Maci Morris: Home for a Day

Published 12:54 pm Thursday, February 14, 2019

Kentucky Wildcat standout and Bell County native Maci Morris returned home on Wednesday for a special “Meet Your Wildcat” event, where she met with fans at the Bell Theatre in Pineville.

In her senior year with the Wildcats, Morris has been nominated for a multitude of awards, including the Ann Meyers Drysdale award, given to the top shooting guard in women’s basketball, and the 2019 Citizen Naismith Trophy given to the best overall player in the country.

Morris’ former coach David Teague knew Morris would be a special player from the beginning.

Email newsletter signup

“She always worked so hard, and did things the right way. She was always helping other players when they were having any sort of issues with their game. She was an extremely competitive player,” said Teague. “It didn’t matter if we were up 50 or down 50, she gave 110 percent effort the entire time. I think that shows with what she’s been able to do at Kentucky. She’s been nominated for all kinds of awards, (and) she’s UK’s all-time leader in three-point field-goal percentage. She’s just doing a great job and we couldn’t be more proud of her.”

Teague believes Morris’ return is good for all the players in Bell County.

“It’s wonderful that she was able to come back to where she was from and interact with the people of the community,” he said. “She’s someone that every athlete around can look up to. She was always a great influence on the team. She comes from a great family and does things the right way.

“She’s an inspiration to every player around. It goes to show what hard work and dedication will do. You can go from playing here in Bell County, to playing for a team like Kentucky, and be one of the best players in the entire country. We are very thankful that she represents Bell County and where she is from so well.”

Teague believes that Morris’ abilities transcend basketball.

“The best part about Maci is that she is an even better person than an athlete,” he said. “She’s always been the type to help anyone with anything and make everyone around her better, no matter what they were doing. Again, I just can’t stress enough how proud we are of her.”

Morris’ father and Middlesboro head coach Lewis Morris was pleased with the turnout and interest in Morris’ return.

“There were a ton of people there to see Maci,” he said. “It was very nice of the University of Kentucky to allow her to come down and meet with the people of the community. Everyone was very happy to see her, and we loved it. She had a great time interacting with all of the people that came out to see her. It means a lot to us for people to be so interested in our daughter.”

As a coach himself, Morris dissects his daughter’s game from a coaching standpoint.

“She works very hard,” he said. “She’s been playing against top-level competition her whole life. Playing AAU as well as high school basketball, she has played against some of the best competition in the entire country from a very young age. She does things the right way. She’s always getting extra work in and always trying to improve her game, and it’s paying off. She has been recognized for her ability and for how hard she works. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”

Morris is proud of the way his daughter represents the area.

“Her work ethic and the way she carries herself is something that every athlete around can look up to,” he said. “She’s someone that every player in the area can look to and say ‘if I work hard and do things the right way, maybe I could end up somewhere like UK too.’ It means a lot to our family that she is so highly revered, and we believe it’s because of the kind of person she is. She’s always helping others and working her tail off. Those are good morals to have no matter what you do. We really can’t stress enough how proud we are of Maci.”

The event was sponsored by Middlesboro ARH and UK Healthcare.