Franklin, Watkins Set to Graduate from UK

May 7, 2010

Lexington, KY – Seniors Amani Franklin (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and Lydia Watkins (Hopkinsville, Ky.) of the Kentucky women’s basketball team are set to participate in commencement exercises Saturday, May 8 in Rupp Arena.

Franklin, a 5-11 guard/forward, will graduate with a bachelor of science degree in agricultural economics and plans to pursue a career in basketball. On the hardwood, she concluded her Wildcat career charting 910 points, 549 rebounds and 58 blocks while playing in 127 games with 77 starting assignments. She ranks second on UK’s career list for free-throw shooting percentage, hitting 82.4 percent (192-of-233).

“I would like to thank everyone for supporting me, mostly my coaches, teammates, staff and fans,” Franklin said. “It’s really amazing how time goes by so fast. I can remember being in the gym as a freshman during workouts. It feels like it was yesterday. I’m excited for this weekend. I’m sure I’ll be a little nervous but I’m looking forward to it.”

Watkins, a 6-1 forward, will earn a bachelor of arts degree in sociology and plans to attend Eastern Kentucky University to pursue a master's degree in juvenile justice with hopes of being a probation officer. She concluded her Wildcat career seeing action in 102 games with five starts. She scored 481 points, including a career-high 208 during her senior season. She also grabbed 389 rebounds and 84 steals.

“I’m just so excited about this weekend,” Watkins said. “It’s definitely an honor to graduate from Kentucky. I tried on my cap and gown yesterday and I can’t believe how the time went by so fast. I want to thank all of my coaches, tutors, the fans and everyone who helped me get where I am today.”

In the last seven seasons, all 19 of the UK Hoops players completing their eligibility also left with their degree.

“I am extremely proud of Lydia and Amani,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “They have both overcome adversity during their time at Kentucky. Their ability to persevere and earn their degree is something I respect and admire.”