Deja Kelly announces that she will not return to UNC women's basketball program

The UNC women's basketball program's eighth all-time leading scorer will not return to Chapel Hill for a fifth season.
Michigan State v North Carolina
Michigan State v North Carolina / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

Earlier in the offseason, Deja Kelly entered the transfer portal, but it was reported that a return to the UNC women's basketball program was still a possibility.

On Friday, Kelly provided us with an update on her future, as she announced on social media that she has elected not to return to North Carolina for a fifth and final season.

Kelly wrote a heartfelt letter thanking everyone within the Chapel Hill community, as you can tell that her four years as a Tar Heel were very impactful. As she worded perfectly, all good things must come to an end, as she feels that now is the proper time to explore other opportunities.

The San Antonio, Texas native didn't confirm what else is in store for her future, as a potential transfer to another program is the likely option (with another announcement to follow over the next few days)

Kelly leaves Chapel Hill 1,851 career points, which gives her sole possession of eighth place on the UNC women's basketball program's all-time scoring record. She was a three-time first-team All-ACC selection and helped guide the program to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2022.

During her time as a Tar Heel, Kelly set the tone for student-athletes in the NIL world, as she created a brand that has earned her various endorsement deals. For future student-athletes looking to operate in this world of NIL, they should follow the blueprint that Kelly put together, as she has shown that it is very possible to succeed at an elite level on the court while dominating off the court in terms of brand endorsements as well.

Deja Kelly, we can confirm that you most certainly left the UNC women's basketball program better than when you found it. For that, Tar Heel faithful will forever be grateful.