A 2012-13 Kentucky basketball team that was shaping up to be thin on experience and depth added a little bit of both Sunday.
Julius Mays, a 6-foot-2 combo guard from Wright State, announced that he will transfer to UK. Since Mays is on pace to graduate this spring and plans to attend graduate school in an area not offered at Wright State, he is expected to be allowed to play immediately for the Cats. He has one year of eligibility remaining.
Mays averaged 14.1 points per game last season for the Raiders, leading the team in scoring, assists and steals. He was named the Horizon League's newcomer of the year and was a second-team all-conference selection.
Mays, who will be 23 years old when the season begins, is expected to play significant minutes off the bench behind a likely starting backcourt of sophomore Ryan Harrow and freshman Archie Goodwin.
Never miss a local story.
"I'm excited," Mays told Cats Illustrated. "That's obviously two very talented guys. We all bring something different to the table. It'll be exciting. We'll have a lot of fun and hopefully get a lot of wins."
Mays can play both guard positions, and his three-point shooting should come in especially handy for a team that projected to be weak from behind the arc.
He went 50-for-118 (42.4 percent) on threes last season, and made three or more three-pointers in eight of 29 regular-season games. For the sake of comparison, outgoing UK sharpshooter Doron Lamb accomplished that feat nine times in 31 regular-season games.
Mays also shot 83.2 percent from the free-throw line, better than any Kentucky player from last season.
Another newcomer on a team full of them, Mays already has a connection to Harrow. Both players began their college careers at N.C. State, and Mays hosted Harrow on his official visit to the school. Mays left the Wolfpack for Wright State before Harrow's freshman season, so the two never played together in Raleigh.
Now, they'll be teammates at Kentucky.
"It's a really small world," Mays told the News & Observer last week. "It's amazing how things can happen."
Mays averaged 4.7 points in 58 games for N.C. State before sitting out as a transfer in 2010-11 and playing last season for Wright State.
John Calipari was looking for a veteran presence for a squad short on college experience. Harrow sat out last year after playing just one season at N.C. State, and incoming freshmen Nerlens Noel, Alex Poythress, Archie Goodwin and Willie Cauley-Stein will be expected to carry much of the load. Sophomore Kyle Wiltjer will be the only returning contributor from Kentucky's national championship team.
Jon Hood, Twany Beckham and Jarrod Polson will also return for the Cats. Beckham and Polson played sparingly, and Hood missed the title run after tearing his ACL before the season.
Calipari might not be finished adding to the 2012-13 roster.
Four-star forward Amile Jefferson is scheduled to announce his college decision Tuesday. The Philadelphia native has narrowed his list to UK, N.C. State, Duke, Ohio State and hometown Villanova.
Also on Calipari's radar is Montrezl Harrell, a highly rated power forward who originally committed to Virginia Tech but was released from that commitment after the school fired Coach Seth Greenberg. Harrell received his release over the weekend and UK is on the list of schools expected to pursue him. There is no timetable for his decision.