LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky women's basketball team has added a couple of SEC standouts to its roster.
Robyn Benton, who was an All-Southeastern Conference Freshman Team performer at Auburn before averaging double-digit points per game as a sophomore, has elected to transfer and signed with the Kentucky women’s basketball program. Benton will have to sit out the 2020-21 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Jazmine Massengill, who was a star guard for two years at Tennessee playing in 53 career games while she was second on the team in assists last season with 128 dimes, is transferring to UK and will sit out the 2020-21 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
"Robyn is a fantastic player that really is going to fit in perfectly here at Kentucky,” UK head coach Matthew Mitchell said. "When you look at her production the last two seasons, she has shown an ability to score at a high level and has some defensive intangibles that you cannot teach averaging nearly two steals per game. Most of all, she comes from a fantastic family and is a terrific person away from basketball and we are overjoyed to welcome her to Big Blue Nation.”
Benton will transfer to Kentucky after playing 52 career games at Auburn the last two seasons, earning All-SEC Freshman Team honors in 2018-19. As a rookie, she played in 32 games and averaged 5.8 points per game while going 35-of-94 from long range and 24-of-34 from the free-throw line with 34 steals. A key moment during her freshman season was making the game-winning shot and free throw with 8.6 seconds left vs. Vanderbilt, earning her SEC Freshman of the Week honors. In her collegiate debut, she scored 16 points and hit three 3s vs. Grambling State while she had 14 points and was 4-of-5 from 3 against Oklahoma and went a perfect 5-of-5 from long range against Elon.
Last season, Benton upped her numbers even though she missed the first nine games of the season due to injury. The guard played in 20 games with 14 starts averaging 10.1 points per game with 27 3-pointers, 56 steals and 28 assists. Her best game came vs. Missouri where she posted a career-high 23 points hitting three 3s with four steals and went a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line. Benton also scored 15 points at South Carolina, hitting two 3s with two steals, while she had 17 points against Ole Miss with three treys. In all, Benton scored 10 or more points in 11 games and hit at least one 3-pointer in 16 of her 20 games played.
Benton was a five-star recruiting and ranked as the No. 17 overall player nationally by ESPN.com entering college. The outlet also tabbed Benton the No. 6 guard in the class after an impressive high school career at Greater Atlanta Christian. The guard was the GHSA Class AAA Player of the Year and an Atlanta Journal-Constitution First-Team All-State performer as a junior averaging 17 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Benton also excelled in the club circuits helping her team to Nigh National Girls Championship in 2016 and Nike National Girls EYBL Platinum Championship in 2017. Robyn is the daughter of Mary and Robert Benton and has two siblings, Inky Johnson, who played college football at Tennessee and Myla Benton.
On Massengill, Mitchell said, "We spent a lot of time with Jazmine and her family during her initial recruiting process and are grateful they let us rekindle our relationship this time around and can now welcome her into Big Blue Nation. Jazmine is an electric guard that uses her size and strength to really make a difference on both ends of the court. Off the court, her personality can light up a room and I am so excited she is a Wildcat and brings that energy to our program.”
Massengill brings a wealth of Southeastern Conference experience to Lexington after spending the last two seasons at Tennessee, where she was a key reserve her freshman season and a starter her sophomore season. The 6-foot guard averaged 6.5 points per game, 4.7 rebounds per game and 4.1 assists per game last season, hitting 40 percent from the field and tripled her output from long range after hitting only a handful of 3s as a freshman. Massengill finished second on the team with 128 assists while adding 23 blocks and 27 steals. The guard can share the ball with the best in the nation, notching an assist in every game but one last season including four or more assists in 14 games. In fact, Massengill dished out 10 or more assists twice last season, including a career-best 12 against Missouri.
The guard’s all-around ability showed triple- or quadruple-double potential last season as she performed well against some of the best competition. Against UCONN, she earned 11 points and led the Lady Vols with five assists and three steals, while she had nine points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals against Texas A&M. Massengill recorded a career-high 13 rebounds against Notre Dame adding nine assists, five points and four blocks.
As a freshman, Massengill saw action in 32 games and averaged 3.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. The guard was huge off the bench as a rookie, leading all reserves with 42 assists while she tied for the fewest turnovers on the team with just 30. Her best game as a freshman was at LSU, scoring 12 points and going 6-of-6 from the free-throw line in the final two minutes of the game to seal the win. She also scored 10 points and earned eight assists against Murray State while she led the team in rebounding, blocks and steals at East Tennessee State.
Massengill entered college as the No. 11 overall player in the 2018 class according to Prospectsnation.com while she was the No. 25 overall player by ESPN.com. The 2018 McDonald’s All-American and Jordan Brand Classic participant also was tabbed NACA Sports First-Team All-America as a senior and was Naismith All-America Honorable Mention as a junior. The guard showed her ability to take over games in the prestigious Jordan Brand Classic scoring the last four points, including the game-winning put-back with less than a second remaining for the Away Team.
The guard was a star high school player at Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she played for Keisha Hunt, who is the mother of UK signee Treasure Hunt, who also played at Hamilton Heights. Massengill averaged 11.9 points, 6.7 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game as a senior while she earned 10 points, 7.1 assists, 6.1 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game as a junior. Both years, she helped HHCA to the NACA Division I Championship.
Massengill is the daughter of Charmaine Massengill and has a brother Corwin CJ Massengill Jr., who played basketball at Tennessee-Chattanooga. She also has a cousin, Mariah Massengill, who played basketball at EKU. Jazmine was the recipient of the Richard and Donna Fraser Winners’ Circle Scholarship and majors in communications.
Massengill is the second transfer into the Wildcat program this offseason, joining former Auburn guard Robyn Benton, who will also be entering her junior season.
The Wildcats will return a large portion of their production for 2020-21 even with the departure of five seniors. Kentucky will be led by three-time first-team All-America honoree Rhyne Howard, who finished second nationally in scoring last season with 23.4 points per game while she hit a school-record 84 3-pointers during the year. Also returning will be guard Chasity Patterson, who averaging 11.5 points in 19 games last season while guard Blair Green will also return after averaging 5.8 points per game. In the post, UK returns KeKe McKinney, who averaging 6.5 points and 4.7 rebounds, and Tatyana Wyatt, who averaged 5.5 points and 3.7 rebounds. Guard Emma King also returns after playing in 15 games last year.
Several players will return to the team but did not see time last year due to injury or NCAA transfer rules. Guard Kameron Roach headlines that list after she tore her Achilles at the end of her sophomore season and used last year to rehab and regain strength. Freshman post Deasia Merrill missed last season due to sustaining a season-ending knee injury and should provide UK depth in the post next year while 2019 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Dre’una Edwards figures to have a big season for the Wildcats in 2020-21 after missing last season due to NCAA transfer rules. Edwards transferred to UK last May after an impressive rookie campaign at Utah.
UK will also welcome three impressive freshman to campus in MaxPress Tennessee Player of the Year Treasure Hunt and all-state honorees Erin Toller and Niya Leveretter. Hunt, Tollery and Leveretter signed National Letters of Intent to play at Kentucky back in November and make up a top-20 recruiting class in the nation according to ESPN.com. Hunt was picked to play in the exclusive Jordan Brand Classic and McDonald’s All-American Game, while Leveretter and Toller were both honored as nominees for the McDonald's All-American Game.