Samarie Walker transfers to Kentucky

STORRS, Conn. -- Former Connecticut freshman Samarie Walker has transferred to Kentucky, the school announced Monday.

The 6-foot-1 forward left the No. 2-ranked UConn women's team Thursday after playing in 17 games, averaging more than six points and almost six rebounds.

NCAA rules dictate that Walker is allowed to practice with the Wildcats, but cannot participate in games or travel with the team until becoming eligible following the fall semester of the 2011-12 season.

"I am very happy that Samarie has joined the Kentucky program," Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell said in a release. "She is a fine young woman who I got to know well while recruiting her during her high school career. Samarie is a talented player who will have an excellent opportunity to make a significant impact at Kentucky on and off the basketball court."

In a statement released by Connecticut on Thursday, Walker stated that she couldn't give the team the "energy and commitment that it needs to be successful." She said remaining at UConn would not be fair to her teammates or coaches.

Coach Geno Auriemma said he has known for some time that Walker was struggling with her commitment to basketball, and he wished her well.