Our co-editor, Rixon Lane, brought up an excellent point on Diamond DeShields last night in the wake of 2015 Powder Springs (Ga.) point guard Te’a Cooper’s verbal to Tennessee:
DeShields, the reigning national freshman of the year who is transferring from North Carolina and will decide “soon” between South Carolina, Georgia, Pittsburgh and Tennessee, has a strong friendship with Cooper, a top 15 player in the ESPN rankings. The thinking has been all along that Cooper’s choice would influence where DeShields would go.
And for now, that future destination for DeShields just might be Knoxville, where Cooper pledged last evening. Or, it could be Columbia, Athens, or staying in the ACC and choosing Pitt.
It’s not lost on women’s college hoops fans that DeShields and Cooper together would create a solid one-two punch in 2015-16 that could help the Lady Vols enhance their footing as a national superpower and a title contender (believe it or not, Tennessee’s last title was in 2008). Keep in mind that wherever DeShields goes, she’ll have to sit out a year due to NCAA regulations, which means she’s back in 2015–conveniently Cooper’s freshman year.
It’s also not lost on Gamecocks fans that a player of DeShields’ stature–17.7 ppg as a freshman–along with the pieces that are coming in (A’ja Wilson, Alaina Coates) and the potential of better pieces to come given Dawn Staley’s profile as the US under-18 team head coach and senior national team assistant could take an already-rising Carolina team to the next level. While the Lady Vols have history on their side, DeShields may be interested in helping the Gamecocks start some women’s hoops tradition of their own.
What do you think? Does DeShields come on board at South Carolina or join Cooper over in Knoxville?