LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky women’s basketball head coach Matthew Mitchell has announced today (Friday, May 20) that Jaida Roper, a 5-foot-7 guard out of Houston High School in Memphis, Tenn., has joined the program and will be a true freshman on the 2016-17 roster.
“We are so excited for Jaida to become a Wildcat. She is a high-character person, an exciting basketball player and a very hard worker,” Mitchell said. “Jaida will be a great fit in our program and I look forward to helping her develop as a person, a student and a player.”
Roper had signed with Louisiana Tech earlier, but she was eventually released by the school due to Tyler Summitt's resignation as the head coach.
A four-star prospect according ProspectsNation.com, Roper earned high praise from the Web site for her performance in the 2015 EBA Super 64 Camp, listing her strengths as a slasher, distributor and coachable.
ProspectNation.com says, “Roper established herself as one of the camp’s top point guards … She is a high-energy playmaker who pushes the tempo in transition. She is effective at getting into the gaps in the defense to make good things happen. Unlike ball-dominant point guards, Roper is willing to find the open teammate even in a camp setting where chemistry has yet to develop. Most importantly, Roper is a student of the game and has put hours in the gym to sharpen her skills in recent years.”
ESPN.com grades Roper at 90 out of 100 and describes her as an “athletic lead-guard with a scorer’s mentality; manufactures, 1 on 1 creator; tough to contain in up-tempo game.”
Roper, who was selected to play in the Basketball Coach Association of Tennessee East-West All-Star game, shined in her team’s 15-AAA championship game this February, scoring 22 points to earn the tournament most valuable player award. Roper scored over 1,500 career points in high school, averaging 13.2 points per game, 5.2 assists per game, 4.1 rebounds per game and 2.8 steals per game her senior season. Her strong year this winter led her to The Commercial Appeal Best of Preps Class AAA honors for the fourth straight season.
Roper was a four-year letterwinner at Houston High School under head coach Chad Becker, helping the Mustangs to several championships. As a sophomore, Roper led the team to the Division I Class AAA State Tournament, where she posted a team-high nine points in the team’s loss to Blackman. Houston High finished with a 26-8 record that season with a district and regional championship, while Roper was named the district most valuable player and was one of 17 Class AAA players to be named to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association All-State Team.
As a junior, Roper averaged 17.8 points per game, 5.7 assists per game, 3.9 steals per game and 3.6 rebounds per game, shooting 40 percent from 3-point land. The speedy guard was named to the all-region tournament team her junior and sophomore seasons.
Roper is the daughter of John and Kina Roper and has one brother, John.