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2018 Donna L.J. Murphy Award Winner

The Fourth Annual Donna L.J. Murphy Award will be presented to Ciaja Harbison of Louisville Male High School during the 2018 Mr. and Miss Kentucky Basketball Awards Ceremony on March 13th in the Bluegrass Ballroom of the Lexington Center in Lexington, KY starting at 6 PM.

Twenty-two nominations were submitted from across the state for this prestigious award which honors a standout female senior basketball player who exemplifies the meaning of being a great student athlete. “There were some outstanding nominees and this was not an easy decision,” said Donna Murphy.

Ciaja Harbison, a senior at Louisville Male High School has played varsity basketball for five years and has been a part of an amazing team that has won five consecutive District 26 Championships and made it to the KHSAA State Tournament Final Four in 2015. Last year in her junior season Harbison average 13.1 points per game, 4.8 assists per game, 2.8 steals per game and 3.5 rebounds per game. She entered her senior season with 1,090 points and has committed to play basketball at St. Louis University.

Harbison enjoys art, is a member of the Latin Club and volunteers and participates in several service projects, all while being on the honor roll at Louisville Male. “Preparation is important for future success; it’s the tool that helps an athlete stay focused on and off the court,” said Harbison. “I plan to pursue a career in Nuclear Science Technology, therefore it is imperative that I be prepared both mentally and physically for the medical field.”

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.

All sports fans are welcome to attend the 2018 Mr. and Miss Kentucky Basketball Awards Ceremony. Tickets are on sale now at http://www.mrandmisskybasketball.com or by calling 800-232-5308. General admission tickets are $15 and VIP tickets which include dinner are $65. For questions or to purchase a table (seats 10) call KLEF directly at 502-583-0564 or 800-232-5308.

The 7th 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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