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UK Hoops signee Harper named to Naismith watch list

LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky women’s basketball signee Linnae (pronounced La-NAY) Harper is one of six players named to the 2012-13 Naismith Girl’s High School Player of the Year Early Season Watch List, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Friday.

The list was compiled by basketball journalists from around the country, who form the Naismith Awards national voting academy. The selections were based on player performances last season and expectation for the 2012-13 campaign. The list features the top girls high school basketball players from around the nation expected to make a run for the Naismith Trophy in 2013. The winner will ultimately be recognized at the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Naismith Awards Banquet on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 in Atlanta, Ga.

Harper is a 5-foot-8 guard from Chicago and a former teammate of current Wildcat Janee Thompson at Whitney Young High School. She is the nation’s No. 5 prospect and No. 2 guard according to ESPN.com. She is the highest-ranked recruit in Kentucky women’s basketball history. Harper was named the Tribune All-State first team last spring after averaging 18.7 points, 13.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals for Class 4A champion Young (34-0).

The Naismith Award has become the most prestigious award in all of college basketball, recognizing the Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Player of the Year, Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Coach of the Year, as well as awards for outstanding achievement in high school basketball, officiating, and contribution to the game.

Harper leads a talented recruiting class for head coach Matthew Mitchell next season, which includes Makayla Epps (Lebanon, Ky./Marion County HS) and Kyvin Goodin-Rogers (Lebanon, Ky./Marion County HS). Kentucky’s recruiting class ranks in the top 10 by all the major recruiting services, including No. 5 by the All-Star Girls Report, No. 8 by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and No. 10 by Blue Star Basketball.

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