Delle Donne plans to only play volleyball at Delaware

Updated: August 25, 2008, 4:43 PM ET
Associated Press

NEWARK, Del. -- Elena Delle Donne has enrolled at Delaware and joined its volleyball team as a non-scholarship member, less than a week after she was released from her basketball scholarship at the University of Connecticut.

At a news conference Monday, Delle Donne said she has no intention of playing basketball at Delaware anytime soon.

"Basketball is not part of my life right now," said Delle Donne, considered one of the top high school basketball recruits in the country.

The 6-foot-5 Delle Donne said she was "burned out" on the sport and wanted to try volleyball. As a senior at Ursuline (Del.) Academy, Delle Donne helped lead the team to a state championship as a senior, her first year on the team.

The 18-year-old Delle Donne was chosen as the nation's top female player this spring, winning the Naismith National High School Player of the Year award based on her career at Ursuline.

Delle Donne would have been the third consecutive national player of the year to attend UConn, following Tina Charles in 2006 and Maya Moore last season.

A spokesman for UConn coach Geno Auriemma said Monday they had no comment except to wish Delle Donne the best of luck.

Delle Donne began practicing with the Delaware volleyball team Thursday.

"Playing volleyball at Ursuline, I was a different person," she said.

Delle Donne began playing varsity basketball at Ursuline in the eighth grade and was part of four state championships in five years. She set the state's career scoring record with 2,818 points, despite missing a large part of her senior season with mononucleosis.

Delle Donne attended summer school at Connecticut for several days in June before deciding to return home for personal reasons. She applied to Delaware as a full-time student in early August and was accepted Aug. 18.

Delaware women's basketball coach Tina Martin did not attend the news conference.

"We certainly respect Elena's decision and wish her well here at the University of Delaware," Martin said in a statement. "The door to our basketball program will always be open to her."

Delle Donne said she hasn't picked up a basketball since scrimmaging at Connecticut in June. She's not sure if she will ever play college basketball.

"I guess I overkilled it a little bit," Delle Donne said of playing basketball her whole life. "Maybe taking time off will help me."

She will compete for playing time at the middle hitter position for the Blue Hens, who enjoyed one of their finest seasons last year.

Delaware finished 31-5, captured the Colonial Athletic Association regular season and tournament championships and earned the school's first berth to the NCAA tournament. After defeating Princeton in the first round, Delaware fell to St. John's in the second round.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press