Just a few years after nearly the entire team and staff departed Lexington, Matthew Mitchell is loading up on SEC talent and making the Wildcats a contender.
The Wildcats just added 2019 All-SEC performer Robyn Benton, who spent two years at Auburn, and star guard Jazmine Massengil who spent two years at Tennessee.
As of now, both Massengil and Benton will have to sit-out the 2020-21 season, because of NCAA transfer rules. However, if the immediate transfer rule goes through, both will be eligible for next season.
Massengill brings a wealth of Southeastern Conference experience to Lexington after spending the last two seasons at Tennessee, where she was a key reserve her freshman season and a starter her sophomore season. The 6-foot guard averaged 6.5 points per game, 4.7 rebounds per game and 4.1 assists per game last season, hitting 40 percent from the field and tripled her output from long range after hitting only a handful of 3s as a freshman. Massengill finished second on the team with 128 assists while adding 23 blocks and 27 steals. The guard can share the ball with the best in the nation, notching an assist in every game but one last season including four or more assists in 14 games. In fact, Massengill dished out 10 or more assists twice last season, including a career-best 12 against Missouri.
Benton will transfer to Kentucky after playing 52 career games at Auburn the last two seasons, earning All-SEC Freshman Team honors in 2018-19. As a rookie, she played in 32 games and averaged 5.8 points per game while going 35-of-94 from long range and 24-of-34 from the free-throw line with 34 steals. A key moment during her freshman season was making the game-winning shot and free throw with 8.6 seconds left vs. Vanderbilt, earning her SEC Freshman of the Week honors. In her collegiate debut, she scored 16 points and hit three 3s vs. Grambling State while she had 14 points and was 4-of-5 from 3 against Oklahoma and went a perfect 5-of-5 from long range against Elon.
Benton was a five-star recruiting and ranked as the No. 17 overall player nationally by ESPN.com entering college. The outlet also tabbed Benton the No. 6 guard in the class after an impressive high school career at Greater Atlanta Christian. The guard was the GHSA Class AAA Player of the Year and an Atlanta Journal-Constitution First-Team All-State performer as a junior averaging 17 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Benton also excelled in the club circuits helping her team to Nigh National Girls Championship in 2016 and Nike National Girls EYBL Platinum Championship in 2017. Robyn is the daughter of Mary and Robert Benton and has two siblings, Inky Johnson, who played college football at Tennessee and Myla Benton.
Massengill entered college as the No. 11 overall player in the 2018 class according to Prospectsnation.com while she was the No. 25 overall player by ESPN.com. The 2018 McDonald’s All-American and Jordan Brand Classic participant also was tabbed NACA Sports First-Team All-America as a senior and was Naismith All-America Honorable Mention as a junior. The guard showed her ability to take over games in the prestigious Jordan Brand Classic scoring the last four points, including the game-winning put-back with less than a second remaining for the Away Team.
The Wildcats will also welcome three impressive freshman to campus in MaxPress Tennessee Player of the Year Treasure Hunt and all-state honorees Erin Toller and Niya Leveretter. Hunt, Tollery and Leveretter signed National Letters of Intent to play at Kentucky back in November and make up a top-20 recruiting class in the nation according to ESPN.com. Hunt was picked to play in the exclusive Jordan Brand Classic and McDonald’s All-American Game, while Leveretter and Toller were both honored as nominees for the McDonald’s All-American Game.
After Kentucky’s season was ended early last year because of the Coronavirus, Mitchell and the Cats aren’t going away.