KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Former North Carolina guard Diamond DeShields is transferring to Tennessee, joining the school where her mother starred in a different sport.
Tennessee announced Thursday that the 2013-14 Atlantic Coast Conference freshman of the year would be continuing her career with the Lady Vols. Under NCAA rules, DeShields must sit out a year before being eligible to play for the Lady Vols in the 2015-16 season, though she will begin attending classes at Tennessee next month. She will have three years of eligibility remaining.
"This is the place I've dreamt of since I was a little girl, just being here and playing here at Tennessee," DeShields said in a university release. "God sometimes has strange ways of working, and now I just feel like I am where I am supposed to be. I will give everything I have to make sure those dreams I had as a kid are fulfilled. This is not about me. It's about we. I'm here to help this program win games and win championships."
DeShields helped North Carolina go 27-10 and reach a regional final this past season. DeShields averaged 18 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game. She scored a total of 648 points, the most ever by an Atlantic Coast Conference freshman.
DeShields' mother, Tisha DeShields, was an All-America heptathlete for the Tennessee women's track team in 1991, when she was known as Tisha Milligan. DeShields' father is Delino DeShields, a former second baseman who played for five major league teams from 1990-2002.
The decision by DeShields comes as a late birthday present for Lady Vols coach Holly Warlick, who turned 56 years old on Wednesday.
"I didn't want to force my agenda on her (when she made her original college choice), and I knew that was her decision and one she would have to be happy with," Tisha DeShields said in a university release." As a parent, I needed to support her, even though I joked with her that I was going to buy her orange briefs to wear underneath her uniform. Now I just feel like she's in the right place."
Diamond DeShields tweeted out a link to an Instagram post late Thursday afternoon in which she thanked Tennessee fans "who have welcomed me into this family" and included a picture of herself in a Lady Vols uniform. DeShields said on her Instagram post that she knew her arrival at Tennessee had been a long time coming, but "I'm finally here."