For a lot of Virginia fans, Darion Atkins was a pleasant surprise last season. Atkins played in 26 games in 2012-2013, starting in 12 of them before a shin injury knocked him out for eight games. Of the 12 games where Darion was in the starting lineup, the 'Hoos won nine of them.
As a first year, Atkins averaged only 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds a game. His 19 blocks were enough for first on the squad. In his second season, the forward out of the Landon School in Maryland upped his game and put up 4.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks, despite the lower leg issues.
Darion's numbers show obvious improvement, but most impressive was the maturation of Atkins as an overall player. He finished the season with a shooting percentage of 49.1 and added 28 blocks (2nd on the team). His decision making and play, especially in the early season, demonstrated his range and ability beyond what the Cavalier faithful had seen previously.
Atkins has recovered from the shin injury and will likely be an option off the bench to rotate in for Mitchell and/or Tobey down low. The depth for Virginia is better than I can remember, and having a healthy Darion will do wonders for the durability of the Cavalier squad.
Best Performance Last Season: @ Wisconsin (14 points, 7 rebounds, 1 blocked shot)