Azia Bishop issues statement after suspension

Senior forward Azia Bishop, who was suspended for what turned out to be her final game at Kentucky for a curfew violation, issued a statement through UK Athletics on Monday afternoon.

“I had an amazing four years at the University of Kentucky. My season did not end the way I wanted it to, as I was suspended for Sunday’s game due to a curfew violation. I had a lapse in focus and it’s a decision I will regret for the rest of my life. However, it’s a lesson learned, and I respect Coach Mitchell’s decision. This will only better me as a person in the future and shape me to become a woman of substance and who Coach Mitchell has taught me to be.

“I would like to thank the Big Blue Nation for all of their support and love that they have shown me over the last four years. I love everyone associated with the Big Blue Nation and the University of Kentucky, and I want to thank you all.”

Bishop was one of four seniors who went to Coach Matthew Mitchell after the Cats’ late-season three-game losing streak and asked him to hold the players to higher, stricter standards moving forward.

When asked about the suspension after the 99-94 loss to Dayton in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Mitchell said this:

“We would have lost a bunch in the future if I don’t uphold the standard,” he said.

After a really good practice with Bishop on Saturday, he said he was sad that he wouldn’t get to coach her for a week or two longer.

“I hate that that was the way her career ended,” he said. “I know she feels terrible about the situation. I feel terrible about the situation. But if you’re in my shoes, you must do the right thing or if you don’t have integrity, you don’t really have a program.”

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at jsmith3@herald-leader.com.
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