In a stunning turn of events, sophomore guard Deja Church announced via Twitter that she will not be returning to the Michigan women’s basketball team next season.
“Thank you to The University Of Michigan!” Church said in a tweet shared on her official account. “I appreciate all your support and for accepting me with open arms! However I will not be returning to UM next season. Forever will love UM, but I know God has something else special planned for me! Go blue forever”
Church was the Wolverines’ starting shooting guard this season after spending much of her freshman campaign serving as the team’s backup point guard to Katelynn Flaherty. Playing off the ball allowed her to attack the rim more frequently and emphasize her skill as a driver.
The position switch helped Church average career bests of 8.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, in addition to routinely dominating on the defensive end, averaging just over one steal per game.
Most recently, Church displayed her value to a relatively young Wolverines squad in the NCAA Tournament, when she posted 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists in a 84-54 first-round win over Kansas State. Even as the seconds dwindled down to zero in the final moments of Michigan’s season-ending defeat to Louisville, the future for next season’s campaign appeared bright, and Church was expected to be among the team’s key pieces.
Now, the Wolverines will march into 2019 without one of its starters and biggest personalities both on and off the court. While the loss will be a tough one, senior guard Akienreh Johnson will likely be more than ready to step into Church’s shoes as the team’s starting shooting guard after an impressive run to close out the season’s second half.
When asked for comment, a U-M spokesperson directed The Daily to Church’s aforementioned tweet.