The UK women’s basketball team will be without one of its most exciting newcomers for the entirerty of the upcoming season. Deasia Merrill has sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee, Coach Matthew Mitchell announced Wednesday. The knee injury is severe enough to require an entire season of rehabilitation before Merrill will be ready to rejoin the Wildcats on the basketball court.
“Deasia injured her knee on a very tough play in practice last week,” Coach Mitchell said in a statement released by UK. “She was playing very hard, preparing for a successful season. Unfortunately, the injury is season-ending, but Deasia has shown remarkable resilience since the injury.”
The 6-foot-2 forward enrolled at UK over the summer as a true freshman. She came to Kentucky as a consensus top-100 player in the country and one of the best high school players from the state of Georgia. Merrill was tabbed as a four-star recruit and the 66th best prospect in the nation by ESPN. The world wide leader also named Merrill the No. 8 forward in her class. She originally committed to Kentucky last September, picking the Cats over Duke, Pittsburgh, Miami (Florida), Ole Miss and Georgia Tech, among others.
During her senior year of high school, Merrill averaged 25.6 points, 15.4 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 5.2 steals and 4.2 blocks per game. Her physical play around the basket combined with her ability to score is already impressive; unfortunately, the Cats are going to have to look somewhere else for points this year, especially following Maci Morris’ and Taylor Murray’s graduations at the conclusion of last season.
“We are confident [Merrill] will learn many valuable and character-strengthening lessons during this part of her journey,” Mitchell’s statement continued. “Our medical team is fantastic, and her teammates and her coaches will support her fully on her road to recovery.”