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Exclusive: Why Diamond DeShields left Tennessee

Tennessee guard Diamond DeShields is forgoing her last year of eligibility to turn pro. Find out the reasons for her decision.

Diamond DeShields, Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Diamond DeShields is leaving Tennessee, which shocked all of women’s college basketball, especially in light of the fact that the former Lady Vol said this on her Instagram when she said she was returning to school on April 1:

“I will forgo the WNBA draft to finish my senior year here at UT. Developing my game further and playing for championship(s) are always part of the ideal plan, but giving these four young ladies an opportunity to be themselves, make mistakes and still have the love they need and deserve is my first priority.”

According to multiple Swish Appeal sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Diamond DeShields had been considering leaving for the last month, after returning home to Georgia following the spring semester and graduation.

The forced exit of her best friend, Te'a Cooper, sources say was also a factor in the decision of DeShields to forego a fifth year in college, and pursue professional basketball. Cooper's departure was officially announced May 16.