Marion County's Makayla Epps commits to play for UK women

broberts@herald-leader.comAugust 27, 2012 

Makayla Epps woke up Monday morning knowing she was going to be a Kentucky Wildcat.

The daughter of former UK point guard Anthony Epps committed to Louisville last year, but she backed off that decision a few weeks ago.

On Monday, Epps took her first tour of UK's campus and met with Coach Matthew Mitchell, who concluded the tour with a question.

"At the end of the visit," she said, "he just asked me if I needed more time or if my decision was already made."

Epps didn't need to think about it any longer. She committed on the spot.

Epps joins friend and Marion County teammate Kyvin Goodin-Rogers as UK's first two commitments from the class of 2013. Goodin-Rogers, who also recently decommitted from Louisville, made her commitment to the Cats last week.

"I'm really excited," Epps said. "That was what we wanted to do ever since the commitment at Louisville was play together."

Epps said she decommitted from Louisville after "some things that me and Coach (Jeff) Walz bumped heads on." She felt more of a connection with Mitchell.

"Him and the coaching staff make you feel right at home," she said. "They don't keep anything from you and they let you know everything straightforward."

David Tapley, who coaches Epps and Goodin-Rogers for the Kentucky Premier AAU team, said it was a bonus that Mitchell landed two highly regarded prospects who are also local products.

"Those kids are Kentucky kids, so I'm sure the name on the front of jersey is going to mean something," Tapley said. "Any time any school can get two top-100 kids, that's a great start to their class."

ESPN rates Epps as the 37th-best senior in the country. Goodin-Rogers is No. 72.

Epps is listed as a 5-foot-8 point guard, but Tapley says she's actually now measuring at 5-11. He also said she can play both guard positions and small forward.

All-Star Girls' Report recruiting analyst Bret McCormick said Epps, whose service rates her as the 15th best player in 2013, said she will be a big addition to Kentucky's roster.

"She's a warrior," he said. "She does everything for the team. She can play the one, the two or the three, but she's a great point guard because she's good at distributing the ball, getting her team in the offense. She can knock down threes. She can post people up."

Epps said Mitchell wasn't recruiting her at a certain position, and she doesn't have a preference where she'll play in college.

She does know one thing for certain. She'll be wearing No. 25 at UK, the same number her father wore as the starting point guard for the 1996 national championship team.

Anthony accompanied Makayla on her visit Monday, and she said her father's history with the school factored into her decision.

"It played a big role," she said. "He always said it was my decision, but he's proud."

Herald-Leader staff writer Jennifer Smith contributed to this report. Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216. Twitter: @NextCats. Blog:

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