UK Hoops Inks Drake in Late Signing Period

Nelson County Standout Added to Mitchell's Top-Five Recruiting Class

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky women's basketball team has signed Samantha Drake, a 6-foot-3 center from Nelson County High School in Bardstown, Ky., to a national letter-of-intent in the NCAA late signing period, head coach Matthew Mitchell announced Wednesday.

"We're excited about the addition of Samantha to our Kentucky family," Mitchell said. "She's an extremely talented player who will have the opportunity to impact our team in a positive way. Samantha rounds out a recruiting class that will be well suited for our style of play."

Drake is rated as the eighth-best post player and one of the top 50 players in the nation by two recruiting services. She set scoring records at Nelson County for boys or girls with 3,068 career points while pulling down 1,381 rebounds. Drake also owns Nelson County's school record for single-game scoring (44 points).

The four-time All-Region and District All-Tournament team selection averaged 22.9 points and 8.5 rebounds as senior for Coach Kelly Wood. Drake shot 61.0 percent from the floor, 72.0 percent from the charity stripe and was named to The Associated Press second team in helping lead the Cardinals to an 18-11 overall record this season.

As a junior, she averaged a double-double with a career-best 26.0 points and 11.0 rebounds per game en route to earning District Tournament Most Valuable Player and Fifth Region's Player of the Year. Additionally, she was twice named to The Courier-Journal's All-State first team and received many other accolades throughout her impressive prep career.

Drake chose Kentucky over Georgia and Michigan State.

With the addition of Drake, Kentucky's recruiting class moves up to No. 5 nationally according to BlueStar Basketball. It's the highest ranking in school history.

The class also includes McDonald's and WBCA/Nike All-American Jennifer O'Neill, a 5-6 guard from Saint Michael Academy and Bronx, N.Y., 2010 Kentucky Miss Basketball Sarah Beth Barnette, a 6-2 forward from Lexington Christian Academy in Lexington, Ky., the Star-Telegram's Super Teams Player of the Year Maegan Conwright, a 5-8 guard from Mansfield Timberview High School in Arlington, Texas, Connecticut High School Coaches Association Player of the Year Kastine Evans, a 5-8 guard from Salem, Conn., and LaQuinta Jefferson, a 6-0 guard from La Vergne High School in La Vergne, Tenn.