Former Wayne County standout Jessica Hardin once accidentally “nudged” Bell County star Maci Morris in a high school. Now they are UK teammates.
By: Larry Vaught
Wayne County’s Jessica Hardin made her Kentucky debut last week four years after her high school career ended. She spent one year at Bellarmine before transferring to Kentucky to just be a regular student. Her basketball was limited to sorority intramural games.
But Hardin, a former 12th Region Player of the Year that I got to see a lot in high school, answered the call when coach Matthew Mitchell needed players this season.
She already knew one current player, Maci Morris of Bell County, because they competed against each other in high school.
“One game their point guard was doing a screen. I nudged her (Morris) a little bit and she ran into her other player and it kind of took her out and she went to the emergency room,” Hardin said.
“I promise it was just a nudge. We had some good battles. One season we played against each other like four times. I accidentally took her out but we are still friends and just kind of joke about it now,” Hardin said.
Morris certainly remembers those games against Wayne County and Hardin.
“She is very aggressive. She loves to attack the rim. She had a lot of energy in high school and it was a fight against her,” Morris said. “We went at it when we played each other. It was a friendly competition. We had an incident in a game one time and I ended up having to go to the hospital. It happens. It was not the first time, but it is funny she is on my team now. But it was more than a nudge.”
Nudge or not, it’s all good now with the two UK teammates.
“I always hoped I could play at UK and now that I am here, we are together and cool to have her as a teammate … and I probably won’t nudge her again,” Hardin said.