June 20, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Head coach Matthew Mitchell is pleased to announce the addition of 6-foot-2 power forward Jelleah (Ja-LAY-uh) Sidney to the University of Kentucky women's basketball team.
"I am beyond excited to welcome Jelleah Sidney to our UK Hoops family," Mitchell said. "She is a player I wanted to coach the very first time I ever saw her play. Her unique set of skills, which include many intangibles we look for, will add immediate value to our program. The Big Blue Nation will love watching her play for the Wildcats."
Sidney, a native of Queens Village, N.Y., played one season at Chipola College in Marianna, Fla., before transferring to UK. She led the Lady Indians in scoring during her rookie season with 11.8 points per game and was the team's second-leading rebounder with 8.3 rebounds per game. She also grabbed 46 steals, ranking second on the team in steals per game with 2.0.
Sidney spent her prep career at now defunct St. Michael Academy in New York City, N.Y., where she was teammates with current Wildcats Jennifer O'Neill (Bronx, N.Y.) and Bra'Shey Ali (Plainfield, N.J). Sidney led St. Michael Academy to a Class AA state championship title and a 24-3 overall record in her junior season. In the spring of 2009, she competed with her club team, Exodus, in Russia, where the team played a pair of matches against the U-17 Russian national team. Sidney was rated as one of the nation's top 100 high school players by Blue Star Basketball, All-Star Girls Report and Collegiate Girl's Basketball Report.
Sidney chose UK over Syracuse and will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.
Kentucky, the 2012 SEC regular season champions, returns eight of nine starters from last season's Elite Eight squad, and will also welcome back O'Neill, who sat out the 2011-12 season due to injury, and welcome in All-Pac-10 selection DeNesha Stallworth (Richmond, Calif.), who sat out the 2011-12 season due to transfer regulations. Also joining Sidney on the team next season will be freshman McDonald's All-American Janee Thompson (Chicago, Ill.).