‘Best decision of my life.’ Davion Mintz reflects on time at UK ahead of Senior Night


Kentucky Wildcats guard Davion Mintz (10) calls for his teammates to get back on defense during the UK vs. Robert Morris basketball game on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 100-60. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Hunter Shelton

Davion Mintz embodies what it means to be a part of Kentucky basketball.  

Through the ups and downs in his collegiate career, Mintz has kept a positive mindset and brought his best effort every time he has stepped foot on a court in blue and white, whether it be for Creighton or Kentucky.  

On Tuesday, March 1, he will finally receive the proper sendoff he deserves from Big Blue Nation as he will be honored on Senior Night. 

It’s just like a lot, it’s a lot to think about. It’s a lot of emotions that go into it because my journey has been crazy,” Mintz said. “I know my family is so proud of me. They don’t get to tell me all the time but I’m just thinking of the things my mom is thinking and my dad is thinking. Like, man, this kid has really been through a lot to get to this point. So, it’s going to be special for us.” 

Tuesday will technically be Mintz’s second Senior Night, but his first with family.  

As a senior at Creighton, he redshirted due to injury and wasn’t able to participate in the Blue Jays’ festivities. Last season at Kentucky, due to the pandemic there was no normal Senior Night. 

Before the Wildcats take on Ole Miss in the final game at Rupp Arena this season, Mintz will take the court with his family in front of a packed house as he is honored for the time and dedication he gave to UK.  

“My family wasn’t able to come my Senior Night at Creighton — even though it wasn’t my Senior Night. They didn’t get to show up, but just knowing the guys that were my freshman roommates and then we get to this special night and we’re all supposed to be walking together, and I’ve got a boot on my ankle. I’m sitting here thinking, I don’t even know what’s next for me,” Mintz said.

“Then next year, I come to Kentucky and I didn’t even expect that and I have a Senior Night and my parents can’t even come on the floor. So then this time, it’s like, okay, this is for real. I really get to see it and feel it.” 

Since his arrival to Lexington, Mintz has been a fan-favorite amongst BBN, always seen with a smile on his face and a positive attitude.  

Mintz really made his mark for Kentucky last season, doing all he could to keep the ship afloat when nothing went right for John Calipari and the Cats. Who finished the year at 9-16, failing to make the NCAA Tournament.  

There was a lack of visible support from the fanbase inside and outside of the arena, whether that be due to the challenges of the pandemic or the product that was pushed out onto the court.  

Fast forwarding to this season, the world is slowly crawling back to normal as BBN once again fills up seats to watch their National Championship contending Cats.  

Mintz made a life-changing decision last offseason, returning to Kentucky for one final go-round in Lexington. As he has witnessed the changes from last year to now, his choice to return is validated.  

“It’s been a great season. Just looking back from last year all the way to this year, we’ve come a long way and I’ve just seen what the heart of this place is, really. Even though everyone was still super encouraging last year, this year’s just completely different,” Mintz said. “Seeing this place filled up, it’s been great. That’s really all I can say about it. It’s been the best decision of my life, once again.” 

After being the go-to guy on a struggling team last season, Mintz had to adjust into a new role for the 2021-22 campaign. A reloaded group of transfers and freshman meant Mintz’s time as a member of the starting lineup was over.  

Instead of pouting and regretting his choice to return, Mintz did what he’s done his entire career: Moved upward and onward.  

“For me, it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me, because I really found myself this year and I started to fall in love with my role. You really start to see who’s with you and who’s not when you go through something like this,” he said. 

“Your real support system starts to step up and people who really care and value you start to show face, and people who don’t do as well and that’s the best thing that can happen. You start to lose the cancers around you. The team is doing really well and I’m doing really well, so I’ve learned a lot through this process.” 

Mintz will be remembered fondly by the Kentucky faithful, there is zero doubt about that. Playing basketball at the UK standard is one thing, but the way that he has represented the name on the front and back of his jersey will create a legacy that will last longer than anything he could do with a ball in his hands.  

“I want to be known as that guy who tried to give his all no matter what happened, honestly,” Mintz said. “That guy that you knew was always going to go out there and fight. A guy that will sacrifice everything for his team and then leave as a winner. When you see my name and put it beside Kentucky, I want people to say, this guy won and he fought every night and he tried and he represented this place the way we wanted it to be represented.” 

That guy now gets one final chance to ball out in a UK uniform inside of Rupp Arena. That guy has put up thousands of shots on that court, with many of them going in. That guy has provided energy every time he laced up his shoes. That guy has been the source of many “Rupp Roars” throughout his time at UK.  

Even still, the settings and moments that he finds himself in are not lost on the Charlotte native. 

“Sometimes even in the middle of the games, I’ll just be thinking, ‘Man, I really go to Kentucky. I’m really here right now.’ It’s still crazy to me.”