DeShields leaving UNC even a mystery to Hatchell

Cheryl Treworgy - TSN via

Cheryl Treworgy – TSN via

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – It wasn’t the type of basketball news that anyone in the Triangle expected to hear any time soon, and particularly coming from the women’s side of the game.

North Carolina Tar Heels freshman guard and National Freshman of the Year Diamond DeShields had reportedly left the women’s basketball team, and even head coach Sylvia Hatchell didn’t know why.

“I do not know or understand why Diamond DeShields has decided to leave the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,” Hatchell said in a written statement released by the team on Thursday.

“As most everyone knows, I was out and missed the entire season with leukemia. Thankfully, I¹m in complete remission and will be back 100% for next season. It breaks my heart that I will not have the opportunity to coach Diamond and help develop her on and off the court. I love her and wish her well.”

After leading the Tar Heels to an Elite 8 appearance and recently being selected the USBWA National Freshman of the Year, the news of DeShields’ departure is significant and has many wondering in the women’s collegiate basketball world what prompted the move.

The native of Norcross, Ga., played a key role in North Carolina posting a 27-10 record this past season as she averaged 18 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals per game.

DeShields set four Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) freshman single-season records in total points (648), fields goals made (248), field goals attempted (582) and double-figure scoring games (32).

Her play earned her numerous additional recognitions including EspnW and Full Court top freshman, AP All-America Honorable Mention, and ACC Rookie of the Year and First Team honors.

It is expected that DeShields will transfer, and according to UNC athletics communications, there were no related academic reasons for her leaving the team and the university.

No further reports or confirmations have been made as to where she will choose to attend school and play next.