The combo guard announced Sunday night that he had picked UK over Purdue, the school he grew up in Marion, Ind., wanting to play for. However, the main reasons Mays was leaving Wright State were to showcase his abilities in a program that could help him get to the NBA and to play for a championship contender — things Kentucky could offer.
He averaged 14.2 points per game last year after sitting out a season following his transfer from North Carolina State where he played his first two seasons averaging 4.7 points per game in 58 games. He is set to graduate in June and should be eligible to play next season for the Wildcats.
The 6-2 Mays, a former Indiana high school all-star, was the Horizon League newcomer of the year. He led Wright State in scoring, assists (74) and steals while shooting 42.4 percent from 3-point range (50-for-118). He made at least three 3-pointer in eight games last season. Mays also hit 83.2 percent from the free-throw line last season, setting a school record by making 19 free throws againstIllinois-Chicago last January.
Mays will add depth to UK’s backcourt where Ryan Harrow, who sat out last season after transferring from North Carolina State, is expected to start at point guard and five-star recruit Archie Goodwin at two guard. Mays is considered more of a two guard but can also play the point at times similar to what Doron Lamb did for UK’s national championship team last season.
While shooting is his strength, defense has been his biggest deficiency because he’s not an overly physical player and not as athletic as other perimeter players Calipari has had at Kentucky.
Jon Hood, Twany Beckham and Jarrod Polson will be UK’s other returning perimeter players but Beckham and Polson played little last year and Hood missed all season with a knee injury.
Calipari could still add another player as UK is one of the final five schools for four-star forward Amile Jefferson of Philadelphia who is scheduled to announce his college choice Tuesday. He is also considering North Carolina State, Duke, Ohio State and Villanova.
Kentucky also has shown interest in power forward Montrezl Harrell, a Virginia Tech signee who was released from that commitment after the school fired coach Seth Greenberg.