News broke Monday night that Teven Jones has decided to transfer from the Virginia basketball program. From all accounts, Jones was a consummate player during his Virginia career. He played a key role in Virginia's 2012 upset at Wisconsin and helped steady the backcourt transition after the graduation of Jontel Evans.
Maybe as important, Jones's enthusiasm for his teammates was infectious. One of the more fun signs that Virginia was having special season in 2014 came in late February when the Washington Post published a blog piece on Jones's sideline dancing. Teven will sorely be missed.
Looking ahead, Jones's departure leaves Virginia with 11 scholarship players for 2014-2015. It's unclear whether Virginia coach Tony Bennett will recruit another freshman to add to that number. Bennett has added two players late in the recruiting cycle at Virginia: Billy Baron in 2010 and Taylor Barnette in 2012. Notably, both players transferred.
Here's the current roster for 2014-2015, listed by year:
Freshmen (2018) - Devon Hall (G), Jack Salt (C), B.J. Stith (G/F), Isaiah Wilkins (G/F)
And here are the current number of scholarship players in the Virginia pipeline for the upcoming seasons:
While Virginia has plenty of upperclassmen for the next two seasons, Bennett would certainly like to smooth the roster turnover in the out years. When the Anderson/Brogdon/etc. class graduates, Bennett will be left with essentially a new team. He'd like to have as many pieces of that team in place as possible, and Jones's departure gives him more flexibility to do just that.
One solution might be to find a transfer, which Bennett has had success with before (see Anthony Gill). If that happens, Virginia will probably look to add some depth in the backcourt. The final option, of course, would be to roll the newly-vacated scholarship into the 2015 recruiting cycle. Either way, Bennett will look for a player who can contribute during the 2015-2016 campaign, and then step into a leadership role the next year.
Fortunately for Virginia fans, the Cavalier brand is stronger now than it's been in ages. By winning the ACC title and making a Sweet Sixteen run, Bennett disproved a lot of naysayers on the recruiting trail who claimed that his system couldn't work. It only makes sense that he'll see more success with recruits going forward. Jones's departure essentially gives Bennett another chance to go fishing. And now, Bennett is fishing with better bait. That should be good news for the Virginia program.
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