Virginia’s basketball program has reached scholarship capacity for next season with the addition of guard Darius Thompson, a transfer from Tennessee.
A 6-foot-5 freshman from Blackman High in Murfreesboro, Tenn., Thompson posted modest numbers with the Vols in 2013-14, averaging 16.8 minutes, 2.6 points, 2.4 assists, 2.0 rebounds and a team-high 1.0 steals. He shot 38.1 percent from the field, 19.5 from beyond the 3-point arc, started 10 games and scored a season-best 16 points against Wake Forest.
Thompson had little impact on Tennessee’s early-season, 87-52 rout of the Virginia, contributing two points, two rebounds and two assists in 13 minutes. He will sit out next season per NCAA transfer rules and have three seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2015-16.
Thompson’s father texted his son’s destination to the Associated Press. He elected to transfer when Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin left for Cal-Berkeley after guiding the Vols to the Sweet 16 — Tennessee hired Southern Mississippi’s Donnie Tyndall to replace Martin.
According to Rivals.com, Butler, North Carolina State, Richmond, Vanderbilt and Purdue were among the schools to offer Thompson a grant-in-aid out of high school.
With eight scholarship players returning from last season’s ACC champions and five newcomers, Virginia has the NCAA-maximum 13 athletes on grant.
Thompson is the second player this spring to land at Virginia after a coaching change elsewhere. A 6-6 wing forward from Blair Academy in New Jersey, Marial Shayok joined the Cavaliers after gaining his release from Marquette, where coach Buzz Williams left for Virginia Tech and was replaced by Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski.
With a veteran core headlined by Malcolm Brogdon, Justin Anderson, London Perrantes and Anthony Gill, and incoming freshmen such as Shayok, Isaiah Wilkins, Jack Salt and B.J. Stith, Virginia should contend again in the ACC and earn the program’s first back-to-back NCAA tournament bids since 1994-95 under Jeff Jones.
I hope to reach Thompson this evening and will update this post with his comments.
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