Mitchell: Maci Morris a cool customer for Kentucky
On the day she was cut from a WNBA camp, former Kentucky basketball standout Maci Morris said she plans to continue to pursue her dreams of playing professionally, beginning overseas this fall.
Morris, a Bell County native who completed her senior season at UK as the women’s program’s most accurate three-point shooter, spent about two weeks as an undrafted free agent with the Washington Mystics in their preseason camp this month.
“They were very gracious to allow me to come on and sign a contract with them, so I’m very appreciative of them. Unfortunately, I got waived today, but I’m still very appreciative of the opportunity and how much I’ve learned from the coaching staff and players there. It’s a great organization and I wish them the best,” Morris said in a “In the World of Female Sports” podcast published May 16 by Larissa Maloney a former beach volleyball player who has founded BlueCrushVB.com, a volleyball and team-building firm.
Maloney’s podcasts focus on helping young women in sports overcome obstacles. Her theme for the Morris conversation was “Using Rejection as Motivation.”
“For me right now, they’ve told me the areas I need to improve in and I’m going to do that. I’m going to go to work and do that. I’m going to go overseas and play and then you know by next year, I could get picked up or get a training camp invite again by them or another team could pick me up,” Morris said. “You’ve always just got to stay positive, I think, and never get too down, because that’s when you quit working. When you’re not confident in yourself that shows in the way you play. It’s about staying confident and knowing if you put the work in, it’s going to show.”
Morris averaged 15.1 points per game and led UK with 75 three-pointers her senior year to finish sixth on Kentucky’s all-time scoring list with 1,692 points.
She described her time at UK as filled with ups and downs, marked most dramatically by the exodus of transfers her sophomore year.
“The next year was a little bit rough and rocky, but I think we overcame that really well and ended up having a great senior year,” she said.
Now, the focus is on becoming a better player and proving to the WNBA the same thing she had to do for critics after she signed with UK.
“I grew up in a real small town in Kentucky and a lot of people don’t get the opportunity to play at a Division I school from where I’m from. A lot of people really doubted me when I was getting recruited, and when I signed with UK a lot of people didn’t think I was going to make it,” she said. They didn’t think I was going to be able to play at all. I just used that as motivation. I worked my butt off and ended up starting my freshman year and started all four years.”
Morris plans to work out in Lexington this summer and have her agent pursue pro opportunities overseas this fall.
“I think when you get rejected it’s just an opportunity to get better, improve and see what you need to work on to be the best you can be,” Morris said of being cut by the Mystics. “It’s disappointing, but at the same time it’s like an opportunity to grow.”