Jeff Judkins and the BYU women’s basketball team lost out to Michigan State in their first attempt to recruit Kayla Belles.
The second attempt worked much better: Belles, a 6-foot-3 forward, has decided to transfer to BYU after two years in East Lansing.
Belles, who is from Ithaca, Michigan, is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She considered the Cougars back in 2018 but ultimately chose the Spartans.
As a freshman for Michigan State, Belles played in 19 games and averaged 2.8 points. As a sophomore, Belles started 17 games, averaging 6.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per contest. She also led the teams in blocks with 30 and was selected as the Spartans most improved player at the team banquet last month.
“The decision I have made to transfer has possibly been one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make thus far in my life,” Belles said in a press release. “When you are surrounded with such amazing teammates, coaches and support staff, you grow a family that is hard to leave. But through personal prayer and much thought, I have decided this will be my new path.”
Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant also responded in the press release.
“We loved having Kayla Belles part of our program and while disappointed she is leaving, we wish her nothing but the very best at an institution that aligns her faith and personal endeavors,” Merchant said. “She and her family are first class people, and they will always be part of our Spartan Family.”
Belles was a three-time All-State performer at Ithaca High School but missed her senior season due to a torn ACL that required four separate surgeries.
Under normal circumstances, Belles would sit out the 2020-21 season because of the transfer. The NCAA is considering a one-time transfer rule with no penalties and if approved would mean Belles could play right away.