Kentucky will be starting its women's basketball season without two of its freshman signees, including a player ranked among the nation's top 50 by one recruiting service.
The two signees, Jeniece Johnson and Bernisha Pinkett, teammates from Woodson High School outside of Washington, D.C., have deferred their enrollment until the spring of 2010, said a UK athletics spokeswoman.
Johnson, a 6-foot-6 center ranked No. 46 by Hoopgurlz.com, and teammate Pinkett, a 5-foot-7 combo guard, were not present for team picture day Tuesday at the Joe Craft Center.
Spokeswoman Susan Lax said that because of federal law, UK is not allowed to discuss why the players' enrollment was deferred, but she did say their national letters of intent are still binding.
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The duo originally had planned to go to North Carolina State but reopened their recruitment after the death of head coach Kay Yow.
Fellow freshman Porsha Postell also was not present for the annual team picture, which is used for the school's media guide.
Coach Matthew Mitchell said Postell is on campus and enrolled in classes, but she was too sick to be in the picture.
The trio help make up a recruiting class that was ranked No. 39 in the nation by the All-Star Girls Report recruiting service.
That same recruiting service had Johnson ranked No. 160 behind Kentucky Miss Basketball Adia Mathies (No. 72) and Brittany Henderson (No. 149).
Mathies and Henderson were both present and all smiles for the photo shoot, as was Anna Cole, a 6-foot-6 center, who was ranked No. 197 by the All-Star Girls Report.
Transfers Rebecca Gray of Scott County, who came from North Carolina, and Keyla Snowden of Lexington Catholic, who came from Akron, were at picture day and will be eligible to play at the start of the season.
Transfer Crystal Riley, a 5-foot-6 point guard from Louisiana State, will be eligible at the end of the upcoming semester, which ends on Dec. 18. The first game after that is against Louisville on Dec. 20.
Lydia Watkins, who missed the second portion of last season with an undisclosed personal issue, was also in the team photo.
Drive for 5K thrives
With three months to go before the start of the season and three more events, UK's Drive for 5K seems to be succeeding.
The drive, to break the season ticket sales record of 4,808, is about 1,000 tickets ahead of last season, with more than 1,200 tickets sold as of Tuesday, Lax said.
Most of the tickets already sold do not include last year's season ticket holders, who have until Sept. 10 to renew their tickets.
The next event in UK's Drive for 5K is the third annual "Day in the Park with Matthew Mitchell" presented by the Victory Club on Sunday at Veteran's Park.
The event is free and will feature food, inflatable games, music and a meet-and-greet with the Wildcats coaches and players.
It will take place at Shelter No. 4 from 3-5 p.m.
The final two events, which have not been announced yet, will be a fan day and a tailgating event.
Season tickets for UK's 17 home games this season are $45.
Tricia Matysak, the head trainer for the women's basketball program, has accepted a position at Arkansas and will be leaving at the end of the week.
Matysak, who has been at UK for five seasons, will become director of Olympic Sports for the Razorbacks.