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Kentucky WBB offseason recruiting news and notes

6 min read
Kentucky WBB offseason recruiting news and notes

The offseason is in full swing and Kentucky women’s basketball is still looking to make some key moves.

So far, the Wildcats have lost a pair of outgoing transfers in starting point guard Jada Walker and role player Kennedy Cambridge. Additionally, the graduations of Blair Green, Robyn Benton, and Adebola Adeyeye have trimmed away plenty of talent from last season’s squad. Losing Walker is the most notable though, as she was expected to fill in once again as a starter in 2023-24 but instead is heading off to Baylor to link up with former ‘Cat, Dre’Una Edwards.

As things stand right now, head coach Kyra Elzy has 11 players locked in for next season, including Nyah Leveretter, who is expected to miss time deep into the schedule as she recovers from a torn ACL, and Tionna Herron, who was a prized recruit before undergoing heart surgery last summer that forced her to miss her entire freshman season. But if Kentucky wants to bounce back from a disappointing 12-19 season in 2022-23, the roster will need some filling out, whether that’s through the transfer portal or the high school ranks.

So what has Kentucky WBB been up to in recent weeks to make that happen? Let’s dive right in and find out.

Janae Walker deciding on Sunday

Coach Elzy has one incoming freshman set to join the team this summer in 6-foot-2 four-star guard Jordy Griggs, but she’s looking to add another at the last minute. The name to keep a very close eye on is class of 2023 forward Janae Walker, who we’ve mentioned several times in recent weeks over on KSBoard.

Walker is an under-the-radar prospect that averaged 20.3 points, 14.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.3 steals, and 2.3 blocks per outing as a senior for Sandy Creek (GA) High School. She was named the Region 5 Class AAA Player of the Year as a result. One writer over at Prep Hoops wrote that Walker “could be a major steal.”

The 6-foot-4 stretch big is a recent Gardner-Webb decommit who took an official visit to Kentucky in April. Not long after that, Walker announced that she was down to just four schools — Kentucky, Southern California, Syracuse, and Wisconsin — with a decision date set for this Sunday

As we inch closer to her decision, Kentucky is in terrific shape to land a commitment from Walker and fans should expect good news once she finally makes the call in a few days.

Lisa Thompson wraps up OV

Walker might not be the only potential late high school addition this offseason, though.

5-foot-9 class of 2023 guard Lisa Thompson wrapped up her official visit to Kentucky on Thursday afternoon after arriving in Lexington on Wednesday. Considered a four-star prospect by ESPN, Thompson, who hails from Illinois, is a recent DePaul decommit with an impressive offer sheet. Before originally committing to the Blue Demons, her Top 6 also consisted of NC State, Florida State, Michigan State, Mississippi State, and Boston College.

Kentucky initially offered Thompson back in July 2020 but didn’t quite gain enough traction to stand out the first time around. She held roughly three dozen Divison I offers before pledging to DePaul. Now, Thompson is focusing on just a handful of schools, Kentucky being one of them. She also took recent visits to West Virginia and Kansas, which are believed to be the schools — along with UK — in contention to land her commitment.

There is currently no timeline for a potential decision.

3 new offers sent out

Kentucky coaches took full advantage of a recent evaluation period in April, with three different high school prospects announcing offers from the Wildcats over the last 10 days. Let’s quickly break them down.

6-foot-5 forward Lorena Awou (2024)

Starting with Lorena Awou, her recruitment has blown up since Kentucky offered on April 25. That scholarship was her first from a Division I program, setting off a snowball effect that saw her haul in offers soon after from the likes of Illinois State, Florida, South Carolina State, Michigan, and Penn State. An Illinois product, Awou plays her AAU basketball for Midwest Elite, which is known for developing high-level high school boys and girls hoopers in the areas of KY, OH, IL, and IN.

The rising senior is already 6-foot-5, which appears to be a point of emphasis for the Kentucky coaches right now on the recruiting trail. Elzy wants to add more pieces 6-foot-4 or taller to help compete with the dominating size of SEC post players. Awou fits the bill.

I am blessed to receive my 1st D1 offer from the University of Kentucky!! @UKCoachLZ @KentuckyWBB @UTPanthers_GBB @mwehoops_eybl #GoWildcats

— lorena (@lorenaawouu) April 25, 2023

5-foot-7 point guard Caliyah Devillasee (2025)

A rising junior out of Baltimore, MD, Caliyah Devillasee received her Kentucky offer on April 24, tagging assistant coach Jen Hoover in her announcement tweet. She previously held scholarships from the likes of Coppin State, Elon, George Mason, and Towson, but an offer from the ‘Cats put her on a different level. Since UK reached out, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Penn State have all offered her.

According to Prep Hoops, Devillasee is considered the second-best ’25 prospect in the state of Maryland and the top-ranked point guard.

After a great conversation with @coachjen_UK, I have received an offer from University of Kentucky. Thank you @UKCoachLZ for believing in me.

— Caliyah ‘Lil Bit’ DeVillasee (@lilbit_2025) April 24, 2023

6-foot-4 forward Maya Nahar (2025)

Lastly, 6-foot-4 rising junior forward Maya Nahar picked up her Kentucky offer on May 2. The Western Reserve Academy (OH) product plays her AAU ball for Louisville-based United BBall Club on the Adidas 3SSB circuit. She holds additional offers from Pittsburgh, Kansas State, BYU, Toledo, Dayton, and Davidson. Nahar figures to be a highly sought-after recruit moving forward.

Congratulations to Maya Nahar ‘25 on receiving an offer from Kentucky! #BBN #GoPios @UKCoachLZ @coachjen_UK @CoachA_Smith @NiyaButts

— ReserveWBB (@ReserveWBB) May 3, 2023

Where will Kennedy Cambridge land?

Kennedy Cambridge was a late freshman addition to last season’s Kentucky squad and quickly made an impact despite inconsistent playing time. She appeared in 18 games for the Wildcats with one start, averaging 2.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.2 steals in 14.3 minutes per game. Nothing too crazy, but she showed enough potential to make fans believe she could take a leap in year two. Unfortunately, it isn’t going to play out that way, as Cambridge entered her name into the transfer portal on March 5, nearly two months ago now.

The 5-foot-8 guard has yet to announce her next college landing spot, but two schools to keep an eye on are Louisville and Middle Tennessee State, the latter coming off a 28-5 season, a Top 25 national ranking, and a spot in the 2023 NCAA Tournament. Cambridge is from Nashville, which is about an hour away from MTSU. As for Louisville, head coach Jeff Walz is looking for pieces to help replace the loss of Hailey Van Lith to LSU and a source tells KSR that Cambridge is on the radar. While she obviously isn’t the same caliber of player as Van Lith, there is interest from both parties.

Taiyier Parks headed back home

Michigan State transfer Taiyier Parks was one of the first names we knew that took a visit to Kentucky, which happened all the way back in mid-April. The 6-foot-3, soon-to-be fifth-year senior forward averaged 8.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per outing on 57.5 percent shooting this past season, making her a hot commodity on the market once she entered the portal. Even though several weeks passed by without a decision, UK was still believed to be in the mix.

Until Thursday that is when Parks, who was born in Cleveland, OH, announced that she will transfer to Ohio State. Parks joins a growing list of transfer prospects that have visited Kentucky since April but elected to land elsewhere. Camille Hobby (Illinois) and Amaya Bonner (Florida State) are just two other examples of that.

The post Kentucky WBB offseason recruiting news and notes appeared first on On3.

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