Deja Kelly Shares Update on North Carolina Future

The senior guard is entering the transfer portal, but is not shutting the door on a return to UNC.
Michigan State v North Carolina
Michigan State v North Carolina / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

The North Carolina Tar Heels women’s basketball program received a bit of surprising news on Monday, which could impact chances to compete for an ACC title next season.

ESPN’s Alexa Philippou reported Monday that North Carolina star guard Deja Kelly will enter the transfer portal, but is leaving the door open to return to Chapel Hill. Philippou adds that Kelly will explore other schools. 

The Tar Heels have seen five players enter the transfer portal after finishing this season with a 20-13 record. 

The 5-foot-8 standout could’ve declared for the 2024 WNBA Draft, but she has a final year of college eligibility because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kelly is coming off an outstanding 2023 season for North Carolina, averaging 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game.

It was the third straight year that the senior guard averaged at least 16 points per game. If Kelly decides to play elsewhere next season, she’ll leave behind a great legacy as a Tar Heel. 

Kelly is ranked eighth all-time in scoring at the University of North Carolina with 1,851 career points and helped the Tar Heels make back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances.

After making it to the Sweet 16 in 2022, the Tar Heels were eliminated in the second round of the NCAA Tournament by the eventual national champions, South Carolina Gamecocks. Kelly had seven points, four assists, and two assists in the blowout loss to the Gamecocks.

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