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John Calipari and Davion Mintz comment on return, which ends a long drought for UK

Mintz returning to UK ends a drought that had lasted over a decade.

UK Athletics

Davion Mintz is returning to the Kentucky Wildcats for his final season of eligibility for the 2021-22 year.

By doing so, Mintz will be the first Wildcat to return to school after leading the team in scoring average the previous season since Randolph Morris led the 2005-06 squad and came back to Kentucky for the 2006-07 season.

Additionally, in terms of total points scored (not scoring average), Kentucky has not had its leading scorer return since Keith Bogans led the 2000-01 squad and came back to Lexington for the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons.

“First of all, I want to thank everyone for the support they have provided me the last couple of months while I pursued my dream of playing professionally,” Mintz said in a press release. “I really appreciate the support from my coaches, my teammates and my family while I went through this process. I wanted to give it a real shot and I feel like I did that. I know that I am ready and closer to my ultimate goal of playing in the NBA.

“Having said that, my heart has guided me back to Kentucky for one more year. I want another season on the national stage to prove that I am ready to play at the highest level. I can’t wait to get back to Lexington with my teammates and experience the full effect of Big Blue Nation. It’s time to get back to work.”

The 6-3 guard will return to Kentucky after leading the team in total points (288), 3-pointers (56), assists (77) and double-figure scoring games (17). He averaged 11.5 points per game, including 16.7 points per outing over the last six games, shot 37.8% from deep, and dished out a team-best 3.1 assists per game.

After going through the NBA Draft evaluation process, Mintz will withdraw his name from the 2021 NBA Draft less than a week prior to the July 7 NCAA deadline. His return will officially make this the most experienced team of what will be the 13th season of the Calipari era, which includes 13,385 minutes, 5,203 points, 1,917 rebounds, 1,132 assists and 543 total 3-pointers in college basketball production.

The Wildcats’ 2021-22 roster currently features a sixth-year graduate, a fifth-year graduate, a redshirt junior, six juniors, a redshirt sophomore, two sophomores and three freshmen.

“I am so happy for Davion because he was able to explore all of his options and decided to come back to a place that he loves,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “He is one of the most appreciative players I have coached in my time here. I said to his parents after last season, ‘I can coach him for the next 10 years.’ He is that kind of person, player and leader. Our team is different than last season and there is more competition, but there is no question that Davion makes us better. He improved so much from the start of last season to the end and I can’t wait to see that continued growth in his second year with us.”

Let’s ball.