Danielle Ballard’s basketball career, alternately marked by brilliant individual performances and disappointing disciplinary measures, has come to an end at LSU.
On Saturday, the Lady Tigers issued a news release that focused largely on their offseason workouts but noted that Ballard — one of the biggest stars in program history — will not return for her senior season.
Ballard, a former first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection who averaged 12.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.4 steals over the past three seasons, wasn’t mentioned until the 11th paragraph of the 14-paragraph release.
“We appreciate all that Danielle has done for our program during her time at LSU,” coach Nikki Caldwell said in the release. “We wish her nothing but the best and success in her future endeavors.”
Attempts to reach Caldwell were not successful.
Ballard missed LSU’s first 14 games last season for unspecified reasons but returned to lead LSU back to the NCAA tournament. The 5-foot-9 guard had also been suspended for four nonconference games in 2013-14 after violating unspecified team rules.
Hers is one of several high-profile departures during Caldwell’s LSU tenure, which heads into its fifth season.
Before last season began, LSU dismissed Derreyal Youngblood, a John Curtis graduate who led the Patriots to a state championship during her senior year in 2012. Youngblood averaged 2.2 points per game at LSU and has since transferred to East Carolina.
Coco Baker, a Helen Cox graduate, was removed from the roster for what the team called disciplinary reasons during the 2013-14 season; she eventually transferred to Alabama.
After the 2011-12 season, Krystal Forthan — one of the most decorated signees in program history — left the team for West Virginia; she ultimately wound up at the Academy of Art in San Francisco.
Ballard, Forthan and senior-to-be Raigyne Moncrief are among Caldwell’s most celebrated signees; a picture of Ballard is part of a mural of LSU greats inside the women’s practice gym.
She is perhaps best remembered for a dazzling performance in the 2014 NCAA tournament, when the Lady Tigers — at one point down to eight players because of injuries and attrition — reached the Sweet 16.
Ballard had 24 points and 17 rebounds in a first-round win over Georgia Tech, then had 22 points and 10 rebounds in a 76-67 upset of No. 7 West Virginia.
The Lady Tigers lost at Louisville in a 73-47 blowout in the Sweet 16, though Ballard had 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Ballard averaged 14.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.1 steals upon her return from suspension last season, when the Lady Tigers lost to South Florida in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
She was the only SEC player to rank in the top 10 in steals (first), points (sixth), rebounds (eighth) and assists (10th).
Ballard had 548 career rebounds and was only 23 points shy of 1,000.
Scott Rabalais contributed to this report.