Former University of Kentucky basketball standout Maci Morris says she has signed a professional contract to play in Italy.
Morris, talking with WYMT in Hazard while taking part in a basketball camp at Harlan County High School, said she is fulfilling a long-standing dream.
“I mean it’s been a dream of mine since I was little, and just to be able to go and experience the world using basketball, I mean I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Morris told WYMT. “That was the main goal -- to play professionally, get paid playing ball and just be able to have the experience going overseas.”
Morris said she would be playing for USE Scotti Empoli in Italy’s Serie-A1 League. The league’s schedule runs from October through March. Empoli finished went 4-16 and finished in ninth place in its 12-team division last season after going 26-2 and winning the Serie-A2 championship the previous year. The team was led in scoring last season by former Duke player Erin Mathias (16.3 points per game), who was the team’s first U.S.-born player.
Empoli, Italy, is located about 12 miles southwest of Florence.
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 of the WNBA in their preseason camp last month before settling on her deal in Italy.
“For me right now, they’ve told me the areas I need to improve in and I’m going to do that,” Morris said at the time during a “In the World of Female Sports” podcast published by Larissa Maloney. “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.
“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.
Morris also announced this week that before heading overseas she would be hosting a basketball camp July 11-12 at Middlesboro High School for kindergartners through eighth graders.