High school coaches, principals and athletic directors can nominate deserving students online at http://www.mrandmisskybasketball.com for the Donna Murphy Award and “Wah Wah” Jones Award starting January 11th. The deadline for nominations to be submitted is 11:59 pm on January 29th. These awards will be presented  during the 2016 Mr. and Miss Kentucky Basketball Awards Ceremony on March 15th in the Bluegrass Ballroom of the Lexington Center in Lexington, KY starting at 6 PM.

The Donna Murphy Award winner will be selected by Donna Murphy based on the nomination form and student essay and will be presented to a senior female basketball player who exemplifies the meaning of being a great student athlete. In 2015 the award went to Morgan Rich, a senior at Allen County Scottsville High School, who played varsity basketball for six years and now plays for the University of Kentucky.  Rich was nominated as a McDonald’s All-American and for the Gatorade Player of the Year.  She started her senior season as Allen County Scottsville’s all-time leading female scorer.  Morgan was active in many school clubs including Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Beta Club, Future Business Leaders of America and Pep Club. On top of these activities Morgan maintained a 3.8 GPA.

Donna L.J. Murphy played basketball at Newport High School from 1972-76 and went on to become an All-American.  During her senior year she was named Kentucky’s first Miss Basketball in 1976, averaging 35 points and 20 rebounds.  She was awarded the Ted Sanford Award for being named the MVP of the 1975 Kentucky state tournament after she scored 67 points and grabbed 50 rebounds in two games.  More than a great high school basketball player, Murphy was also the State AA high jump champion in 1974 and named All-region in volleyball before graduating fifth in her class. As a highly recruited student-athlete, she chose to attend Morehead State University and graduated magna cum laude twice, with a BA in Communications/ Journalism with Teacher Certification, and a MHE in Counseling.

Murphy remains a highly decorated high school and college student-athlete and a member of eleven Hall of Fames, including the Kentucky Basketball Hall of Fame. Murphy was also the first female student-athlete to have her jersey retired at Morehead State University and Newport High School. She was the first forward drafted in the Women’s Professional Basketball League in 1980 and went on to play for the St. Louis Streak.  After her playing career she transitioned to coaching. She has held coaching positions at the collegiate level and also coached Pro-Am, high school, middle school, AAU and Exposure basketball. Murphy is currently a Professor at Bluegrass Community and Technical College and oversees the Diversity Outreach Services and Intramural Sports. In her free time she is a basketball skills trainer.

The “Wah Wah” Jones winner will be selected by the family of Mr. Jones based on the nomination form and will be given to a male senior multi-sport athletes who excels equally in their classroom and community.   In 2015 the award went to Justin Graham, a senior at Rowan County High School, who played football during his freshman and sophomore years, played soccer and ran track his junior and senior years and played basketball and baseball all four years of high school while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.   Justin was also named 2015 Mr. Rowan County by the school’s faculty and administration due to his academic achievements and commitment to his community through extra-curricular and co-curricular activities.

Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones, Sr. was a two-sport All-American at the University of Kentucky, playing for legendary coaches Adolph Rupp and Bear Bryant, winning two national championships and an NIT.  Jones is the only player at the University of Kentucky to have his jerseys retired in both sports.  In addition to basketball and football, Jones was a pitcher with the Wildcats and a member of the UK track and field team.  He won a gold medal in the 1948 Summer Olympics with Rupp’s “Fabulous Five” and the Phillip 66ers.  After college Jones went on to play in the National Basketball Association with the Indianapolis Olympians. During his tremendous athletic career Jones was the image of sportsmanship and is respected throughout the world.

All sports fans are welcome to attend. Tickets are on sale and you can click here to buy them today.  VIP tickets which include dinner are $50.  For questions or to purchase a table (seats 10) call KLEF directly at 502-583-0564 or 800-232-5308.

The 5th annual Mr. and Miss Kentucky Basketball Award Ceremony serves as a fundraiser for the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation, who has announced Mr. Kentucky Basketball since 1954 and Miss Kentucky Basketball since 1976.  KLEF’s mission is to prevent and cure blindness.  For more information contact KLEF at 502-583-0564 or go to http://www.kylionseye.org.

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