Harrow originally committed to play at NC State as a sophomore in high school in June of 2008. That was just months before Mays arrived at NC State as a freshman.
What does Mays remember about Harrow during his visits to NC State over the final two years of his high school career?
“He was a little stick,” Mays said.
Ryan Harrow. (UK Athletics photo by Britney McIntosh)
Julius Mays. (UK Athletics photo by Britney McIntosh)
Harrow was not yet lifting weights at that point in his career. A year on the sideline at UK has helped him bulk up.
“I’m sure he respects me more because I was a little kid (then),” Harrow said. “I committed when I was a sophomore, so he saw me when I was in the 10th grade and was about 15, 16 years old. You can imagine how I looked back then.”
What does Harrow remember about Mays?
“I just knew that he could shoot,” Harrow said. “He’s still doing that today. He’s a really good shooter. I think that will help us out a lot to make the defense be more honest.”
Harrow and Mays never got the chance to play together at NC State.
Mays transferred to Wright State just before Harrow made it to campus. Harrow lasted a year there before deciding to transfer himself.
UK head coach John Calipari had recruited Harrow in high school, so he was interested when Harrow made it known he was transferring. Harrow sat out the 2012-13 season per NCAA transfer rules but toward the end of his redshirt season he learned his old friend Mays might be joining him in Lexington.
“He let me in on how things worked here,” Mays said of Harrow. “It made me a lot more comfortable.”
What was Harrow’s advice?
“There’s no preparing (for UK),” he said.
Mays recently brought up that exchange to Harrow.
“He was like, ‘Remember I texted you and asked how to prepare and you sent a quick response back?’ I said, ‘Yeah. You thought I was joking, but there’s no way to prepare for this,’” Harrow recounted.
Now reunited, Mays, a redshirt senior, and Harrow, a redshirt sophomore, are the only players on UK’s roster with double-digit starts in their college careers.
They can both commiserate over the experience of a redshirt transfer season as well.
“It was hard knowing that I’ve got to do everything they did: I’ve got to wake up in the morning, I’ve got to lift weights, I’ve got to do these hard practices, I’ve got to run these sprints, but I’m not going to get on the floor,” Harrow said of his season on the UK sideline. “I would have my down days.”
Mays’ redshirt season came after transferring from NC State to Wright State.
“I felt like a practice dummy,” he said. “I practiced, didn’t play during the games, didn’t travel anywhere. The team would leave, and I’m just there. It was real hard. That was a time that I just wanted to quit.”
A NCAA rule allowing players who have graduated but have remaining playing eligibility to transfer and immediately play at a school that offers a graduate program not offered by their current institution has given Mays, who is enrolled in UK’s kinesiology and health promotion master’s program, and Harrow a second chance at playing together.
Harrow is expected to start, while Mays should give UK a shooting threat off the bench and could even backup Harrow at point guard at times.
“I’m just glad he’s here because he helps me out a lot,” Harrow said. “If I get stuck, I’ve got an open man to throw it to and he’s going to knock the shot down.”
Harrow will also get the chance to show Mays he’s not just a skinny youngster anymore.
Mays has noticed.
“You can finally see that he’s got a little mass to him.”