Alabama women’s guard to transfer to K-State

Head coach Jeff Mittie relays instructions to his team during the annual Sunflower Showdown on Jan. 20, 2016, inside Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas. The Wildcats have added Karyla Middlebrook, from the University of Alabama, to their roster. (File Photo by Parker Robb | The Collegian)

The K-State women’s basketball program has added a new name to its roster for the 2016-17 season.

On Monday afternoon, K-State head coach Jeff Mittie announced the addition of graduate transfer Karyla Middlebrook from the University of Alabama.

“We are excited to add Karyla to our 2016 recruiting class,” Mittie said to K-State Sports. “She is a terrific student-athlete that possesses the skills, experience and leadership qualities that we were looking for. This 2016 recruiting class has been recognized nationally, and it gets even stronger with the addition of an outstanding player like Karyla.”

Middlebrook, a native of Blue Springs, Missouri, comes to Manhattan after spending three seasons with the Crimson Tide. During her time in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Middlebrook played in 72 games with 70 starts.

In those 72 games, she averaged 7.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 steals. The 5-foot-7-inch guard is coming off a season in which she averaged 8.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and a team-high 2.7 assists. She ranked ninth in the SEC in free-throw percentage at 75 percent and eleventh in steals with 1.7 per game.

Middlebrook will join a K-State squad that is fresh off of an appearance in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012. The Wildcats were 19-13 overall and 8-10 in conference play. The Wildcats also lost three guards this season due to graduation. Middlebrook will likely be in the mix for playing time come next season.

Rumors about Middlebrook transferring back to the midwest began after Alabama head coach Kristy Curry announced on March 28 that Middlebrook would be leaving the Crimson Tide.

Curry released statements about the departure in Terrin Waack’s article for the Tuscaloosa News, “Sophomore Karyla Middlebrook to transfer, Tide signs new recruit,”

“Due to circumstances requiring Karyla to be closer to home, she and her family have requested, and been given, a release for her to transfer,” Curry said.

Curry also said the decision to leave the program was nothing negative about her time at Alabama.

“Karyla expressed to me that her experience at the University of Alabama has been nothing but positive, both academically and athletically, and we wish her the best,” Curry said.

The Crimson Tide lose Middlebrook fresh off a season that ended in the first round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament. Alabama was 15-16 overall and 4-12 in the SEC.

Although she has spent three years at Alabama, Middlebrook comes to K-State with two years of eligibility left, and she will not have to sit out the usually required season of ineligibility that comes with most transfers.

Middlebrook joins the 2016 recruiting class for the Wildcats along with fall signees: guard Mercedes Brooks of Wichita Falls, Texas; center Peyton Williams of Topeka; and forward Eternati Willock of Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, the No. 6 international prospect in 2015 by Prospects Nation. This recruiting class was ranked No. 30 by Prospects Nation prior to the addition of Middlebrook.