It's official. Tristan Spurlock is finally off the hallowed grounds that is Charlottesville and is headed to the University of Central Florida. He confirmed as such on Saturday night. The 6'8 small forward will sit out this upcoming year and will have three years of eligibility remaining. Spurlock claims to have chosen UCF over Providence, Notre Dame, South Florida, and George Washington.
If that's true, I have a hard time understanding why you would pick UCF over, particularly, Notre Dame. Notre Dame has made the NCAA tournament three of the past four years -- each time as a 6 seed or higher. By comparison, UCF has only made the NCAA tournament four times in program history ('94, '96, '05, '06), each time bowing out after the first round.
They finished 15-17 last season and will have a new head coach in Donnie Jones, who went over from Marshall.
I can understand that the past certainly won't dictate the future, but this is clearly a factor that Spurlock considered.
"Basketball is basketball to me," he said in an interview with Whitey Reid of the Daily Progress. "Look at Butler -- they made it to the NCAA championship game."
"If your talent level is good," he continued. "it doesn't matter where you play."
I challenge the premise of your argument, Mr. Spurlock. While at Virginia, Spurlock averaged 2.4 points and 0.8 rebounds in 4.6 minutes per game over 13 games.
He can score. We all know this about him, and we know this is why he was recruited. Unfortunately, I don't think there was much development over the one year he was at Virginia, and I don't think it ever clicked that there's more to the game than taking shots.
"The funny thing is everybody else, including me, thought [Spurlock would be getting minutes from the get-go]," Spurlock said in an interview with CollegeHoops.net. "Honestly, I feel like I didn't get a chance to show all my talents at UVA. As a team, we struggled with scoring and I am a big-time scorer so I couldn't understand why I didn't play more, either."
You didn't play because you can't defend worth a lick, Mr. Spurlock.
I have very little tolerance for players who decide to transfer out of Virginia, which is why this will be the last article you will ever see on these fine pages regarding Spurlock. On the one hand, he says that he has no hard feelings towards Tony Bennett and Virginia. But that statement should really be qualified with, "unless you are a fan who has ever criticized me. Ever." His tweets on Twitter would confirm this.
Good luck to Coach Jones, another first-year head coach at the school who perhaps may have been duped by Spurlock's charm and charisma.
In Spurlock's defense, he may very well be a much improved player next year. He says he's been working out for a couple hours each day on 3-point shots and off-the-dribble pull-ups, among others. He's also been working with strength and conditioning coach Alan Stein (from S&C coach at Dematha Catholic High School, previously with Montrose Christian, where Spurlock once played).
Spurlock has a history of bailing, having played two years at Montrose Christian Academy before transferring to Woodbridge High School for a year, after which he went to Word of Life Christian Academy.