Kentucky-Morehead State notes: Mays the distributor? Not so fast

jtipton@herald-leader.comNovember 20, 2012 

Kentucky Wildcats guard Julius Mays (34) reacted to a three-pointer as the University of Kentucky played Maryland in the Barclays Center Classic held in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY., Friday, November 9, 2012. This is first half action. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff

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During the second half of Kentucky's victory over Lafayette, Julius Mays had scoring on his mind as he drove toward the basket. "At first, I was thinking layup," he said Tuesday, the memory bringing a smile to his face.

A few steps closer to the basket, Mays threw a cross-court pass to a wide-open Kyle Wiltjer, who swished a three-point shot.

"I had drawn most of the defense," Mays said. "I knew he had a better shot."

Such improvisational skill contributed to a career-high 10 assists for Mays. Combined with no turnovers in 31 minutes, he played a key role in UK's continuing need to play without its presumptive point guard, Ryan Harrow.

"I knew I was passing to a lot of people who were making shots," Mays said. "I knew I had a nice amount of assists."

Mays seemed to caution reporters not to make too much of his 10 assists.

"It's not like Coach Cal (John Calipari) is telling me I can't push it and make a play," he said.

Road worriers

In its most recent game on an opponent's court, Morehead State played dismally. The Eagles lost 67-45 at Maryland, committing 20 turnovers and getting credit for only four assists. MSU made one of 14 three-point shots.

"Defensively we played hard enough and tough enough," Morehead State Coach Sean Woods said. "We just couldn't make shots. And then we turned the ball over way too much."

Woods lamented how the Eagles played "too nervous and anxious" at Maryland. "I just want us to play hard and smart," he said. "And we'll see where the chips fall."

Name calling

Woods, 42, said his players tease him about his age.

"They call me old-timer," he said. "I'm sure everybody else is going to be calling me old-timer now."

When a reporter noted that Woods might be called a lot worse than that after his controversial comments on Monday, Woods said, "I hope not. I still love this place. I'm still the old Sean Woods. I didn't mean anything to (tick) off anybody. ... If I could take it back, I would. It was just what I was feeling at that particular time.

"This is my favorite place. I admire John Calipari to the fullest. I think he's one of the best and one of the brightest young, er, minds in college basketball."

When a reporter noted that Woods self-edited the word "young" out of his praise of Calipari, the Morehead State coach smiled and said, "Used to be."

Woods called Calipari "a mentor of mine and been there for me every stretch of the way."

John Wall connection

Morehead State's leading scorer, Milton Chavis, played with former UK All-American John Wall on the high school level. That team, which also included Dez Wells (Maryland) and C.J. Leslie (North Carolina State) enjoyed a 30-2 record and won a North Carolina state championship.

"It was even across the board," Chavis said of the team's star power. "Kind of like a Big Three type of thing or a Big Four."

Chavis described Wall as "just a great guy, a humble guy. ... He's just a good dude."

The two still talk, Chavis said.

Chavis leads Morehead State in scoring with an average of 17.3 points. He's already more than doubled his total of three-point baskets from last year (eight to three).

Poythress-Mashburn

During the telecast of UK's game against Lafayette, analyst Kyle Macy likened freshman Alex Poythress to Jamal Mashburn.

To which, Woods expressed surprise.

"Jamal Mashburn? Wow!" Woods said Monday. "I don't know about that one. Jamal Mashburn was pretty dog-gone good. And he can do a lot more things at this point than Poythress can.

"I think Poythress is more of a banger that's trying to be a skill guy. Jamal Mashburn already had that coming in."

Woods called Poythress a "very, very good" player. But, he added, "Jamal Mashburn, that's going a little bit too far. Jamal Mashburn may be the most talented player to ever wear the big blue."

Macy said Tuesday he meant that Poythress had a similar body to what Mashburn had as a freshman.

Etc.

Dave Baker and Macy will call Wednesday's game for Fox Sports South.

Jerry Tipton: (859) 231-3227Twitter: @JerryTiptonBlog: ukbasketball.bloginky.com

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