UK Hoops Lands Top-10 2013 Class

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Solid Blue Splash

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Three of the nation’s top recruits in Makayla Epps, Kyvin Goodin-Rogers and Linnae (la-NAY) Harper have signed national letters of intent to play for the Kentucky women’s basketball team and head coach Matthew Mitchell. The early signing period ends Nov. 21.

The class is ranked in the top 10 by all the major recruiting services, including No. 5 by the All-Star Girls Report, No. 8 by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and No. 10 by Blue Star Basketball. This marks Mitchell’s fourth consecutive recruiting class ranked in the top 15 and the highest since signing the No. 5 class in 2009.

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“The 2013 class is a great class for the UK Hoops program,” Mitchell said. “We signed three of the very best players in the country. These players are very talented and all three bring unique gifts to our program. We are beyond thrilled to have them join the UK Hoops family.”

Epps, a 5-foot-11 guard from Marion County High School in Lebanon, Ky., is rated as the 15th-best overall player by All-Star Girls Report and No. 21 by Blue Star Basketball. ESPN.com lists her as the 10th-best point guard and the 32nd-best senior in the country.

“I am thrilled that Makayla Epps is joining the UK Hoops family,” Mitchell said. “Makayla is one of the top guards in the country. She is a very versatile player and her court vision allows her to be a threat scoring or setting up a teammate for a basket. She is a tremendous athlete and possesses the strength and toughness we value in our guards. We are fortunate Makayla is a Wildcat.”

Epps, who averaged 17.3 points, 4.1 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game last season, chose Kentucky over Louisville.

Goodin-Rogers, also a native of Lebanon, Ky., is a 6-1 power forward and teammate of Epps at Marion County High School. She averaged 13.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 1.7 assists for the 5th Region champs as a junior.

Blue Star Basketball lists her as the nation’s 59th-best player, All-Star Girls Report has her at No. 67 and ESPN.com ranks her as the 19th-best forward and No. 72 prospect in the 2013 class.

“I was very happy the day Kyvin told us she was coming to Kentucky,” Mitchell said. “Kyvin is a very aggressive and hard-nosed post player. I love her toughness. Kyvin is extremely quick and has great timing which makes her a very good shot blocker. She possesses the speed and quickness that we value in our post players. Her ability to shoot the 3 allows her to effectively stretch the defense.  We are excited that Kyvin is a Wildcat.”

Goodin-Rogers chose Kentucky over Louisville.

Both Epps and Goodin-Rogers helped lead Marion County to a 34-5 overall record last season and an appearance in the Houchens Industries/KHSAA Girls’ State Basketball Tournament championship game. The Knights lost in the finals to top-ranked Manual, 58-54, paced by Epps who netted a team-high 23 points. She was named to the All-Tournament team, while Goodin-Rogers, who added nine points in the championship game, was chosen for the Leadership award.

Harper is a 5-8 guard from Chicago and a former teammate of current Wildcat Janee Thompson at Whitney Young High School. She is the nation’s No. 5 prospect and No. 2 guard according to ESPN.com. She is the highest-ranked recruit in UK Hoops history.

“Linnae is one of the premier players in the country,” Mitchell said. “She is a highly skilled offensive player and an explosive scorer. Her versatility allows her to impact the game in many ways. She is a high level rebounder at the guard position which we absolutely love. When a winning play needs to be made, Linnae will make it. We are thrilled Linnae chose Kentucky.”

Harper was named to the Tribune All-State first team last spring after averaging 18.7 points, 13.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals for Class 4A champion Young (34-0). She had 30 points and 20 rebounds in two state tournament games as a junior. Harper has represented USA Basketball the last two years, winning gold medals with the U-17 and U-16 teams. She was named to the all-tournament team this past year after averaging 7.9 points and 4.3 steals off the bench. She also was named to the Preseason American Family Insurance All-USA Girls Basketball team by USA Today Sports.

Harper chose Kentucky over Tennessee, Miami, Ohio State and UCLA.

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Alex Risen joined the ABC 36 News team in October of 2011 as ABC 36’s Weekend Sports Anchor/ Sports Reporter. Alex can also be seen Friday nights co-anchoring the Highschool Highlight Reel. Alex started out in the broadcast business while still in college at the University of Kentucky, heading up the school’s daily student news network as the Sports Director. He made his commercial televsion debut in May of 2011 while at WYMT in Hazard, Kentucky as co-host of a weekly, half-hour high school sports program previewing area schools’ games on Friday nights and as a morning sports anchor. Alex has also spent time as an intern at ESPN in the Statistics and Analysis department, as a production assistant for NBC Sports horse racing and Sunday Night Football productions, and as an intern for WLKY in his hometown of Louisville, KY. Alex graduated from Saint Xavier High School in 2007 and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Kentucky in 2010 where he graduated magna cum laude from the Honors Program. He’s excited to be covering his passion in his home state and make Central Kentucky his home for years to come. Alex can be reached at ARisen@wtvq.com