Nearly two months after Kentucky basketball’s 2020-21 season came to a close, graduate transfer guard Davion Mintz made a rather surprising decision, announcing that he would be testing the NBA Draft waters and leaving the door open for a potential return to Lexington on May 3. It wasn’t that the decision itself was surprising exactly, but rather that most just assumed that’s what he had been doing since the season ended, as UK head coach John Calipari indicated as early as March 16.
The process wasn’t coming to an end anytime soon; it was actually just beginning.
No matter how long things take or the amount of feedback Mintz receives, though, CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander believes the Kentucky guard will ultimately decide to return to Lexington.
In CBS Sports’ official college basketball podcast, Eye On College Basketball, Norlander said he’s hearing that Mintz is likely to return to Kentucky next season in what would be the 6-foot-3 guard’s sixth year of college basketball.
“Davion Mintz is testing the waters,” said Norlander. “But I think Davion Mintz is returning to Kentucky, so you’ll probably get him back, as well.”
Norlander’s co-host, Gary Parrish, added that NBA teams are expected to tell Mintz that he needs to return to school and prove he can shoot well on a winning team, opening the door for a likely return.
“If you’re testing the waters, but making it clear you’re leaving… If you’re not going to get picked – and I don’t think he’s going to get picked – I’m going to project you back to school,” said Parrish. “He says he wants to get NBA feedback. If he listens to the feedback, the feedback is going to say, “Go back to school and be a part of a good team. Show that you can shoot a good percentage from three in back-to-back years, show you can do it on a winning team.” Do what you want, it’s his life, not mine. But if I were advising him, I’d tell him to come back and be part of what could be a very good team.”
Under NCAA rules, Mintz can sign with an NCAA-certified agent, receive feedback and return to school, with the final withdrawal deadline being July 7 (10 days after the NBA Draft Combine).
“These last two months for my family and I have been filled with a lot of reflection and a lot of personal evaluation,” Mintz said. “I have spent a lot of time reflecting on this past season at Kentucky, a truly unique and unforgettable experience, while also trying to figure out what the next step is for me and my career. My ultimate dream has always been to play at the professional level. I believe at some point, whether that is now or down the road, that is where I will be. Figuring out when that time is right while weighing my love for Kentucky and thinking about the possibilities of next season has not been easy, and to be fully honest and transparent, I have not come to a decision yet of what I will ultimately do.
“However, at this point in time, I believe it is in my best interest to officially submit my name for the 2021 NBA Draft to test the waters and go through a proper evaluation period. I am looking forward to the process and I am going into this stage in the decision-making process with an open mind. I appreciate the support and honesty Coach Cal and the staff have shown me throughout this decision and I want to thank Big Blue Nation for your love and your patience as I take this next step.”
Mintz led UK in total points (288), 3-pointers (56), assists (77) and double-figure scoring games (17) in 2020-21. He averaged 11.5 points per game, including 16.7 points per outing over the last six games. On the year, he shot 37.8% from behind the arc and dished out 3.1 assists per game.
You can listen to the entire show here.