KNOXVILLE, TN — The mother of former North Carolina star Diamond DeShields says her daughter is transferring to Tennessee.
Tisha DeShields confirmed via text message Thursday that Diamond has committed to the Lady Vols. The news was reported earlier Thursday by the Knoxville News-Sentinel. Diamond shared the news on Instagram and Twitter Thursday evening.
WCHL reported in mid-April that sources close to DeShields said Tennessee was already a done deal.
DeShields, the2013-14 Atlantic Coast Conference freshman of the year, averaged 18 points per game this past season to help North Carolina go 27-10 and reach a regional final. Under NCAA rules, DeShields would have to sit out a year before being eligible to play for Tennessee.
North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell announced April 17 that the 6-foot-1 guard from Norcross, Georgia, planned to transfer.
DeShields’ mother was an All-America heptathlete for the Tennessee women’s track team in 1991 when she was known as Tisha Milligan.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/deshields-committs-lady-vols/
The positive news was released Monday afternoon by the UNC Athletic Department. Coach Hatchell is now back to full-time duty, embarking on a normal schedule filled with recruiting, speaking engagements and running the Tar Heel women’s basketball program.
Dr. Pete Voorhees, Coach Hatchell’s doctor at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, says she “remained courageous throughout the course of treatment”.
Coach Hatchell says “it’s been a tough last seven months”. But true to the resiliency she’s known for, the national championship-winning coach says her mental toughness has increased through her battle with the disease.
Coach Hatchell says she’s confident she will be back better than ever on the sidelines this fall for Carolina as her team, loaded with returning starters and incoming talent, will set its sights on another strong push for a national title.
“I’m looking forward to summer camps starting up soon in Carmichael Arena, continuing recruiting the top players in the country and starting back summer workouts with our players,” Coach Hatchell says.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/coach-sylvia-hatchell-wraps-chemo-treatments-resumes-busy-schedule/
Women’s Basketball’s National Freshman of the Year, Diamond DeShields says she hasn’t spoken to any schools about where she’ll play next year yet, and she says she’s committed to completing her courses at UNC.
DeShields announced last Thursday that she would no longer be playing for the Tar Heels. She sent out a statement on Twitter this Thursday explaining her decision for the first time.
A message from Me. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/5LbCvSGgKd
— Diamond DeShields (@DDeShields23) April 24, 2014
She said she had multiple conversations with Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell throughout the year. The last of those conversations, she said, were “detailed and emotional”, but she said they both decided to part on good terms and that she will continue to support Coach Hatchell in her fight against leukemia.
DeSheilds pointed out the fact that many have noticed, which is that she has been very quiet lately on social media. She said she’s taken that time to focus on her studies and complete the courses in which she’s currently enrolled. She said she will not speak to any schools about where she will enroll next year until after this school year has concluded.
UNC Athletics told WCHL this week that a number of schools have asked to speak with DeShields. The compliance office did not want to release the names of the schools to WCHL incase they are considered private student records. WCHL has filed a public records request with the University for those documents.
No one knows where Diamond DeShields will play next year, except maybe her, but many schools are vying to get her.
According to assistant director of athletic communications at UNC, Mark Kimmel, the UNC compliance office has received many requests to speak to the National Freshman of the Year. UNC athletics has not yet responded as to how many schools have asked to speak with DeShields.
This past weekend, a source close to WCHL said that she is headed to Tennessee next season. DeShields’ hometown friend from Georgia, Te’a Cooper decommitted from UNC at the start of this school year and is reportedly leaning towards signing there for the 2015-16 school year.
A compliance officer told WCHL in an email that any further communication about where DeShields will play in the future will have to come directly from her.
Kimmel forwarded information from the compliance office to WCHL explaining the transfer process.
In order for a school to contact a player of another university, that school must get written permission from the player’s athletic director or an athletics administrator designated by the athletics director. Kimmel says rarely do ADs get directly involved; rather the compliance officers take care of it.
Carolina has five people listed in its compliance office, in addition to one graduate assistant. Vince Ille was hired as the Senior Associate AD for Compliance in the summer of 2012 and heads up the department.
Wherever DeShields ends up, she will have to spend one year in residence there before she is eligible to compete. If she is academically eligible, she may receive athletics aid and participate in practices.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/deshields-market/
Sources close to WCHL confirm that Diamond DeShields is going to Tennessee.
Speculation has pointed to DeShields going with her friend from Georiga, Te’a Cooper, who is leaning toward being a Volunteer. Cooper decommitted from UNC at the start of this season.
DeShields has not said anything about her destination since UNC Athletics confirmed Thursday she was leaving. Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell said she did not know why she made this choice.
With the decision to leave UNC, DeShields has to sit out next season and will be eligible to play at the start of the 2015-16 season.
She led all Tar Heels in scoring and was named the National Freshman of the Year and the ACC’s Rookie of the Year. Carolina was knocked out of the NCAA tournament in the Elite Eight by Stanford.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tennessee-done-deal-deshields/
Story originally posted April 18, 2014, 10:19 a.m.
Nearly 24 hours after news broke that Diamond DeShields is leaving Carolina, only speculation of where can be drawn at this point.
The National Freshman of the Year has not yet spoken out about where she’s going to play next year. WCHL tried to reach DeShields again Friday, but her phone was turned off and her voicemail was full.
Her Twitter account, @DDeShields23 has not been a source or information yet as to where she’s headed.
Been praying a lot lately.
— Diamond DeShields (@DDeShields23) April 16, 2014
Someone with the Twitter handle @RolandMumford seemed to know something no one else has heard when he replied to that tweet with #rockytop.
— Roland Mumford (@RolandMumford) April 17, 2014
espnW reporter Mechelle Voepel wrote late Thursday that she wasn’t shocked when she heard about DeShields’ decision. She said she wouldn’t be surprised if the “perfect” team and situation DeShields thought Carolina was when she was on the outside looking in as a high schooler didn’t turn out to be exactly what she expected. In an interview with DeShields later in the season, DeShields told Voepel that it was very hard leaving Atlanta after the Georgia Tech game because it was so close to home.
With college kids, especially freshmen, you always have to keep homesickness in mind.
Other speculation lends to looking where other star athletes are going. DeShields came in with the “Gang of Four” as the group was deemed (DeShields, Allisha Gray, Stephanie Mavunga and Jessica Washington), and she certainly remained the top player of that group. However, her friend from Georgia, Te’a Cooper looks like she’s headed to Tennessee after decommitting to UNC. She said she had Carolina locked in since a visit her eighth-grade year, but before this season, she announced she opened her recruitment to all schools.
So me & diamond a package deal ??? .
— Te’a Cooper (@TeaCooper2) April 18, 2014
As of 3:30 p.m. Friday, that tweet was no longer on Cooper’s account.
DeShields transfer means she has to sit out one season. Cooper is a rising senior and both would hit the court for the first time in Tennessee Orange for the 2015-16 season if this is the chosen path.
DeShields’ has a connection to Tennessee as well. Her mother, Tisha, was an All-America runner for the Vols.
Another, albeit further far-fetched speculation, looks at this year’s espnW HoopGurls No. 1 prospect, A’ja Wilson. She announced Wednesday that she will play at South Carolina next year. The Columbia native said it was an easy decision to make, staying at home.
DeShields tweeted Wednesday that she, “Can’t wait to see where my dawg @_ajawilson22 decides to go to school. She’ll make ANY program more than happy! I’m tuned in.”http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/deshields-following-friend-tennessee/
The announcement was made at the Bridgestone Arena, prior to the Women’s Final Four. DeShields and the Tar Heels fell just short of a trip to Nashville, falling to Stanford in the Elite Eight.
DeShields led Carolina to a strong 27-10 record and averaged 18 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game, displaying her talents all season long as one of the best players across the nation. She has quickly established herself as a player who relishes the spotlight in the biggest of games.
DeShields set four ACC freshman single-season records this season: total points with 648, fields goals made with 248, and double-figure scoring games with 32.
Already named the top freshman nationally by ESPN and Full Court, DeShields is also the only freshman who appeared on the John R. Wooden Award Top-15 list in 2014.
Last week, the ACC Rookie of the Year was tabbed as an AP All-America Honorable Mention.
Watching DeShields and the rest of the young returning cast in Carolina uniform next season promises to be a special treat.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/carolinas-diamond-deshields-hauling-accolades/
***Listen to the story***
Things started well for UNC. Allisha Gray and the Tar Heels raced out to a 22-9 lead in the first half thanks to some hot perimeter shooting.
At the intermission, Carolina held a 36-30 advantage over Stanford. Gray totaled 15 points, making six of her eight attempts from the floor.
The second half wasn’t as favorable to the Tar Heels. The fouls started piling up and the shots stopped falling. And the Cardinal took full advantage by going on a 12-0 run and gaining their first lead since it was 2-0 in the first half at 43-42 with 15 minutes to play.
But credit the Tar Heels, wanting desperately to earn a Final Four reunion with Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell, for continuing to battle on, even reclaiming the lead at 63-62 with a clutch three-point make by freshman Jessica Washington with 3:50 remaining in the game.
Sloppy turnovers and missed opportunities characterized the waning minutes for the Tar Heels; however, as things started to unravel and Stanford pulled away, booking a Final Four meeting with undefeated Connecticut on Sunday.
Gray led the scoring charge for Carolina with 19 points while Stanford senior Chiney Ogwumike led her team with 20 points.
DeShields was visibly nowhere near 100 percent following a bevy of injuries. But the banged up Tar Heel fought admirably, finishing with 13 points despite her ailments putting a damper on her usual explosive skills.
There were no tears in the locker room for the Tar Heels. Optimism ran supreme, and for good reason. Carolina has no seniors. Everybody is returning for another run at a Final Four trip, and this time, they’ll have Coach Hatchell back at the helm.
Walter Storholt, of the Tar Heel Sports Network, sums up the bright future of the Tar Heels in fine fashion.
“The good news is that all these Tar Heels will be back. No seniors on the squad. It’s a freshman-led team. The juniors will be seniors next year. This team will have a lot to look forward to over the next couple of years. They proved that here in this tournament,” Storholt says.
The fourth-seeded North Carolina women’s basketball team, 27-9 on the season, will face a true road test Tuesday night at 9 p.m. when the Tar Heels take on the second-seeded and veteran-laden Stanford Cardinal, 32-3 on the year, for a spot in the Final Four.
***Listen to the story***
The Tar Heels feature a bevy of talented freshman that have been saying they don’t want to wait for their turn at NCAA Tournament glory.
Meanwhile, the Cardinal find themselves at the other end of the spectrum, veterans with loads of Final Four experience blanket Stanford’s lineup.
The leading freshman in the nation, Carolina’s Diamond DeShields, says the Tar Heels will have to contain Stanford’s star Chiney Ogwumike, a fifth-year senior, in order to harbor any chance of a victory.
“You’ve got pay attention to Chiney down low. I had the opportunity to play with her on the USA basketball team, so it will be nice to reunite on opposite teams. She’s the focal point on their offense and defense. We’re definitely going to figure some things out on how to get around her and how to find a weakness on their defense,” DeShields says.
DeShields goes into Tuesday’s game as a game-time decision following the knee and ankle injuries she sustained in the physical Sweet Sixteen contest with rival South Carolina. But if precedent is any indication, seeing the tough-minded competitor on the sidelines in the biggest game of the year would be a shocker – just take Sunday’s game as an indicator.
“Coach wanted to sit me for the half. I told him that I was ready to play. I didn’t want to have that burden on my shoulders of not having done everything that I could to contribute to the team win. I think that I didn’t hold the team back with my injury. I was still a contributor and was able to produce,” DeShields says.
DeShields acknowledges the rapid development and maturation of the Tar Heels throughout the season. She says she sees improvement in each and every round of postseason play.
“We’ve grown faster as time has gone on. At the beginning, it was a little bit slow. We were making typical freshman mistakes. At this point in the game, we’re growing every day. […] As we continue in this tournament, we are growing a lot faster, only because we have to,” DeShields says.
Associate Head Coach Andrew Calder points to a single moment when he believes his young crop really gained the needed belief they could compete at the highest level.
“When we went to Duke and won at Duke, and Diamond DeShields and Allisha Gray had tremendous games, I thought that was a big turning point for them to realize we can beat anybody. There are 8000 people at Duke,” Coach Calder says.
Freshman Stephanie Mavunga says although not present with the team in California, Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell’s encouragement from afar puts a smile on her face.
“Things like that make me smile and get me motivated. I know she’s going to be able to be at the Final Four game in Nashville if we are able to get there. God willing, we’ll get there. That keeps us going. Before we left, she kept saying, ‘Well, Nashville, there’s the Final Four. There’s an Elite Eight. Why not us? Why not Carolina?’ That always plays back in my head,” Mavunga says.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heels-bracing-track-meet-elite-eight-matchup/
The fourth-seeded North Carolina women’s basketball team turned back top-seeded South Carolina 65-58 and booked a spot in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament thanks to a strong defensive effort that earned Carolina its first win over a No. 1 seed since the 1994 title season.
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With the victory, the Tar Heels improved to 27-9 on the season while the Gamecocks dropped to 29-5 with the defeat.
UNC never trailed in the contest, seizing momentum early on and surviving a second-half surge from the Gamecocks, who went on a 10-2 run to start the closing 20 minutes of play.
Interestingly, South Carolina coach Dawn Staley chose to begin fouling UNC every time they touched the ball with over 1:30 still left on the clock. The plan backfired as Brittany Rountree knocked down clutch free throws to seal the victory.
South Carolina’s Alaina Coates took over the game in the second half with toughness inside. Coates finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds in the contest.
Carolina’s Diamond DeShields totaled 19 points to lead the Tar Heel scoring charge, but Stephanie Mavunga’s performance in the paint proved especially vital. Mavunga finished with 13 points.
In scary fashion, DeShields went down with an ankle injury early in the first half and was escorted to the locker room. But she only missed three minutes of action before returning to the court and playing on with her trademark grit and determination.
After the game, Rountree, a UNC junior, said all her experience aided in her calmness under pressure at the free throw line in the Sweet Sixteen affair.
In his postgame remarks, Associate Head Coach Andrew Calder thanked Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell and UNC women’s soccer coach Anson Dorrance for their influential words before the team departed for Stanford.
Next up for the Tar Heels is an Elite Eight showdown with the Stanford Cardinal, the No. 2 seeds in the region. The game will tip Tuesday night at 9 p.m. with a spot in the Final Four in Nashville on the line.