UK Women's Basketball

Kentucky women's basketball picks up McDonald's All-American transfer

Another former McDonald's All-American has decided to transfer to the University of Kentucky.

This time, it's DeNesha Stallworth, a 6-foot-3 sophomore forward, who played at the University of California the past two seasons.

The Golden Bears' leading scorer and rebounder last season said her visit to Lexington sealed her decision to sign with the Cats.

"I loved the coaching staff, my teammates, the supporting cast ... the fans seemed awesome," she said Wednesday. "The system, the style of play, I loved all of it."

After deciding to leave California, which she called "not the right fit for me," Stallworth was contacted by more than 50 schools and then narrowed her choices to UK, Louisiana State and Florida, she said.

After making other visits, Stallworth said, Kentucky felt the most comfortable.

"The way the coaches interacted with the team was great," she said. "Everyone was themselves. I felt like it was really real, and I felt like I really fit in there."

Kentucky officials said they could not comment on the transfer because they had not received paperwork.

Stallworth led the Bears in scoring (13.3 ppg), rebounding (6.4) and blocked shots (1.0). She hit 47.3 percent from the floor and was First Team All-Pacific 10 Conference last season.

As a freshman, she was second on the team in scoring (12.9 ppg) and rebounding (6.4 rpg) for California, which won the Women's National Invitation Tournament that season.

Sitting down with Coach Matthew Mitchell to look at game film and talk about her game was a part of her visit that really stood out. Stallworth said the way UK uses post players was a draw, as well.

"I'm an up-tempo type of player," she said. "I like to play in transition, and I also liked the fact that he doesn't just play his post players on the block."

Her father, Chris Stallworth, told the San Francisco Chronicle this week that his daughter was looking to play for a coach who would push her and for a school that had a higher basketball profile.

"Instead of playing in front of 1,000 people," he told the Chronicle, "she'll be playing in front of 6,000 fans, on a bad night."

Stallworth joins 2010 McDonald's All-American Samarie Walker on UK's team. Walker transferred to Kentucky from Connecticut and will sit out until early December next season.

Stallworth will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out next season per NCAA transfer rules.

Out of Pinole Valley (Calif.) High School in 2009, Stallworth was rated as high as the No. 12 player in the nation by BlueStar Basketball and No. 24 in the country and fourth overall at her position by ESPN's HoopGurlz.