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Kailee Johnson to forego senior season with women’s basketball team

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Senior forward Kailee Johnson will not return to play for the Stanford women’s basketball team in her final season of eligibility.

Johnson, who started in 12 times in 30 games played last season, has decided to graduate two quarters early and pursue a career in real estate investment.

“I’ve learned so much and grown a great deal as a person the past three years and I’ll always cherish my time as a member of the women’s basketball program,” Johnson said in a statement. “I want to thank [head coach] Tara [VanDerveer] for giving me the opportunity to be where I am today along with my coaches and teammates for their support and friendship.”

The decision comes after news that fellow senior and three-year starting guard Lili Thompson would not be returning to the program for the 2016-17 season. The veterans were expected to be significant contributors in an experienced team that made it to the Elite Eight last year.

“Stanford is such a unique place and I’m happy that KJ has taken full advantage of all that this university has to offer,” VanDerveer said. “She was a great teammate and we’ll miss her, but are anxious to see all that she will accomplish in the future.”

A Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention selection, Johnson averaged 2.9 points and 3.9 rebounds in 18.2 minutes her junior year, as compared to only 7.6 minutes the previous year in her second season.

Johnson said she is excited to begin her professional life.

“This was an extremely difficult decision, but I’m eager to start my career,” Johnson said. “I am the biggest fan of Stanford women’s basketball and look forward to cheering on my team this season and beyond.”

Contact Tristan Vanech at tvanech ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Tristan Vanech is a sports managing editor and former news desk editor on the campus life beat. A Symbolic Systems major from Venice, CA, Tristan loves playing basketball and football. His most notable accomplishment at The Daily is leading its flag football team as quarterback to break a three-year drought in the annual Ink Bowl against the Daily Cal. Ball is life. Email him at tvanech@stanford.edu.