UK Hoops Signs Sixth Straight Top 20 Recruiting Class
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Four of the nation’s top-rated recruits in Batouly Camara, Maci Morris, Taylor Murray and Morgan Rich have inked National Letters of Intent to play for the Kentucky women’s basketball program and head coach Matthew Mitchell. The class is ranked seventh nationally by Blue Star Basketball and 13th by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and espnW HoopGurlz, giving UK its sixth straight recruiting class ranked in the top 20.
“What we try to do in recruiting is identify players who are very high-character and who want to come to Kentucky and really develop as players but also develop as people and I’m really happy with the four players that are joining us,” UK Hoops head coach Matthew Mitchell said. “They are a really high-character group, hard workers, very talented. All can really come in and contribute to our program.”
Batouly (pronounced Ba-TWO-lee ca-MAR-a), a 6-foot-2 post from New York City is rated the No. 2 power forward by All-Star Girls Report and the ninth-best post player in the country by ESPN.com. Last season, she averaged 12.5 points and 12.0 rebounds per game in helping lead Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J., to a 19-3 finish. Batouly was named 2014 All-Mid-Atlantic Prep League First Team and was a second-team NJ Prep A All-State selection. She also earned a spot on the 2014 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team Trails roster. In her three-year prep career, she has helped lead the Buccaneers to three Mid Atlantic Prep League Championships and a combined 62-8 record. She excels off the court as well as she was elected vice chair of Blair Academy’s student government council as a junior and was a representative on the student council as a sophomore. Also during her sophomore season, she was named runner-up for the annual Blair Academy Public Speaking Contest. She currently serves as a head tour guide for the Blair Academy admissions office.
“Batouly Camara is a really highly rated post player and I would characterize her as a power post player, very good athlete, can really move, can run and great explosive jumping ability, but real tough, really well put together,” Mitchell said. “She is very, very strong and is very energetic on the court. She talks a lot, which is helpful on defense. When you can get your post players talking a lot, it really helps you. And so she is a low-post player with some power, can get out on the perimeter and really drive the basketball. She also has good ball-handling skills for a post player. I think she can really develop into a great one here at Kentucky, so we’re excited about her.”
Batouly chose the Wildcats over Connecticut, Louisville, Michigan, Virginia, Oklahoma, Princeton and Northwestern.
Morris, a 6-0 shooting guard from Pineville, Ky., has played varsity basketball at Bell County High School since the seventh grade and has been a starter since the eighth grade. She is ranked as the 10th-best shooting guard and a top 50 prospect nationally by espnW. As a junior last season, she averaged a team-high 22.0 points, 9.5 rebounds per game and shot 55.4 percent from the field in helping the Lady Cats win the 52nd District championship and advance to the 13th Region title game with a 25-5 overall record.
Morris averaged 21 points and 8.5 rebounds as a sophomore, again leading Bell County to the 13th Region title game where she had 27 points and 13 rebounds in a 63-60 loss to Corbin. She was voted by the coaches to the Lexington Herald-Leader's All-State second team.
“Maci Morris is a very, very high-level shooting guard and has a great feel for the game,” Mitchell said. “When you watch her play, you can just see her basketball IQ’s very high and she just makes what I call winning plays. She just can get the ball in the basket and is not afraid to take the big shot and actually wants the ball in critical moments. So I love that about her. She is from a great, great family and they’re Wildcat fans and so it’ll be great having Maci here.”
Morris chose UK over Louisville, Marquette and Dayton.
Murray, a 5-6 point guard from Odenton, Md., is rated as the No. 18 point guard by espnW and the No. 15 overall player by MaxPreps. She is a four-year starter at Annapolis Area Christian where she averaged a team-high 25.5 points, 9.6 rebounds, 9.3 steals and 3.1 assists last season as a junior. She was named to the Baltimore Sun All-Metro First Team after being a second-team selection as a sophomore and was also a two-time Capital Gazette Communications All-County First Team and two-time Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland (IAAM) All-B Conference (2012 and 2013). As a sophomore in 2012-13, she started in all 21 games, averaging 20.9 points, 11 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 8.4 steals per game along with tallying nine triple doubles.
In the summer of 2013, Murray was named to the USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team where she helped the USA to a 5-0 record, a gold medal and a berth into the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship.
“Taylor Murray is a Kentucky point guard,” Mitchell said. “She wants to play defense first. She will get her nose up on the ball. She reminds me of those early really good teams when we had when Amber Smith who would really get up on the ball and harass the ball handler and start our defense. She is that kind of player. She is very fast, very explosive end to end with the basketball, does not turn the ball over. That’s another thing that I love about her. She just makes the simple plays. She’s not the kind of point guard that’s trying to make real flashy plays and drives you crazy as a coach. She really, really plays with a high level of intelligence and values the basketball and so that’s terrific for us. I just think she is, as all four of these players (are), really, really high character people. Taylor’s a really high-character young woman and I can say that for all of them. So we’re excited about our recruiting class and looking forward to it.”
Murray chose Kentucky over Penn State and West Virginia.
Rich, a 6-0 left-handed guard from Scottsville, Ky., averaged 20.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.5 steals and 2.2 blocks last season before tearing her right anterior cruciate ligament on Feb. 7. She is ranked the No. 30 guard in the 2015 class by espnW and the No. 83rd overall player by All-Star Girls Report.
Prior to her injury, Rich broke the Allen County-Scottsville career scoring record with 1,754 points and set the school’s single-game scoring record with 45 points. She earned 15th District All-Season Most Valuable Player, 4th Region Coaches Association Player of the Year and 4th Region Athletic Directors Association Girls Basketball Player of the Year. She also was a second-team all-state selection despite missing the remainder of her junior season. As a sophomore, she broke the school record for most points in a single season with 672 and was all-state honorable mention.
“Morgan Rich is a very explosive athlete,” Mitchell said. “I think she is going to be able to come in and play our up-tempo style and help us defensively and offensively. Her game, she can score – and Maci can too – in all three ways. She can shoot the 3. She’s got a good mid-range game. She can get to the bucket. She’s a very explosive athlete and I’m really excited about her future here too. So two great players from Kentucky that we’re very happy to have join our family.”
Rich chose Kentucky over Alabama, Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Western Kentucky.