Kansas State senior center Ayoka Lee is set to undergo a season-ending knee surgery, the program announced on Thursday. She will return for the 2023-24 season and complete her graduate degree.
In the official press release, head coach Jeff Mittie explained that Lee has been dealing with this particular injury for a while. Initially, the coaching staff thought they could take care of it this summer and have her ready to play in the fall.
"I am devastated for Yokie," Mittie said. "She has battled this knee injury for two years. We were hopeful with a summer procedure and extended rest, she would be able to play this upcoming season. Unfortunately, after meeting with the medical staff the last couple of days she will require season-ending surgery. We will support Yokie through her recovery and rehab and look forward to her returning to the court for the 2023-24 season."
Last season, Lee finished the year with a double-double average of 22.0 points 10.3 rebounds through 33 games. She did so while shooting at 56.3% from the field and registering 39 steals and 95 blocks, a team high. She was the only player in NCAA Division I women's basketball to register 725+ points, 325+ rebounds and 90+ blocks. Lee wrapped up a successful year as an unanimous All-Big 12 first-team selection while also making the Big 12 All-Defensive Team.
One of her most impressive performances was on Jan. 23 when she set the women's basketball single-game points record with aduring her team's 94-65 victory over the then-No. 14 Oklahoma Sooners.
"While it deeply saddens me that I cannot be on the court with my teammates this season, I am fully committed to getting healthy and contributing as a leader on the sideline," Lee said on a statement. "Although my role will be different, I am confident in what we will accomplish as a team this year. There is no other team, coaches or support staff I would want to work through this with."