USC women's basketball star leaving the team

Kelsey Bone (Source: USC Sports Information)
Kelsey Bone (Source: USC Sports Information)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Kelsey Bone, star center for the University of South Carolina women's basketball team, will not return for her sophomore season, head coach Dawn Staley announced Wednesday.

The school said Bone has decided to transfer. An athletics spokeswoman said Bone is still enrolled in the university, but decided it was in her best interest to leave and doesn't plan to talk to reporters.

Bone has not said where she is transferring.

"Kelsey made a significant impact on our program this season, and we regret [her decision]," Coach Staley said. "We are a program that is constantly focused on doing what is best for our players, and we support Kelsey in her decision and wish her the best.

Staley said Bone first told her two weeks ago about her desire to transfer to another school.

"It caught me by surprise," said Staley. "I'm quite sure it's catching you guys by surprise and we're all shocked and we're still trying to grasp it."

Bone was a Second-Team All-SEC selection by SEC coaches as well as the Associated Press, and was the AP's choice for SEC Newcomer of the Year. She led the league with 9.2 rebounds per game and ranked among the conference's top 10 scorers with 14.0 points per game.

The 6-foot-5 McDonald's All-American from Sugar Land, Texas, surprised many when she committed to a team that went 10-18 in Staley's debut season.

But after one season in Columbia, Bone has made the decision to move on.

"I thought she had a pretty decent season for us, made a big impact for our program," said Staley. "We were looking for her to do bigger things in the future, but she thought otherwise."

Staley indicated Bone could be frustrated by the team's lack of success this past season. They finished 14-15 and missed out on postseason play.

"I think sometimes when you don't win as many games as you'd like and you don't go to the NCAA tournament or NIT sometimes, you start thinking about that as a coach as a player, and I'm quite sure that played a role in it," continued Staley. "I don't know how significant."   

While her now former teammates are disappointed and saddened by Bone's decision to leave, the coach says they'll recover.

"We're all resilient," said Staley. "I don't think you're going to meet a more resilient person than standing before you. I think I've had some very good days in basketball, that will outweigh this particular moment."

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Copyright 2010 WIS. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.