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North Carolina

UNC's DeShields growing accustomed to the spotlight

Posted February 18, 2014

North Carolina freshman Diamond DeShields came to Carolina ranked as the nation's top incoming recruit, but despite all of that success on the court, basketball was never DeShields' first love.

— North Carolina freshman Diamond DeShields has grown accustomed to the spotlight. She came to Carolina ranked as the nation's top incoming recruit, but despite all of that success on the court, basketball was never DeShields' first love.

DeShields actually started by playing tennis, even training with Richard Williams, the coach and father of Venus and Serena.

“That was a great experience. When I first met him and trained with him, he actually made me cry,” said DeShields. “He was tough on me.”

DeShields also excelled at softball and track. A middle school coach even tried to get her to play quarterback.

“They always joked around and asked me, because after school we would all play football. And they just would go out there ‘wow, she got an arm’,” DeShields said.

Eventually, DeShields found her way to basketball and her attention-grabbing play as a freshman has her one of thirty players up for the Naismith Trophy given to the national player of the year.

Even her name grabs attention, but it's not the kind of ‘Diamond’ you might think.

“It’s from a baseball diamond. My dad was a baseball player, so it makes sense,” DeShields said.

It made sense because her father Delino DeShields spent 13 years in the major leagues as a second baseman. Diamond's mother was a track all-American at Tennessee and her brother was the Houston Astros' No.1 pick in 2010.

Being surrounded by all that achievement, and attention, has helped prepare Diamond for the spotlight.

“Just watching my dad and brother go through that process, even watching my mom go through that process,” said DeShields. “I just have that advice coming from all over.”

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  • Jeanne Gunn Feb 18, 2014

    What an amazing athlete DeShields is! She sure has a great pedigree with her Dad playing MLB and her Mom a track and field star.

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