Nazareth grad Bra’Shey Ali has enrolled at the University of Kentucky despite initially committing to West Virginia. Kentucky announced that Ali would be eligible to compete for the Wildcats this coming season on their website Friday.
Ali said she was more comfortable at Kentucky, where she’ll play alongside former St. Michael Academy teammate Jennifer O’Neill.
“Jenn motivates me on and off the court,” Ali said. “She’s a good person to be around. We work good together.”
The 6-foot Ali had perhaps the biggest basket of the entire season for Nazareth, catching a Darius Faulk pass in transition and making a layup to tie the CHSAA Class AA state semifinals game against St. Anthony’s (L.I.) in the closing seconds. Naz went on to win that contest and its first-ever New York State Federation Class AA championship. Ali was instrumental all season with her rebounding and tireless play.
“Bra’Shey is an explosive athlete who fits in well with our style of play,” Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell told ukathletics.com “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.”
Kentucky advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament this past season. O’Neill, a former McDonald’s All-American, scored 5.1 points in 12.4 minutes per game. She started three games for the Wildcats. Ali and O’Neill were teammates during St. Mike’s 2008-09 state Federation championship season, but Ali didn’t play due to a torn ACL.
Ali initially committed to West Virginia in February. She also was considering Rutgers and Louisville. In early July, Ali said, she decided the Mountaineers would not be the right fit. She will leave her Plainfield, N.J., home for Lexington, Ky., next week.
“At first I was scared to go that far from home, but now it’s OK to me,” Ali said. “Now I just want to win a national championship.”