Four UK Hoops Players Set to Graduate Sunday

May 6, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky women’s basketball seniors Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.), Carly Morrow (Lookout Mountain, Ga.) and Amber Smith (Winter Haven, Fla.) along with junior Keyla Snowden (Lexington, Ky.) of the Kentucky women’s basketball team are set to participate in commencement exercises Sunday in Rupp Arena.

Dunlap, a 6-foot-1 forward, will graduate with a bachelor of science degree in family studies with a minor in psychology. Drafted as the 11th pick in the first round by the Washington Mystics in the 2011 WNBA Draft, she will head to training camp in Washington, D.C. following graduation. On the hardwood, the two-time Southeastern Conference Player of the Year by The Associated Press ended her illustrious Wildcat career ranking in the top 10 on numerous career lists, including No. 1 in games played (133) and No. 2 in scoring (1,846), rebounding (1,099), blocks (178), steals (307), free throws made (445), free throws attempted (714) and double-doubles (31). She was the first player in school history to chart more than 100 assists, 100 blocks and 300 steals in her career and just the second player with more than 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career.

“I want to thank my coaches, our academic counselor Jon Ross and all the other staff in C.A.T.S (Center for Academic and Tutorial Services) for being there to make sure I stayed on track with my academics,” Dunlap said. “I’m able to graduate because they are hard working and passionate about their jobs. They make sure all the student-athletes at UK are successful. Playing at Kentucky was an unbelievable experience and I’ll be forever grateful.”

Morrow, a 5-11 guard, will earn a bachelor of science degree in economics. She has already accepted an intern position with Reformed University Ministry, a student ministry program at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. Morrow concluded her Wildcat career seeing action in 113 games with 59 starts while scoring 537 points and dishing out 88 assists. She ranks eighth on UK’s career lists in 3-point field goals made (108). She also excelled in the classroom as she was named to the District 4 Capital One Academic All-District Team by the College Sports Information Directors of America, was a three-time SEC Winter Academic Honor Roll member and was inducted into UK’s prestigious Frank G. Ham Society of Character in 2009-10.

“It’s an honor to graduate from Kentucky and to have spent four great years in Lexington,” Morrow said. “There are so many people who were patient with me and stood by me through some rough times. Without them I would not be able to graduate on Sunday. Thank you to the coaching staff and teammates past and present and to the amazing staff in C.A.T.S., my family and my friends. Your friendship and encouragement is an incredible blessing to my life.”

Smith, a 5-6 point guard, will earn a bachelor of arts degree in integrated strategic communications. After missing all of last season with an ACL tear in her left knee, Smith will return for her final season of eligibility in 2011-12. In three seasons as a Wildcat, Smith has played in 89 career games with 80 starting assignments, including 46 in a row. She has totaled 719 career points and ranks ninth on UK’s career list for assists with 333.

“I would like to thank everyone who helped me reach my goal of graduating from Kentucky,” Smith said. “Without the motivation from my family, coaching staff, teammates and C.A.T.S., graduating in four years would not have been possible. I’m excited about returning for next season.”

Smith plans to either work on a master’s degree or work towards a second bachelor’s degree with aspirations of becoming a collegiate basketball coach in the future.

Snowden, a 5-7 guard, will graduate with a bachelor of arts degree in communications with a minor in telecommunications. After sitting out the 2008-09 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Snowden will return for her final year of eligibility in 2011-12. On the court, she is one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in program history. After just three seasons she already ranks in the top 10 on UK’s career list for 3-point field goals made (fourth – 116), 3-point field goals attempted (ninth – 303) and 3-point percentage (second – 38.3). She needs only 32 points to reach 1,000 in her career.

“I’d like to thank everyone in my family, all my friends, coaches, teammates and staff in C.AT.S. for helping me achieve this goal,” Snowden said. “I’m really excited to graduate from UK and see what the next chapter of my life brings. I look forward to playing next season and working toward our goal of being national champions.”

The two-time SEC Winter Academic Honor Roll member plans to either work on a master’s degree or work towards a second bachelor’s degree. She aspires to be a television host following her basketball career.

In the last eight seasons, all 21 of the UK Hoops players completing their eligibility also left with their degree.

“I am extremely proud of our graduates,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “All four young women have worked hard to earn their degrees. I want to thank them for their effort and hard work. I also want to thank the many people that supported these women in their pursuit of a college degree. Their parents, assistant coaches and everyone in C.A.T.S. played a vital role of support during their college career.  Congratulations to Amber, Carly, Keyla and Victoria for graduating from Kentucky. They have made all of us in the UK Hoops program very proud.”