Jan. 24, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Former University of Connecticut forward Samarie Walker (pronounced suh-MAHR-ee) has transferred to play at Kentucky, Wildcats head coach Matthew Mitchell announced Monday.
Per NCAA transfer rules, the 6-foot-1 Walker will be permitted to practice but will not be able to participate in games or travel with the team. She will be eligible for games following the fall semester of the 2011-12 season.
“I am very happy that Samarie has joined the Kentucky program,” Mitchell said. “She is a fine young woman who I got to know well while recruiting her during her high school career. Samarie is a talented player who will have an excellent opportunity to make a significant impact at Kentucky on and off the basketball court.”
Walker, a native of West Carrollton, Ohio, played in 17 games for UConn this season, averaging 6.2 points and 5.8 rebounds in 18.8 minutes per game. She hit 58.7 (44-of-75) percent from the field and posted double digits in five games, including a career-high 15 pts vs. St. John’s. She grabbed double-figure rebounds twice, pulling down 11 vs. South Florida and a career-high 13 boards vs. Marquette.
Walker averaged 16 points, 10 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game as a senior at Chaminade-Julienne High School in Dayton, Ohio. She was ranked as the No. 10 overall prospect and No. 5 among forwards by ESPN Hoopgurlz and the eighth-best recruit nationally by Blue Star and No. 10 by the All-Star Girls Report. She was honored as a First-Team All-American by ESPN Rise while also earning a spot on the McDonald's All-America Team with UK freshman Jennifer O’Neill (Bronx, N.Y.). She also earned Parade Magazine Second-Team All-America honors, was voted onto the USA Today All-USA Third Team and was a Division II All-Ohio First-Team selection. She earned a spot on the Women's Basketball Coaches Association All-America Team and posted a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds in the WBCA All-America Game.
She will have three years of eligibility remaining, beginning at the conclusion of the fall semester in December 2011.
No. 17 Kentucky (15-4, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) plays again Thursday at Ole Miss. Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. EST and will be televised live on FSN and broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Radio Network with Neil Price.