Mays: 'The Coaching Staff is Incredible'

Marion (IN) point guard Julius Mays didn't believe he would commit to a program this early in the process.

"To be honest, I hadn't been thinking about it," Julius Mays told Pack Pride. "But I've been to NC State twice now, and I know it's the place for me. The first time I went up there I was amazed with everything, and I never expected it to be that good. I liked the campus and the facilities there... just everything.

"I went back last week with my mom and realized it was going to be a great situation for me so I committed. I'm the only point guard they recruited, and pretty much I just need to do what I can do and everything else is going to work out for me. It can't get any better than what I've got now. If it could I don't even care because NC State is where I want to go. The coaching staff is incredible... I think that was the difference."

Mays had a strong sophomore season for one of the state's top programs. He was already receiving heavy recruiting attention as a few programs had extended offers prior to his decision to verbal to NC State.

"We had a real connection from the beginning."
"I visited Cincinnati the day before I flew down to NC State," said Mays. "Xavier, IU, Purdue, Notre Dame, Penn State, and the mid-major schools were looking at me. Xavier had offered me, Indiana had offered, and the mid-majors had offered. Purdue was going to offer me, but I didn't want to wait because I wanted to make my decision.

"I believe some others were close to offering. I think Cincinnati would have the next time I made it to their campus, and Penn State was getting ready to come and check me out at an open gym. It was really starting to pick up."

Before it could heat up, NC State swooped in and landed the commitment. Head coach Sidney Lowe and his assistants made Mays a priority after evaluating him over the past month.

"They came to a couple of open gyms and said they wanted to get me down to campus," said Mays. "I knew they liked what they saw in me because I could tell how bad they wanted me to go there. I visited with my coach a couple of weeks back and just loved it. They wanted me to come down with my mom, and she really loved it.

"She said it was kind of far but it's a good situation for me in the long run because of the academics and possibly making it to the next level. She may even move with me, probably not the first year but just depending on how long I stay."

What does Mays think of Sidney Lowe?

"I think he's a real great guy," he said. "He's one of the nicest men I've ever met. He's amazing. Every other college I've visited I bonded with the coaches, but I didn't with any like coach Lowe and NC State. We had a real connection from the beginning."

Mays verbaled the day after the Wolfpack's Red-White Game, an event he attended with his mother. He also had a chance to meet a couple of other Wolfpack targets, one he was already familiar with and is now getting to know even better.

"I met one guy named Tracy [Smith], and another named C.J. [Williams]," said Mays. "I've bonded real quick with C.J. We're talking on the phone and all, just getting to know each other better.

"I know he can play because I saw him play this summer in Vegas. He's real athletic... he can jump. He's good. I didn't even know who he was at the time, but I remembered him after seeing him at NC State. He likes State a lot too."

With his decision behind him, Mays is going to focus on the 2006-2007 season. He's going to be leading a Marion team that lost its entire starting frontcourt and will be guard-heavy.

"We lost three seniors, and we're going to be small, but we've got a lot of good guards who can play," he said. "It's going to be interesting. We'll win a lot of games. I think we'll make it far this year."

"I can shoot it, and I think I can outmuscle defenders."

As a sophomore, Mays averaged 17 points a game while playing point guard for Marion. At 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds he already has good size for the position, and feels he might get bigger. Even if he does, he firmly believes that he's a point guard, although he might be labeled a combo because of his ability to light up the scoreboard.

"My strength is I'm a scoring point guard, and I'm strong," he said. "I can shoot it, and I think I can outmuscle defenders. My weaknesses, I can get a little quicker, and I can defend better. I need to get consistent with defense."

"I think a point guard should be able to shoot," he added. "I think a point guard should be able to score. I do think some guys who can score get labeled combo guards even if they play point, but I know where the ball needs to go when the time is right."

Looking for a comparison? Mays says his game is often compared to two point guards who have had successful careers in the NBA.

"I've had people compare me to Rod Strickland when he was younger and Chauncey Billups," he said. "That is what a lot of people say who see me play. I really think Chauncey Billups though with how he can score and create and how strong he is at point guard."

Mays will suit up next summer for SYF or The Playground on the AAU circuit. He knows that with a strong summer more interest and scholarship offers will come his way.

"I'm not going to look anywhere else," he said. "Once I made my decision, it was final. I know where I'm going to college and that's NC State."

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