The Nevada women's basketball team entered this offseason knowing it would lose its top two scorers, seniors Jade Redmon and Terae Briggs, to graduation.
But the Wolf Pack also is losing its top scorer who was slated to return in Camariah King, a senior-to-be who has put her name in the transfer portal and will leave Nevada this summer.
King was third on the Wolf Pack with 7.7 points per game last season. She added 3.4 rebounds per game and a team-high 2.6 assists per game. But she said the Wolf Pack coaching staff, led by head coach Amanda Levens, decided not to have her come back for her senior season as King is slated to graduate in May.
"I've been here for four years, I grew up out here, I didn't have a senior night yet, so I definitely did want to stay, but I guess it's kind of out of my control," King told Nevada Sports Net this week.
King said the Wolf Pack coaching staff "decided to take the program in a different direction and asked me to leave," adding she enjoyed her time in Reno and holds no ill will toward the staff, which inherited King, who committed to Nevada when Jane Albright was the program's coach. King has spent the last four seasons at Nevada, redshirting with an injury in 2016-17, and will be immediately eligible at her next school as a grad transfer. She'll have one season of eligibility.
“We’re proud of Camariah for earning her degree this spring and we are appreciative of all her contributions to the Nevada women’s basketball program," Levens said in a statement to NSN. " Our program is moving forward and we support her as she explores her options as a grad transfer.”
King was one of three Wolf Pack players to log at least 30 minutes per game this season, along with Redmon and Briggs. She started 27 of 31 games and was one of just three Nevada players to appear in each game this season. That was a strong accomplishment considering King said she fractured her thumb in the team's second game of the season.
"I had surgery a couple of weeks ago and I'll be good by the end of May with what they're saying," King said. "I'm in cast and get that off next week and then start rehab."
While the injury was to her non-shooting hand, King struggled with her shooting stroke, her biggest asset. She made 31.4 percent of his shots, including 51-of-169 from three (30.2 percent) this season. The year prior, King made 36.7 percent of her shots, including 62-of-161 from three (38.5 percent).
"I didn't have the season I wanted to have, but I still had games I was producing," King said. "Not only in scoring, but I'm a team player and can get my teammates the ball, I can shoot the three. I'm working on my mid-range and finishing. With my size, I'm naturally a point guard but I'm a scoring threat, too, and am versatile.
"Mentally (the injury) was a big thing for me. I got injured and had been working so hard all summer and I felt like I had my shot right and all of a sudden my hand's broken. Just adjusting to that and the mental aspect of things showed for sure. At the end, it was just me having a hungry mentality."
The 5-foot-6 King, who is from Seattle, said she is looking for a school that wants and believes in her and understands her strengths and weaknesses. She also wants to win a championship, something she nearly accomplished with Nevada in 2017-18 when the Wolf Pack made it to the Mountain West Tournament title game before losing to Boise State on a buzzer-beater. King was a key reserve on that team and averaged 9.6 points per game.
King said she'll have fond memories of her time in Reno and the bonds she created in Northern Nevada.
"I'll just remember being with my teammates," King said. "And I've built a very good support system that will travel with me wherever I go with the fans, the donors and just the school in general. This has been my home away from home. I've made a lot of good memories outside of basketball as well. Just playing in front of our fans. They've been consistent over the years with a lot of ups and downs we had and they've remained supportive through it all."
Despite losing its top three scorers, Nevada does return scorers No. 4-9 from last year's team, including a quintet of players who were true freshmen last season. That group, which includes Imani Lacy (6.7 ppg), Essence Booker (5.6 ppg), Emma Torbert (5.5 ppg), Da'Ja Hamilton (5.0 ppg) and Amaya West (3.3 ppg), will now be tasked with leading the Wolf Pack, which went 12-19 last season and 7-11 in MW play.