Posted: 2:35 p.m. Sunday, May 12, 2013
By Greg Alan Edwards
New coaches, new players, new goals, and new stars are going to be the norm for the UK hoops squad in the next few seasons. If you blink you will miss some of it. Let’s get caught up.
Everyone knows that UK’s new assistant coach Jeff House is on board. What we do not yet know is where his expertise will lead us. Any improvement he can bring will most likely teleport UK into the top of the women’s college game, as they stand now on the cusp and just needing a push. If House can bring them to that next level, all bets are off for what this team can accomplish next season.
Linnae Harper, new UK signee, has been invited to the U19 World Championship team tryouts. While on the men’s side this would not create much buzz, on the women’s, this is big news. The caliber of player that UK is getting is rising each and every season. Losing A’Dia Mathies will not hurt so bad with players like Harper in the wings.
Speaking of Mathies, she and Crystal Riley, former player and current student-coach, will be receiving their degrees on Sunday. Mathies will receive her Bachelor of Arts degree, while Riley gets her Bachelor of Science diploma. In all, 46 current Kentucky student-athletes will be graduating.
Mathies thanked many people for her success at UK:
This weekend is so special for me and my family," Mathies said. "I can’t wait to walk across that stage, shake Dr. (Eli) Capilouto’s hand, and get my degree. I’m thankful I came to Kentucky because it has all the resources available to help you succeed and become anything you want. I want to thank the coaching staff, the two academic counselors I’ve had in Jon Ross and Tiffany Hayden and all the other staff in CATS (Center for Academic and Tutorial Services) for everything they’ve done to help me reach this goal.
Jon Ross and Tiffany Hayden have done some exemplary work for the UK student-athletes while at Kentucky. I hope they continue on with the program. CATS is just another example of why our kids are so successful at Kentucky.
Not to be outdone, DeNesha Stallworth has been invited to the 2013 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games team trials. She is one of 31 invitees to their program. The 2013 World University Games women’s basketball competition will be held July 8-15 in Kazan, Russia. Organized by the International University Sports Federation and held every other year, the games are a multiple-sport competition open to men and women who are between the ages of 17 and 24. The USA Basketball women’s team will be comprised of U.S. players who are currently enrolled in college and have remaining eligibility. The entire list of attendees can be seen here.
Kastine Evans has been awarded the VanMeter Community Service Award. She participated in a service trip in Ethiopia last summer where she interacted with residents of impoverished communities, planned sporting activities with children and helped renovate houses. Upon her return, she began working with UK’s administration and compliance personnel to create her own non-profit organization for children called, "Shooting at Success." It provides children from low-income families an outlet after school to help them create strong character development, establish dynamic and powerful personalities, and is designed to inspire them to achieve academically, in extracurricular activities, and in life.
UK Hoops will start the 2013-2014 season ranked in the Top 10 once again, and they should be up to the task. Look for more Hoops news as we get it available.