Davion Mintz to return to Kentucky for the 2021-22 season


Kentucky Wildcats guard Davion Mintz (10) lays the ball up during the University of Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt men’s basketball game on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 77-74. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Hunter Shelton

John Calipari’s backcourt for the 2021-22 season just got one guard deeper. 

Davion Mintz will withdraw from the 2021 NBA Draft and return to Lexington for his final year of eligibility. 

Mintz led the 2020-21 Wildcats in scoring, 3-point shooting and assists, and will become the first Wildcat to return to the bluegrass after leading his team in scoring the previous year since Randolph Morris in 2005-06. 

“First of all, I want to thank everyone for the support they have provided me the last couple of months while I pursued my dream of playing professionally,” Mintz said. “I really appreciate the support from my coaches, my teammates and my family while I went through this process. I wanted to give it a real shot and I feel like I did that. I know that I am ready and closer to my ultimate goal of playing in the NBA. 

“Having said that, my heart has guided me back to Kentucky for one more year. I want another season on the national stage to prove that I am ready to play at the highest level. I can’t wait to get back to Lexington with my teammates and experience the full effect of Big Blue Nation. It’s time to get back to work.” 

The return of Mintz adds to a roster that is filled with talent. Mintz becomes the fifth player to return to UK after the 2020-21 season, joining fellow guard Dontaie Allen and forwards Keion Brooks Jr., Jacob Toppin and Lance Ware. 

Coach Cal added four transfers to bolster the rotation in CJ Fredrick, Kellan Grady, Sahvir Wheeler and Oscar Tshiebwe to go along with yet another highly touted recruiting class that features guard TyTy Washington and forward Daimion Collins. 

“I am so happy for Davion because he was able to explore all of his options and decided to come back to a place that he loves,” John Calipari said. “He is one of the most appreciative players I have coached in my time here. I said to his parents after last season, ‘I can coach him for the next 10 years.’ He is that kind of person, player and leader. Our team is different than last season and there is more competition, but there is no question that Davion makes us better. He improved so much from the start of last season to the end and I can’t wait to see that continued growth in his second year with us.” 

The addition of Mintz makes the 2021-22 squad the most experienced team in the Calipari era. The roster now includes a sixth and fifth-year graduate, a redshirt junior as well as six other juniors, a redshirt sophomore, two sophomores and three freshmen 

Mintz’s return also means that UK will return 42.1% of its minutes and 41.9% of its scoring from last season.  

Calipari coached teams that return this much production have proved to be only positive, as the only two teams under coach Cal that have returned more minutes and points than this 2021-22 group were the 2011-12 national championship team and the 2014-15 squad that made it to the Final Four and began the year 38-0.  

The Gastonia, North Carolina native averaged 11.5 points per game while shooting 37.8% from three-point range and averaging 3.1 assists per game, all of which led the team last season.  

Mintz began his collegiate career at Creighton, where he played in 97 games for the Blue jays. As a sophomore he led the Big East in assist-to-turnover ratio before redshirting in 2019-20 due to an ankle injury, eventually transferring to UK.  

Mintz is expected to soon return to Lexington and join the team for summer workouts as the 2021 fall semester approaches.