Maya Nnaji announced she is retiring from her position on the basketball team at the University of Arizona. The forward wants to prioritize her studies to become a physician and referred to the decision as a new chapter of her life.

“I would like to thank the Wildcat Nation for embracing me and my family and showing unwavering love and support. All of your uplifting encouragement has been felt and is greatly appreciated. Thank you to my coaches and teammates for everything these past two years; it has been an honor to rep the A,” she wrote in a statement on social media.

“In light of recent events, it has become clear to me that I need to reprioritize my main goal and true life’s purpose: becoming a physician,” Nnaji added. “With the support of my family and guidance from Above. I am stepping away from basketball to start a new chapter of my life. Please respect my decision and refrain from entertaining any speculation from outside sources.”

The sophomore was the highest-ranked recruit to ever sign with the Wildcats. She averaged 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore and 24.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game as a junior, according to On3. She was named Minneapolis Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year following the 2021 season.

Before Nnaji published an official statement, Arizona coach Adia Barnes told reporters why the forward was away from the team. She said the player attempted to balance her basketball career while attending medical school.

“It’s really challenging, and it has a lot of demands, and she misses a lot because of basketball,” Barnes said, according to The Star Tribune. “She misses her job shadowing. She misses labs, internships, and then because of that, also misses basketball stuff, too.”

Barnes said she supports Nnaji’s decision as the student was transparent about her aspirations.

“I was very supportive and all in on it because that was what she signed up for,” she added. “I knew she was going to that program when she got here, so I have to support what she’s doing because her dreams and aspirations are to be a doctor.”