UK women’s coach Matthew Mitchell has become one of the main attractions at Big Blue Madness in recent years, showcasing his dance moves for the Rupp crowd with full-on impersonations of artists like Michael Jackson and M.C. Hammer.
Mitchell’s been getting it done once the season starts too, leading the Cats to the Elite Eight three of the past four years. That success starts with recruiting, and the UK coach will have a dozen high-profile prospects in Rupp on Friday night.
Class of 2014
Alexis Jennings | Madison, Ala.
Jennings — a 6-foot-2 post player — is one of UK’s three commitments from the senior class. ESPN ranks her as the No. 9 post player and No. 64 overall prospect in the Class of 2014. Her high school coach’s evaluation: “She can shoot the three; she can post up with her back to the basket; she can run the floor, she can rebound, she’s relentless on the offensive glass. There’s not a whole lot to not like.”
Jaycee Coe | Cookeville, Tenn.
Coe — a 6-foot wing — committed to the Cats last fall after attending Big Blue Madness. She had reported offers from from Georgia, Louisville, Middle Tennessee, Oklahoma, Vanderbilt and others before pledging for Kentucky. Coe is considered one of the best shooters in the senior class.
Class of 2015
Maci Morris | Pineville, Ky.
Morris — a 6-foot guard from Eastern Kentucky — committed to the Cats during an in-home visit with Mitchell last month. ESPN ranks her as the No. 16 player in the junior class at the guard position. Morris’ father describes her as a lifelong UK fan: “You don’t get any better than Kentucky, as far as we’re concerned,” Lewis Morris said. “Kentucky — that’s it. You’re at the highest level you can go to. You’re at the best program in the country. That’s the way we feel about it.”
Napheesa Collier | St. Louis, Mo.
Collier — a 6-foot-1 wing — is considered the No. 7 overall prospect in the Class of 2015. She was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Missouri as a sophomore last season after averaging 24.4 points, 11.7 rebounds, 4.4 steals, 2.5 blocks and 2.0 assists per game. Major programs such as UConn, Tennessee and Notre Dame are all pursuing her.
MeMe Jackson | Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Jackson — a 5-foot-11 prospect — is ranked by ESPN as the No. 8 wing in the junior class. She’s also considered the No. 43 overall prospect. Pretty much every school in the SEC is hoping for Jackson’s commitment.
Kaylan Pugh | Collierville, Tenn.
Pugh — a 5-foot-9 wing — is ranked as the No. 41 overall player in the class by ProspectsNation.com.
Brittany Ward | Indianapolis, Ind.
Ward — a 6-foot-1 wing — is ranked by ESPN as the No. 26 overall prospect in the class and the fifth-best player at her position. Fun fact: She attends the same high school that produced former UK men’s point guard Marquis Teague.
Class of 2016
Erin Boley | Hodgenville, Ky.
Boley — a 6-foot-2 forward — is already considered one the best players in the nation in the sophomore class. Mitchell attended one of her high school’s open gyms last month and several other Division I coaches have stopped by to see her play. UK will have to battle other big programs like UConn, Stanford and Tennessee for her commitment.
Krys McCune | Louisville, Ky.
McCune — a 6-foot-3 center — played varsity ball as an eighth-grader and is entering her sophomore season at Manual.
Class of 2017
Lindsey Duvall | Mt. Washington, Ky.
Duvall — a 5-foot-9 guard — will be a freshman at Bullitt East this fall. She put up solid numbers as an eighth-grader last season.
Mikayla Coombs | Norcross, Ga.
Coombs — a 5-foot-8 guard — is already considered one of the best freshmen in the nation.
Kasiyahna Kushkituah | Alpharetta, Ga.
Kushkituah — a 6-foot-4 center — is a skilled post player who is already drawing attention from some top college programs.