Girls Basketball: Young’s Linnae Harper commits to Kentucky

Story Image Whitney Young's Linnae Harper (15) dribbles past Edwardsville's Emmonnie Henderson (32) in the IHSA Class 4A Championship game on Saturday, March 3, 2012 in Normal. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media

Young guard Linnae Harper, rated the No. 5 senior in the country by ESPN, has decided to continue her basketball career at Kentucky.

“Kentucky had what I wanted and what I needed,” said Harper, who averaged 19 points per game in helping the Dolphins go 34-0 and win the Class 4A state title last season. “I wanted to go somewhere where I could have a good relationship with the coaches. Coach [Matthew] Mitchell is a phenomenal coach, and the girls are really nice.

“Their practices are really intense. They play very similar to how we play at Young, so it won’t be too difficult to make the transition to college ball.”

Harper, who had 14 points and 14 rebounds in Young’s 63-51 victory over Edwardsville in last year’s title game, is expected to lead Young’s bid to repeat as state champions.

“I learned a lot from our seniors last year,” Harper said. “We have a really young team, but we have a lot of talent and a lot of depth. I’m really excited to get started.”

Harper, who said she may major in psychology, will join former teammate Janee Thompson, a 2012 Wildcat recruit, in Lexington in the fall of 2013. This year, Kentucky is ranked sixth in the preseason by The Associated Press.

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