Makayla Epps finds her way back to the court

Makayla Epps born in Lebanon, Kentucky and mostly known early on as the daughter of former University of Kentucky player Anthony Epps who was a member of the 1995-1996 National Championship team. Epps quickly made her own mark on the basketball world. Epps was listed as the 10th-best guard and 32nd best player in the nation, according to ESPN.com in 2013 … Was also names Kentucky Miss Basketball, Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year, WBCA All-American Honorable Mention, AP Girls’ Player of the Year, three-time All-State honoree who compiled over 3,300 points in her prep basketball career, led the top-ranked Lady Knights to a perfect 39-0 record in 2013 and Marion County’s first state tournament title in eight appearances. Averaged a team-high 23.0 points, 5.5 assists, 4.3 steals and 5.5 rebounds per game as a senior and oh yeah she chose Kentucky over Louisville.

In her freshman year at Kentucky she played in 34 of UK’s 35 games as a true freshman, while making one start. Averaged 4.6 points and 1.4 rebounds per game. Finished with five games in double-figure scoring and had 46 assists with just 21 turnovers. She was also named to the SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll. As a sophomore Epps was Named First-Team All-SEC by league coaches and The Associated Press, SEC All-Tournament Team member after averaging a team-high 16.3 ppg in three games. Named to the SEC Winter Sports Academic Honor Roll, played in all 34 games with 22 straight starting assignments and led the team and fifth in the SEC in scoring with 14.9 ppg. As a junior she became the 31st player in program history to reach 1,000 points and was the third-fastest player under Matthew Mitchell to reach the 1,000 point club and ended the season with 1,207 career points to rank 19th all-time on UK’s career points scored list. As a senior she had an All-America season for the Wildcats, leading Kentucky with 17.7 points per game. Finished tied for first with 118 assists, tied for third on the team with 4.5 rebounds per game, third on the squad with 34 steals, second in three-point field goal percentage at .355 and third in overall field-goal percentage at .459. Ended her college career with 1,790 career points, which ranks fifth most in program history.

In 2017 Epps was drafted with the 33rd overall pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft to the Chicago Sky. During her first season she didn’t see a lot of time on the court so she took a break to finish her degree and graduate from Kentucky. After completing her degree she was headed overseas for a short career before heading back to the US. This past season basketball looked different as she was named assistant coach to former Kentucky player Erik Daniel at Woodford County High School.

I got to ask Makayla some questions about life, basketball and what’s next (you’ll wanna know about this)…

Me: Who was your favorite basketball player growing up? 

Makayla: I had a couple, of course I idolized my dad. But others like: Candace Parker, Allen Iverson, and Diana Taurasi.

Me: Who has been the most inspirational person in your life and why?

Makayla: My Mom. The majority of my life my mom has raised all 3 of her kids under the same household. We didn’t have much growing up, but my mom has always made a way for us with anything.

Me: What is it like to have two Wildcats come out  of your household? 

Makayla: Man unreal. Lol. Really, who would’ve thought growing up that me & pops would both be a dynamic point guard tandem from the same household. Father & Daughter. That’s crazy & unheard of . 

Me: What was your most memorable moment as a Wildcat?

Makayla: Sheeeeesh , That’s A TOUGH One . 

Got A Couple : 

  • 4 OT Win Fresh Yr vs Baylor 
  • Triple Double vs Morehead St. Sophomore Year
  • Game Winning Putback Over Mississippi St At Home On Senior Night

Me: What have you been doing during the COVID-19 break?

Makayla: Investing in myself and taking time to become a better “Me” per say both mentally & internally. Sleeping. Lots of sleeping. Lol

Me: What message would you have for your 20 year old self?

Makayla: Well I was 20 almost 5yrs ago. So, I would tell my 20 yr old self not to be such a knuckle-head. Take 110% full advantage of every opportunity you’re ever blessed with.

Me: How was your first year coaching, good and bad?

Makayla: Good – Finished the season 15-3. Kids bought into my coaching system and I built a great rapport with my players . Bad – That the season was over SO quickly & that the Lexington area schools don’t do JV District Tourneys . 

Me: What do you miss most about hoopin’?

Makayla: The competitiveness of the game and getting out there & competing against the best every night . 

Me: What do you want your legacy to be?

Makayla: I just want kids from Kentucky to know that you CAN do WHATEVER you set your mind too & don’t let NOBODY tell you otherwise. Kentucky takes a lot of stuff for being “country”, “uneducated”, “rednecks”, “KFC” & whatever else the other states call us but we CAN hoop just as good as the kid from New York, or Cali or wherever else. Be PROUD to be from Kentucky . 

Me: How did you being selected to the WPBA (Women’s Professional Basketball Association) TN Conductors happen? 

Makayla: Maci Morris shot me a text and it was like clockwork after that. I took the text & the attached name & contact info., reached out to Coach Gaffney & told him I was READY & been waiting on my next opportunity & would love to play for him if he’d have me.

Me: What are you most looking forward to playing in WPBA? 

Makayla: What I’m looking most forward to is the competition. I’m interested to see what all other hoopers have assembled on the other teams & just ready to be able to COMPETE again.

Me: Where do you see this league headed as far as interest or popularity? 

Makayla: Glad to be apart of the trail run & first season of The WPBA next Summer 21’, but I definitely seeing it as something that could blow and gain more exposure for women’s basketball.

Me: Anything else you want share or highlight? 

Makayla: Lukas is special to me & if y’all could, tap in, & subscribe to what he’s got going on. Little bro is going to blow up one day & you heard it here first. Oh Yeah … & BBN > All Y’all.


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