Jen Smith on Basketball

Another player, assistant coach decide to leave UK women’s program

Kentucky forward Batouly Camara (1) grabbed a defensive rebound in front of Washington forward/center Katie Collier (13) during the first half during the NCAA Tournament in Rupp Arena on March 25, 2016, in Lexington.
Kentucky forward Batouly Camara (1) grabbed a defensive rebound in front of Washington forward/center Katie Collier (13) during the first half during the NCAA Tournament in Rupp Arena on March 25, 2016, in Lexington.

The departures and defections continue to mount for Kentucky women’s basketball.

On Monday afternoon, UK confirmed that promising freshman forward Batouly Camara had been granted her unconditional release from the school.

Then a few hours later, a spokesman also confirmed that assistant coach Tamika Williams-Jeter had resigned her position on Matthew Mitchell’s staff. Her position has been posted on the school’s jobs board.

Williams-Jeter’s departure came less than two weeks after the school announced that it was not renewing the contract of assistant coach Adeniyi Amadou.

UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart was not made available for comment, nor was Mitchell, but both said through spokesmen that they would be available later in the week.

Camara, a 6-foot-2 freshman from New York City, averaged 5.1 points and 4.3 rebounds last season, playing in all 33 games, including 14 starts.

The forward is now the sixth player to part ways with UK this season, including four others who asked for transfers and a fifth, Chrishae Rowe, who was kicked off the team before the start of the season.

Several times during the season, Mitchell was complimentary of Camara and her willingness to grow and develop as a player.

“There is no one who has gotten harder times from the coach this year than Batouly,” he said of Camara after she had 14 points and nine rebounds against South Carolina this season. “And she just shows up the next day with a smile on her face and tries to get better.”

Mitchell also had been high on his assistant coaching staff this season after a few years of turnover and turbulence.

Williams-Jeter, a former Connecticut standout, joined Mitchell’s staff in 2014. Her contract was set to run through June 30. She helped coach the team’s guards. The deadline to apply for her job is next Monday.

There has been considerable turnover under Mitchell in recent years, including the dismissals of Jeff House and Shalon Pillow, as well as Amadou.

Another assistant, Danielle Santos, resigned to coach at Florida State.

UK also severed ties with Christian Stefanopoulos, whom Mitchell said resigned because she was battling an undisclosed illness. The former Cats video coordinator is currently on the staff at Seton Hall.

The loss of Camara means UK again will be shorthanded next season. The Cats return just six players from this season’s team and add Cincinnati transfer Makenzie Cann.

Barring any late signees or junior college players joining the team, UK has signed just two players in 6-foot guard Lindsey Corsaro and 6-foot swing player Chanin Scott.

Kentucky’s season, which ended in an NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen loss to Washington in Rupp Arena, started with the departure of junior standout Linnae Harper, who will play next season at Ohio State.

Two other players, transfer Chrishae Rowe and true freshman Morgan Rich, never played for Kentucky when they parted ways. Rowe was dismissed for her “failure to uphold standards of the program.” Rich, who was never cleared to practice, opted to transfer.

Rowe landed at Mississippi and Rich transferred to Oklahoma.

In previous interviews, Mitchell said the three players who left before the start of the season were “three separate issues that all sort of came to a head at different times.”

Less than a month into the season, junior forward Kyvin Goodin-Rogers also opted to leave UK and transfer to Western Kentucky.

After the season, little-used junior college transfer Ivana Jakubcova also opted to leave, and then came Camara’s exit.

In Mitchell’s eight seasons prior to this one, Kentucky had nine transfers out of the program: Brittany Edelen, Catina Bett, Jackie Sanders, Rebecca Gray, Anna Cole, Maegan Conwright, Bra’Shey Ali, Sarah Beth Barnette and Jaycee Coe.

Jennifer Smith: 859-231-3241, @jenheraldleader

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