Matthew Mitchell on Rhyne Howard: ‘She has a whole lot of talent’
The University of Kentucky women’s basketball team bid farewell to one of its top recruits of the past few seasons on Tuesday when the Wildcats announced that Dorie Harrison has decided to transfer.
Harrison, a 6-foot-3 post player from Nashville, sat out all of last season for what UK called “personal health reasons.” Now she is moving on to Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Fla., where she has already signed.
“Dorie is an important member of our Kentucky family and we all fully support her and the steps she is taking,” Kentucky Coach Matthew Mitchell said in a news release.
Harrison, a top-100 recruit coming out of high school and a much-needed athletic presence in the post, played in 32 games in 2017-18 as a freshman with eight starts, averaging 6.7 points and 3.8 rebounds in 16.9 minutes per game. She was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week after collecting 15 points and five rebounds vs. Alabama and 16 points with four rebounds at Arkansas that season.
During her recruitment, Harrison chose UK over fellow finalists Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Mississippi, Syracuse and Virginia Tech. Harrison is the younger sister of former Volunteers star Isabelle Harrison, who plays for the Dallas Wings in the WNBA.
Shortly before the start of last season in October, Mitchell announced Harrison would miss some time. He set no timetable for her return but held out hope that was possible.
“We will give her the time she needs to get healthy and she has our full support,” the UK coach said at the time. “We look forward to her return to the court. We ask everyone to respect her privacy during this time.”
At Gulf Coast State, Harrison will join a team that won the 2019 National Junior College Athletic Association championship. The Commodores have won six national titles overall, including three in the past four years.
In addition to Harrison, Kentucky said farewell this spring to seniors Maci Morris, Taylor Murray, LaShae Halsel and Paige Poffenberger.
Here is how Kentucky’s roster for 2019-20 looks now:
Seniors: 6-1 forward Ogechi Anyagaligbo; 6-3 center Nae Nae Cole; 5-7 guard Amanda Paschal; 5-6 guard Jaida Roper.
Juniors: 5-10 guard Sabrina Haines; 6-1 forward Keke McKinney; 5-6 guard Kameron Roach; 6-2 forward Tatyana Wyatt.
Sophomores: 6-2 forward Dre’una Edwards-x; 6-0 guard Blair Green; 6-2 guard Rhyne Howard; 5-5 guard Chasity Patterson-y
Freshmen: 5-10 guard Emma King; 6-2 forward Deasia Merrill.
x-Edwards, the 2019 Pacific-12 Freshman of the Year last season at Utah, announced this month that she is transferring to UK. She will sit out the 2019-20 season under NCAA transfer rules, which will give her time to heal from an ACL tear suffered in February.
y-Patterson, a transfer from Texas, will be eligible to play in games after the fall semester ends in December.
Howard in World Cup
UK’s Rhyne Howard was named this week to the Team USA squad that will play in the FIBA U19 World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand, in July.
The 12-member team was selected by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee, chaired by George Washington University head coach Jennifer Rizzotti, after tryouts at Colorado Springs, Colo.
Howard will return to Colorado Springs to train July 5-10 before traveling to Tokyo, where the team will practice and scrimmage against the Japan U19 National Team July 13-15. Team USA has an additional three days of training and a pair of scrimmages in Bangkok against Argentina and Germany, July 17-19, before the World Cup tips off July 20.
Last summer, Howard earned tournament MVP honors in leading the USA U18 team to the 2018 FIBA Americas Championship gold medal in Mexico City.