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Link: Floreal paving his own path in family full of achievers

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Floreal is quickly becoming a household name around UK Athletics.

Edrick Floreal is entering his second year at the helm of UK track and field and cross country, fresh off a season during which the Wildcats opened a new outdoor facility and made significant strides as a program. Now, his son will be joining another Wildcat team.

E.J. Floreal will play on John Calipari's 2013-14 team. The high-school track star accepted a walk-on spot with the men's basketball team and on Wednesday got the treatment.

The story talks a lot about the Floreal family's athletic background, but the following excerpt spells out how he ended up at UK and why.

Of course, wanting to go to UK and actually playing there were two different concepts.

Floreal had options to play other places. He turned down Santa Clara and Cal Poly. Western Kentucky showed interest. Even Tennessee and Arkansas took hard looks at Floreal, and both were potential spots had Floreal not had his sights set on UK. When Floreal weighed all his possibilities, the place that would push him the hardest and force him to improve is what appealed most to him.

"I wanted to be the best I could be," Floreal said. "I wanted to play with the best, practice with the best, work out with the best. This has the best trainers, best facilities, strength coaches, so this is the best place for me. I also wanted to get some experience with a team that's winning, not a team that's rebuilding - a team that's going to go deep into the tournament."

Still, Floreal had to find a way on to the team.

Just because his dad was the track coach at Kentucky and had become friends with John Calipari didn't mean he had a spot on the team, nor did his dad's prior relationship with assistant coach Kenny Payne. Those factors certainly didn't hurt, but Floreal couldn't just walk on without being able to hold his own.

It was after the Kentucky state tournament, after Floreal had averaged 12.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and roughly five blocks as a senior in his first and only season at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, that the UK coaching staff told them there was a chance he could walk on.

"They pretty much just said that we have to wait and see how the rest of our recruits fill out," Floreal said. "When it was all said and done, there was a spot. I went back and talked to them and they said, 'Do you understand what you're getting into? Do you understand how hard this is going to be? Do you understand this and that?' I was like, 'Yes, I understand, this is what I want to do. I just want to get better and there's no place to get better than Kentucky."

Check out the full story on UK's newest walk-on right here.

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