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Darnellia Russell Returning to the U.S.

After announcing that she would play for Lakehead University back in July, Darnellia Russell has decided to return home to Seattle and not play basketball in Canada this season.

It will be interesting to see if she ends up finding somewhere else to play basketball and continue pursuing her WNBA dream.

Here's the full press release:

Sep. 9, 2008
Thunder Bay, Ont.

Russell Returns Home Due to Family Comittments

Lakehead Thunderwolves Women’s Basketball Head Coach Jon Kreiner regrets to announce that recruit Darnellia Russell has decided to return home to Seattle and not play for the Thunderwolves this season.

Kreiner said Russell wanted to return home as she found being separated from her two daughters was much more difficult than she had anticipated.

Russell said it was not an easy decision. "I am really sorry for letting everyone down. I knew it was going to be very difficult leaving my kids but this was way more difficult then I can put into words. I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to get me to Thunder Bay; the Lakehead University Athletics Department, coaching staff, players, friends in Seattle, my Seattle coach and all the media who have been so kind to me. This was a tremendous opportunity for me and my decision to leave had nothing to do with the coaching staff or players. I miss my kids and need to be with them."

Coach Kreiner said he was disappointed but was sympathetic to Russell’s choice. "Darnellia’s decision to go back home is an understandable one but also a disappointing one. I had hoped that she would take a little more time to give it more of a chance but we are very happy to have provided her the best opportunity and situation we could for her to achieve her degree while playing at Lakehead University. Darnellia has brought great international media attention to our program and I am honoured that she decided to play for us."

Lakehead Athletics Director Tom Warden said he understood Darnellia’s decision. "I understand about commitment to family and we’re very sorry it didn’t work out for her here at Lakehead. We wish her the best of luck in the future."

Transition Points:

Russell alluded to missing home only a few days before the announcement was made in an article in the Chronicle Journal.

How often do you think of them?
"All the time, 24/7," Russell says. "I want to go home to them but I know I‘ve got to do this for us: Me and my kids."
Russell‘s in Thunder Bay pursuing a dream. She‘s here to get a university degree so she can play professionally in the WNBA.

Relevant Links:

Russell on the rebound

Darnellia Russell & The WNBA Age Requirement: How costly is higher education?

E-Conversation with Lakehead University about Darnellia Russell