Former Palo Alto High standout EJ Floreal announced Tuesday he will join the University of Kentucky track and field team.
Floreal was the big reason the Vikings won the first Central Coast Section boys track and field championship in school history as a junior in 2012 when he won the 100 and 200 and anchored the 4x100 relay team to victory at the CCS finals.
The son of former Stanford head track and field coach Edrick Floreal, EJ moved with his family to Lexington, Kentucky, for his senior year of high school when his father took the head coaching job at the University of Kentucky.
EJ was a member of the talent-laden Kentucky basketball team for three years.
“First of all I just want to thank Coach Calipari, my coaches and my teammates for the opportunity I've had the last three years," EJ said in a statement furnished by Kentucky. “One of my goals was to play alongside the best players in the country and to grow and develop, and I think I've done that.
“Sometimes other opportunities come along. I want to use my athleticism to truly excel. After seeing what my dad has done with his track and field athletes, I felt like this was my best chance to be the best version of myself. I want to make something clear: This was completely my decision and my decision alone.
“I know this transition won't be easy, but I was bred for this. As much as I love basketball, track is in my blood. I'm excited for the next step."
Floréal's basketball career at Kentucky comes to an end after three NCAA Tournament appearances, trips to the 2014 and 2015 Final Fours, and Southeastern Conference regular-season and tournament championships in 2015 and 2016. He was a two-time SEC Honor Roll member. He played 29 games in three seasons, and tallied three points, two steals, a block and eight rebounds at UK.
“I'm really happy for EJ and this opportunity to run for his father, who is one of the best in the world at what he does," Calipari said. “EJ has elite athleticism and I'm happy for him that he'll truly get a chance to shine. I want to thank him for his hard work and dedication to our basketball program. He was a great teammate. He improved immensely over the last three years and he was a big part of our success."