Lee Volker away from Duke women’s basketball for ‘personal reasons’

Volker last played for the Blue Devils in a Dec. 21 win against Virginia.

Lee Volker in Duke's win against Northwestern.
Lee Volker in Duke's win against Northwestern.

Duke combo forward Lee Volker is no longer listed on the program’s active roster. At time of publication, her name was still listed on last year’s roster, and her 2021-22 profile page was still active.

“Lee’s taking time away from the team for personal reasons,” head coach Kara Lawson said Tuesday. Lawson declined to answer whether Volker will return at any point in the future, and a team spokesperson declined to comment further Thursday afternoon.

Volker began her sophomore season as an opening-day starter but moved to the bench six games later. She played solid minutes in her next two games, then saw her minutes drop across each of Duke’s next four, culminating in a 39-second stint against Virginia Dec. 21. For the next three games, she sat at the end of the bench and did not play. Within a couple of days of the Blue Devils’ Jan. 5 win at Wake Forest, Volker was no longer listed on the team’s official roster.

Duke’s Dec. 1 win against Northwestern was the last time Volker played significant minutes. That evening, she tied her second-highest scoring output of the season, tied season-highs in attempts and rebounds and set a season-high in turnovers. At that point, she was fourth among Blue Devils in games started, eighth in minutes, seventh in scoring and second in field goal percentage. It was expected that her playing time would decrease as big Taya Corosdale returned from injury, but Corosdale has only averaged 10 minutes since Volker was removed from the rotation.

Volker is the second player to suddenly stop suiting up for Lawson’s Blue Devils. Five-star transfer Nyah Green played her last minutes for Duke Jan. 23, 2022, and was not listed on this year’s roster, though she is still an active student at the University. Lawson said at the time that Green was “taking … personal time away,” but Green was never removed from the active roster.

Volker was the first high schooler recruited by Lawson to play for the Blue Devils. After a Nov. 10 win in which Volker set season-highs in points and rebounds, Lawson was effusive in her praise of the sophomore:

“Lee is someone that I can count on every day; she’s like the sun—like, she’s gonna come up and she’s gonna set, and I know what I’m gonna get from her every single day,” Lawson said at the time. “I’ll say this a lot: I’m interested in players that impact winning. Lee impacts winning. … I think she’s just getting better. But she’s definitely a key part of our team.”

Ranjan Jindal contributed reporting.


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