists but viewed Mintz as uniquely suited to its needs for next season. Not only is he a veteran player that can handle point guard duties and be counted on as a defender, but he’s proven he can excel at a high level of college basketball, unlike many top grad transfers that move “up” after starring for low- and mid-major programs. He also adds some leadership to what will be one of John Calipari’s youngest teams.
It’s good to know Calipari looked into those other options before taking a commitment from Mintz. And it makes sense that Mintz is the best fit, as all indications are that he’s a true team player who won’t become a distraction if he starts falling behind in the rotation, nor is he coming in expecting to take a lot of shots each game. He just wants to win and is willing to do whatever it takes to help Kentucky accomplish that.
“Coach Cal wants to win games, and he wants to do it immediately,” Mintz told the Herald-Leader. “And that was the basis for our whole conversation. He expects guys to come in, work hard, challenge themselves every day. One thing he specifically told me is that if you don’t love basketball, don’t come here. So the dedication aspect will be there. And I seriously think — with this roster — there’s no limit, there’s no cap to how good we can be.”
Mintz is also known as a great perimeter defender, something that’s very hard to find on the transfer market when guys are typically looking to transfer to schools where they’ll be a bigger focus of the offense.
He may not be the flashiest transfer this offseason, but it sounds like Mintz and Kentucky were the perfect marriage.