Coach: Guard Darius Thompson to transfer from Virginia
By HANK KURZ Jr.
Virginia guard Darius Thompson is transferring, making him the third player to leave the Cavaliers men's basketball program in two days.
"Although you never want to see young men transfer, I understand this is part of coaching," Bennett said in a statement. "Darius, Marial, and Jarred feel it's in their best interests to pursue other options for the remainder of their college careers. I will always appreciate the contributions they made to our program."
Thompson transferred to Virginia after spending his freshman season at Tennessee. He played for the Cavaliers for two years and started in 15 of his 33 appearances this year. He averaged 6.2 points in 20.8 minutes per game and 5.2 points over 70 career games at Virginia.
Bennett said Thompson will transfer after graduating, making him eligible to play immediately wherever he lands.
The defections are not the first for Virginia under Bennett.
Virginia lost four players - KT Harrell, Will Regan, Billy Baron and James Johnson - from Bennett's initial recruiting class in 2009-10. Paul Jesperson left in 2013 after he started 33 of 35 games, and B.J. Stith left in 2015.
"As a staff, we are focused on finding student-athletes who want to be a part of this program and all the University of Virginia has to offer," Bennett said.
Thompson, like Shayok, got inconsistent playing time this year, but averaged 34.5 minutes in the Cavaliers' two NCAA Tournament games. He also averaged 22 minutes in their two ACC Tournament contests, and had played as much as 20 minutes just three times in the 11 games leading up to the postseason.
Virginia (23-11) reached its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament this season and has been ranked in the Top 25 for 64 consecutive weeks.
The departures leave Virginia with just six players on the roster who received significant playing time this season.
Of the players returning, senior forward Isaiah Wilkins, senior guard Devon Hall and junior forward Jack Salt have been consistent starters, and sophomore guards Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome received significant playing time. Redshirt sophomore forward Mamadi Diakite played less consistently, but started the final game of the season. He will compete with highly touted freshmen guard De'Andre Hunter and forward Jay Huff, who both redshirted this season, for playing time next season.
The school also will add incoming freshman guard Marco Anthony of San Antonio, Texas, into the mix.
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Updated March 23, 2017