LEXINGTON, Ky. – Bra’Shey Ali, a 6-foot forward from Plainfield, N.J., has signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at the University of Kentucky, UK Hoops head coach Matthew Mitchell announced Friday.
Ali, a versatile and athletic player who can play along the perimeter and inside the paint, will be attending classes next week and will be eligible to play during the 2011-12 season.
“I am happy to announce the addition of Bra’shey Ali to our UK Hoops family,” Mitchell said. “Bra’shey is an explosive athlete who fits in well with our style of play. I expect her to come to Kentucky and give us tremendous effort and energy. Our staff looks forward to working with her and helping her become an excellent student-athlete at the University of Kentucky.”
In her senior year, Ali helped lead Nazareth Regional High School to the CHSAA Class AA state championship and the New York State Federation Tournament of Champions title. Nazareth almost did not make it to the CHSAA Class AA championship game, though. Trailing with less than 10 seconds to play Ali hit a crucial game-tying layup against St. Anthony’s in the semifinals to help propel the Lady Kingsmen to the championship game. Nazareth finished the 2010-11 season with a 29-3 record.
Her first three seasons of high school were played at the now defunct St. Michael Academy in Manhattan, N.Y., where she was teammates with current UK point guard Jennifer O’Neill (Bronx, N.Y.). The duo helped lead St. Michael’s to a state championship title in 2008-09.
Ali is the No. 19 ranked forward by the Blue Star Basketball recruiting service and chose Kentucky over West Virginia, Louisville and Rutgers. Because of her length, Ali can block shots on the defensive end, but is also known for her ability to shoot the ball. She averaged 12.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game during her senior season.
Ali, who will wear No. 25 for the Wildcats this season, joins Azia Bishop (Toledo, Ohio) and Bria Goss (Indianapolis, Ind.) in the 2011 high school class ranked as the nation’s No. 10 recruiting class by ESPN HoopGurlz. The class is Mitchell’s second consecutive top-10 recruiting class.