Editor's note: Since publication, The Chronicle has reported that Celeste Taylor has entered the transfer portal.
In a largely unexpected move, star guard Celeste Taylor announced via social media Monday afternoon that she will be returning to Duke, using her fifth and final year of eligibility.
“I wouldn't want to spend my final years of college basketball anywhere else,” Taylor said. “It has been great to help revitalize the tradition that is Duke women's basketball. The first day I stepped foot on campus I wore a shirt that said ‘Leave a Legacy.’ That's what I intend to do. I believe I am not quite done yet.”
Taylor, who transferred from Texas after her sophomore year, has been a key piece in a Duke team that made a massive jump from 10th place to second in the ACC. In her senior season, Taylor was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year and tabbed as a finalist for the Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year. She led the Blue Devils in points per game with 11.4 and also averaged 2.2 steals per game.
The decision to return may come as a shock to many after Taylor herself said at the team’s preseason media day in October 2022 that she planned to declare for the WNBA draft at the end of the season.
“I couldn't be more excited to have the opportunity to coach her another season,” head coach Kara Lawson said of Taylor’s return in a team release Monday afternoon. “She has won over the entire Duke community with her effort, leadership and character. She uplifts everyone around her. The example she sets every day changes our team. We have our leader back.”
The news comes in light of a report Monday morning that starting point guard Shayeann Day-Wilson will be transferring out of the program. With Taylor’s return, the guard room will look noticeably less empty when the 2023-24 season rolls around.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Taylor as Duke's captain. The team does not have captains. The Chronicle regrets the error.
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