Ad Spot

Photo by Vicky Graff

Blair Green went up for a jumper during a game last season. The former Harlan County all-stater averaged 5.3 points, 2.0 rebounds and 17.6 minutes per game in the 33 games she played in as a UK freshman.

Green adjusting with Morris now playing in Italy

By Larry Vaught

Advocate-Messenger

Forgive Blair Green for not even trying to deny how much she’s going to miss having Maci Morris, her childhood friend, as a Kentucky teammate this year.

“Maci helped me so much. As soon as I got here she was showing me the ropes and giving me a heads up about school, my priorities, what I needed to do daily,” Green said. “If I had a down day she was there to pick me up and her past experiences really helped me.”

Now Morris, a former Bell County star, is in Italy starting her professional career while Green, a former Harlan County standout, is set for her sophomore year at Kentucky after averaging 5.3 points, 2.0 rebounds and 17.6 minutes per game in the 33 games she played in as a UK freshman.

Green still talks to Morris often and can tell she’s enjoying Italy.

“I definitely miss her so much, though. We were so close and did everything together,” Green said. “She is just FaceTime away, but I do miss going to her house and having her cook for me and all her cheesy jokes that she thought was funny. I miss Maci and know when we get older that we will be still close.”

Green doesn’t miss her so much, though, that she is now cooking for any freshmen teammates — or at least not yet until she gets her own apartment. She does say she is “close” with freshmen Emma King and Deasia Merrill.

“Just being able to hang out with them and showing them my experiences from my freshman year, the ups and downs, has helped them I hope,” Green said.

Morris was Kentucky’s second leading scorer at 15.4 points per game last year and top 3-point shooter with 75 makes and a 45.2 accuracy rate. Teammate Taylor Murray added 12.4 points per game last year and led UK in assists with 123 and steals with 103. Murray was also one of the SEC’s best defensive players.

With Morris and Murray gone, Green said UK will have a “different look” but should still be a “tough” team to beat.

“I think all the girls that had been here for four years have taught us and prepared us for this moment. They left a legacy behind that we have to follow and we are stepping up to the challenge,” Green said. “They have given us the confidence. It is our time to shine, and I think we are going to make them proud.”

Green thought she played well last season when the league coaches named her to the All-SEC freshman team.

“I played more forward and enjoyed that spot. In high school, I played guard and forward, so it wasn’t that different. I was just out on the wing kind of, but it was a lot of change coming in and playing with such great players and learning my role,” Green said.

“I am excited about what this year can bring for me having more confidence, getting stronger, going back to my original position on the wing. I think I will be able to be more versatile and bring more leadership to the team that we need with the players we lost from last year.”

Green certainly has leadership skills. She started a “Bears for Christmas” project when she was in high school to help provide Christmas gifts for children in need. The program was so popular that it has been continued even with Green at UK.

“They stayed with it and did it again (last year). I was so happy and hope it will stay a tradition. That is a big thing for me to keep that going,” Green said. “Just seeing those kids’ faces when they get those presents, just nothing better than that to enjoy.”

Green went on a service trip back to Harlan County with UK Athletics last summer and also did some volunteer work in eastern Kentucky with Morris. She says she would like to do more back home, but it is hard with the responsibilities she has at UK.