In his post-season teleconference last week, Tony Bennett's most intriguing comment involved the potential for a transfer to Virginia, when he stated, "There's hopefully be going to be an offseason acquisition or two that will be important here coming up." With just 10 players currently on the roster for next year, the Hoos have three empty spots and pressing needs at the center and point guard positions. One of the most intriguing names being thrown around is T.J. McConnell, who recently announced his decision to transfer from Duquesne.
Unlike some bigger names, such as UConn's Alex Oriakhi, indications are that Virginia has at least a reasonable chance at landing the transfer. According to SNY, UVA has made the cut into his final two:
Duquesne PG T.J. McConnell is considering transferring to Arizona or Virginia, sources told @SNYtv— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) March 29, 2012
From Old Virginia reported that McConnell was in Charlottesville yesterday, visiting Grounds. He couldn't have asked for a nicer day, as sundressed ladies were out in full force. Besides attractive females, the two-year starter is looking for a larger school and a new challenge, as well as continued potential to play and contribute.
TJ would be a huge grab for Tony Bennett; McConnell was the Atlantic-10 Freshman of the Year in 2011, and averaged 11.4 points and 5.5 assists this year. His 43.2% three-point shooting especially has Wahoo fans salivating. But could he play defense? Sure can! McConnell was named to the A-10's All-Defensive Team this season, finishing with 86 steals, or 2.8 per game.
As per NCAA transfer rules, McConnell will have to sit out the 2012-2013 season once he picks his new team. This would still seem to work out for both parties. From Virginia's standpoint, Jontel Evans figures to see the lion's share of playing time at the point in his senior season, but the team is currently in trouble for the 2013-2014 year, when the only available options would be second-year Teven Jones and and, hopefully, a incoming first-year commit. McConnell would have the opportunity to play right away for a big-time team (yeah, that's us!) that should be competitive in the ACC.
We'll continue to watch developments in the McConnell recruitment, as Virginia fans wonder what it's like to have a player transfer into the program after experiencing six departing transfers (count 'em: Jones, Spurlock, Baron, Regan, Johnson, and Harrell) in the past two years.