Kentucky women’s basketball loses another senior to the transfer portal

One of Kentucky’s strongest bench players won’t be returning.

Senior guard Eniya Russell confirmed with a goodbye post via Instagram on Sunday that she would not be suiting up for Kentucky women’s basketball next season.

Russell recorded the best statistical season of her career during the 2023-24 campaign, making two starts in 32 games played and averaging 10.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.6 blocks per game. She was a key figure throughout the Wildcats’ turbulent 2023-24 season, often praised for being a “spark off the bench.” The Baltimore native transferred to UK after two seasons with South Carolina, where she won a 2021 SEC Tournament title, a 2022 SEC regular season title and the 2022 NCAA national championship. She was the No. 43 overall recruit in the class of 2020, and was named a McDonald’s All-American alongside future teammate Maddie Scherr.

Russell is the fifth active Wildcat to publicly confirm her exit from the program since UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart announced former head coach Kyra Elzy was relieved of her duties on the morning of March 11. Leading scorer — and Russell’s childhood friend and teammate — Ajae Petty and freshman forward Janaé Walker both announced their intention to transfer prior to the portal’s official opening on March 18. Junior point guard Brooklynn Miles and freshman forward Jordy Griggs each announced their entry to the transfer portal in the first week of April. A player’s entry to the portal does not automatically mean they won’t return, and not every player opts to issue a public statement regarding their future plans.

Russell will have one season of eligibility remaining, as granted by the NCAA following the COVID-19 pandemic. Russell participated in UK’s Senior Day festivities during the regular season alongside graduate guard Emma King, who exhausted her fifth and final season of eligibility this year, and senior forward Nyah Leveretter, who did not play this season due to recovering from an ACL tear. Leveretter, second-leading scorer Scherr and sophomore guard Amiya Jenkins, are not currently listed on the Wildcats’ online roster for the 2024-25 season, but have not made any announcement regarding their decisions. Only sophomore guards Cassidy Rowe and Saniah Tyler remain on the online roster from last year’s campaign.

Since his hiring on March 26, head coach Kenny Brooks has also signed two former Virginia Tech players via the transfer portal in All-America point guard and graduate transfer Georgia Amoore and 6-foot-5 freshman center Clara Strack. Three Virginia Tech signees have also since flipped their commitment from the Hokies to the Wildcats — 6-foot-2 guard Lexi Blue, the No. 40 overall recruit in the class of 2024, 6-foot-6 center Clara Silva, a respected international prospect, and Eastern Florida State College sophomore Amelia Hassett, a 6-foot-3 forward.

Former UK signee Ramiya White out of Butler Traditional (Louisville) announced via social media on April 5 that she would be reopening her recruitment.

Imari Berry, a former Clemson signee and the No. 16 overall recruit in the class of 2024 out of Clarksville, Tenn., is also considering the Wildcats in a final three that also contains Louisville and North Carolina.

Eniya Russell transferred to Kentucky from South Carolina and now could be on the move again.
Eniya Russell transferred to Kentucky from South Carolina and now could be on the move again.