Utah women’s basketball transfer Dre’Una Edwards will play for Kentucky

The Pac-12 Freshman of the Year will be eligible to play for the Wildcats in 2020-21.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Utes guard/forward Dre'Una Edwards (44) leans back as she shoots over UCLA Bruins forward Michaela Onyenwere (21) at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019.

Utah forward Dre'Una Edwards, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, has chosen Kentucky to continue her women's basketball career.

As reported in late March, Edwards entered the NCAA transfer portal, seeking a higher-level program with three years of eligibility remaining. Kentucky finished fourth in the Southeastern Conference and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament in March, when the Wildcats’ Rhyne Howard was named the SEC Freshman of the Year.

Utah was ranked ahead of Kentucky in the AP Top 25 in late January, before the Utes faded from their No. 14 position. Utah (20-10) finished the season with seven active players after Edwards sustained a season-ending injury in late February.

The 6-foot-2 Edwards will have to redshirt in 2019-20 before playing for the Wildcats, by NCAA rules. She averaged 11.6 points and 6.7 rebounds for the Utes in 26 games and was a six-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week.

“Her positive energy and unbridled enthusiasm are infectious and will impact our program immediately,” Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said in a news release. “Dre has a game that fits our system perfectly and her competitive spirit will help us win.”

Utah beat two SEC teams last November. Edwards posted 10 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Alabama and 12 points and eight rebounds in a defeat of Florida.

The departures of Edwards and seniors Erika Bean and Megan Huff (a third-round pick of the WNBA’s New York Liberty) leave Utah with two returning starters: guard Dru Gylten and forward Kiana Moore. The Utes also will have top reserves Andrea Torres and Niyah Becker, plus three players who redshirted due to injury or transfer rules. And coach Lynne Roberts expects big impact from 6-4 freshman Lola Pendande, whose admission was delayed. Pendande, who played high school basketball in Los Angeles, is on Utah’s 2019-20 roster after playing this past season in Spain.

In men’s basketball, Ute center Jayce Johnson remains in the transfer portal. Johnson reportedly has visited Nebraska and will visit Marquette. He will be eligible to play in 2019-20 as a graduate transfer.