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  • Anthony Epps on his daughter, Makayla Epps

    By: LARRY VAUGHT



    He knows his daughter, Marion County standout Makayla Epps, is not looking for individual accolades, but Anthony Epps also knows being picked to play in the prestigious McDonald’s All-American Game April 3 at the United Center in Chicago is a huge honor for her.

    The game will feature the top 24 high school players from around will be see on ESPNU at 7 p.m. EST.

    “It was a very proud moment for me when she found out she would be playing in this game,” said Epps, a Marion assistant coach and starting point guard on Kentucky’s 1996 national championship team. “I know how hard she has worked and to see her rewarded like this for her work is just a blessing.”

    Epps had a storied playing career at Marion himself that included a state championship. But he was not a McDonald’s All-American.

    “She does have that on me now. But it makes me even prouder that she is becoming her own lady and person. She is somebody fans at the University of Kentucky are really going to enjoy watching,” Epps said.

    Epps and teammate Kyvin Goodin-Rogers both signed with UK in November after changing their minds about earlier verbal commitments they had made to Louisville.

    Epps, a 5-11 guard, will be joined in the McDonald’s All-American Game by Linnae Harper of Chicago, another UK signee. They will be two of seven McDonald’s All-Americans on the UK roster next season. Epps is ranked as a consensus top 25 players by recruiting services. She became only the 21st player in Kentucky ever to surpass 3,000 career points this year and her team is unbeaten going into Fifth Region play this week at Green County.

    “Coach (Matthew) Mitchell is doing a great job bring top talent to Kentucky,” Epps said. “It’s tremendous compared to what it was when I played there. I would put his recruiting right up there with coach Cal (John Calipari) now. It is making for two great programs.

    “My daughter keeps up the team and every time they play she is tweeting (on Twitter) and watching. She loves it. She is looking forward to going there and really trying to win a national championship, which is the right mindset for her to have.”

    Makayla Epps is averaging about 24 points, five steals, five assists and 4.5 rebounds per game.

    “She could average more points, but she is so unselfish and loves to pass,” her father said. “She is just a special player, and I am not saying that because she is my daughter. I watch a lot of basketball and think she is one of the special players ever to come out of this state.

    “She is having a better season than last year when she was coming off knee surgery and had picked up some weight and was not as explosive. Last summer she did a good job getting her body in shape and getting the knee healthy. This year she has been off the charts. I knew she would be good, but she has had a special year. She has done a lot of things against good teams that most players can’t do. It has been an honor for me to coach her the last two years and see her grow.”

    Epps said the McDonald’s Game officials had been in touch with the Marion staff about her status and they found out about three weeks before the official announcement was made that she was being invited to play in the game.

    “This doesn’t add any pressure at all for her. She is humble and has one goal — to win a state championship,” the Marion assistant coach said. “She has been close (to a state title) and feels like this is the year to get it. She is really focused on that.”

    Epps isn’t sure what impact this could have on the Miss Basketball voting, but says he would split his vote between his daughter and Owensboro Catholic standout Rebecca Greenwell, a Notre Dame signee, and would have no problems with co-winners like Indiana had in 1987 when teammates Jay Edwards and Lyndon Jones shared the honor.

    “Both are very worthy of the award. Kentucky could not go wrong either way,” Epps said. “That’s why I would be fine with co-Miss Basketballs.”

    Epps plans to make the trip to Chicago to watch his daughter compete with the nation’s best players.

    “This is a big honor not just for her, but for her family. I’m going. Her brother, grandparents are going. It’s a big deal for everybody,” the former UK point guard said. “We want to go and show our support for her. I think there will be quite a few others from the community come and show their support and let everybody know how proud they are of her. A small town like this does not have many opportunities to have a player be a McDonald’s All-American. Everybody is so proud of her.”

    He’s also looking to see five players — Andrew and Aaron Harrison, James Young, Marcus Lee and Dakari Johnson — that will be playing for Calipari play also in Chicago.

    “It will be a big thrill for me to see those guys before they ever get to Kentucky and put on that UK uniform and see what all the fuss is about with them,” Epps said. “I know they all have great talent, but sometimes great talent can struggle in college like UK has this year. I want to see what these new guys are going to be all about.”
    Comments 12 Comments
    1. jazyd's Avatar
      jazyd -
      17 years ago that NC team, hard to believe it has been that long.

      Congrats to his daughter, I am sure she got great coaching. Glad she is playing for MM, one more step toward getting that NC back in Memorial.
    1. akaukswoosh's Avatar
      akaukswoosh -
      17 years ago that NC team, hard to believe it has been that long.

      Seriously.
    1. IkeCat's Avatar
      IkeCat -
      With the he way that his communication skills give you the feel for his demeanor, it's easy to see why he and RP had some conflicts. RP should've have taken the time to learn from him.
    1. TRUCKERCATFAN's Avatar
      TRUCKERCATFAN -
      I was just a year out of high school. Damn that makes me feel old.

      I always felt that Pitino giving up on the Delk at PG experiment and making Epps the starting PG was the biggest key to that season. Epps was just a great floor general and leader.

      Quote Originally Posted by akaukswoosh View Post
      17 years ago that NC team, hard to believe it has been that long.

      Seriously.
    1. cattails's Avatar
      cattails -
      Skip we have become older than dirt.
    1. MickintheHam's Avatar
      MickintheHam -
      I loved AE, and I just know I'm going to love watching the next generation wear blue. It is tremendous that she is continuing the Epps tradition at UK.
    1. ShoesSwayedBlue's Avatar
      ShoesSwayedBlue -
      She is REALLY good. Has the ball on a string.
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Quote Originally Posted by MickintheHam View Post
      I loved AE, and I just know I'm going to love watching the next generation wear blue. It is tremendous that she is continuing the Epps tradition at UK.
      Having a legacy makes it very sweet. How sweet would it be if she joined Dad with UK national championship rings?

      Sent using Forum Runner. All typos excused.
    1. jazyd's Avatar
      jazyd -
      [Q
      I feel it every morning and then one of those dance team girls come in and ask forme to help them with an outfit to try out foe a college squad and the I feel............really old

      UOTE=cattails;58806]Skip we have become older than dirt. [/QUOTE]
    1. jazyd's Avatar
      jazyd -
      MM is recruiting a girl from miss that I was told today could be the type to give him that chance. 6'1" wing. Everyone is recruiting her but because MM, Cal,and Stoops have use of a jet whenever they need it they have an advantage over a lot of coach's. he has seen this girl 4 times in the last 3 weeks and is coming back next week if she makes State Tourney. I told MM's HS coach I would like to meet him next week if possible.

      Quote Originally Posted by Darrell KSR View Post
      Having a legacy makes it very sweet. How sweet would it be if she joined Dad with UK national championship rings?

      Sent using Forum Runner. All typos excused.
    1. cattails's Avatar
      cattails -
      Quote Originally Posted by jazyd View Post
      [Q
      I feel it every morning and then one of those dance team girls come in and ask forme to help them with an outfit to try out foe a college squad and the I feel............really old

      UOTE=cattails;58806]Skip we have become older than dirt.
      [/QUOTE]


      Skip, played cards tonight and stopped for something to eat (fast food) on the drive back home, there were about 4 or 5 teenage very nice looking girls in front of me about 11:30, I thought to myself I could be their grand-father, getting old sucks.
    1. jazyd's Avatar
      jazyd -
      That's the difference in Owensboror and Miss, you won't see any good looking teen girls in a fast food place at 11:30pm



      Skip, played cards tonight and stopped for something to eat (fast food) on the drive back home, there were about 4 or 5 teenage very nice looking girls in front of me about 11:30, I thought to myself I could be their grand-father, getting old sucks.[/QUOTE]