Diamond DeShields never lacks confidence.
Whether it’s her style choices or how she carries herself in a room or on the basketball court, DeShields drips with confidence, leaving a trail behind.
She belongs to a family of professional athletes, so it’s easy to see where that confidence comes from. Her father, Delino DeShields, played Major League Baseball for 13 years and is currently the Reds’ first base coach. Dillino Deshilds Jr., Diamond’s older brother, is also a baseball player, having just finished his season, his seventh, with the Reds.
Growing up, competition was part of the family dynamic, and after helping Sky win her first WNBA title, Diamond managed to outsmart everyone.
“She’s the only professional champion in the family,” DeShields Sr. said after Sky’s Game 4 win against Phoenix Mercury. “She has dips on us now.”
The 2021 season has not been smooth sailing for Sky or the DeShields in particular.
After leaving the WNBA bubble for personal reasons, she returned to court and was met with expectations matching her performance in the 2019 All-Star season. Instead, she struggled to be a consistent offensive threat and was replaced by Allie Quigley in the starting lineup mid-season.
The DeShields finished 2021 with an average of 11.3 points, the third lowest mark in their four seasons. At times this year, her head was hanging off after she missed a glance. She seemed frustrated to herself and even seemed to lack effort. However, speaking for herself, DeShields’ words always reflect confidence even if her body language isn’t.
She is fully aware of the potential she has yet to fully reach; For her, it’s not about whether she’ll return to her 2019 model but when. Her goal as she heads abroad to play with Famila Wuber Schio in Italy is simple.
“I’m going outside to get back to me,” Deshilds said. “I am capable of being a lot more than I have been this season, and I know that.”
DeShields did not describe her experience coming off the bench to Sky as negative but rather challenging.
Prior to this year, she believed there was not much room for error for the bench players. Now she understands the challenges of getting the most out of time on the court. She said this new perspective will make her a better teammate and leader going forward in her young career.
DeShields became a restricted free agent in January and is one of the most interesting free agents due to all the unknowns around it and the sky. Sky coach/general manager James Wade has four guaranteed contracts, including Candice Parker, in 2022.
He will be tasked with re-signing with Kahleah Copper, Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley, who he said are all priorities to keep. Wade expressed confidence in the DeShields and her future. What he said he needs to see from her is consistency.
Wherever DeShields ends up playing in 2022, they will re-establish their value. For her, there is only one place she wants it to be.
“I love the city of Chicago,” Deshilds said. “This is where I want to be. You never know. It’s work.”