The biggest recruit in South Carolina women's basketball history - and arguably any sport - will be a one-and-done.
Kelsey Bone, the 6-foot-5 center who was The Associated Press' Newcomer of the Year in the SEC, plans to transfer after one season with the Gamecocks, USC coach Dawn Staley said Wednesday.
The announcement came nearly a year to the day since Bone shocked the women's basketball world by picking the Gamecocks over Illinois and two schools close to her Houston hometown - Texas and Texas A&M.
Staley gave no specific reason for Bone's transfer, but indicated the Gamecocks' failure to reach the postseason impacted Bone's decision.
"Sometimes when you don't win as many games as you would like and you don't go to the NCAA tournament or NIT, sometimes you start thinking about that as a coach or as a player," Staley said. "I'm quite sure that maybe played a role in it, but I don't know how significant."
The Gamecocks last reached the NCAA tournament in 2003.
Bone led the SEC with 9.2 rebounds a game and ranked among the top 10 in scoring with 14 points per game. But USC (14-15, 7-9 SEC) dropped four of its final five regular-season games, and lost to Mississippi in the first round of the conference tournament.
Attempts to reach Bone and her mother, Kim Williams, who moved from Houston to Columbia last year, were unsuccessful.
On her Twitter page Tuesday, Bone posted: "Thanking God for another day! When he closes one door he opens another!"
Bone, the nation's No. 2 recruit last year according to ESPNU/HoopGurlz, announced her choice of USC during the McDonald's All-American Game last April. She said later she chose the Gamecocks "to lay the foundation and start something new."
So Staley said she was surprised to learn two weeks ago Bone was considering a transfer.
"Because when you make a commitment, you're going to make a commitment for the good, the bad, the ugly. We had a little bit of that this particular year," Staley said. "But you never know what's on people's minds. We tried to pull out all the stops to see if we could get her to change her mind."
As recently as last weekend, Bone was on the sideline at Williams-Brice Stadium watching the Gamecocks' football scrimmage while hosting Kayla Brewer, a forward from Jacksonville, Fla., who is committed to USC.
Staley does not know where Bone wants to transfer. She said she would not release Bone to another SEC program, and would consider other schools on a case-by-case basis.
Staley spoke to the media Wednesday with her 10 returning players standing as a group behind her. They will need to replace a player who scored in double figures in 22 of 29 games, and finished with nine double-doubles, the most by a USC freshman in 31 years.
"We've just got to keep moving forward. This type of thing happens all the time," Staley said. "It's unfortunate that it's happened to our program at this time, with us having a top-notch player come into our program and trying to change the culture of our program. But we're all resilient."
USC athletics director Eric Hyman, who hired Staley two years ago, said he likes the program's direction, despite Bone's pending departure.
"Obviously, when you lose somebody like Kelsey, it's going to make an impact," Hyman said. "But we'll close ranks and continue to move the program forward. Dawn's too highly respected not to."