A couple weeks back, we discussed Tony Bennett's options for filling UVA's final open scholarship. Even before Ukranian prodigy Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk announced his intentions to attend Kansas, Wahoo fans were assured they'd never need to spell "Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk" again. Virginia's pickup of transfer Darius Thompson means that Virginia's roster is set at 13 scholarships, the maximum allotted by the NCAA.
With the acquisition, Coach Bennett showed his intention to be aggressive and proactive in filling out his team's roster; he had the opportunity to grab someone he liked (and originally recruited out of high school), and went for it. Considering his recent tendency for late-season pickups, in the transfer market or otherwise, it's clear Bennett does not enjoy being short-handed, and probably had no intention of "pocketing" the scholarship if he could help it.
After playing his freshman season at Tennessee, Thompson will sit out a year, then join Virginia in 2015-2016 as a redshirt sophomore. Here's a full look at UVA's roster
Devon Hall (R)
Malcolm Brogdon (R)
Anthony Gill (R)
Darius Thompson (R)*
(R) = Redshirted
(R)* = Will redshirt in 2014-2015, then join this class in its second year.
Once again, Tony Bennett has composed a "mega-class" of what will be 6 players. Barring attrition, he'll have one scholarship to use next year, where his priority will likely be to bolster the frontcourt, then 5 in what will be a big 2016 recruiting cycle.
Adding a 13th player (with 12 eligible to play this season), also means more competition for minutes. Only 5 players can play at a time, and only ~9 players will be a part of the team's regular rotation. A couple guys will play sparingly. Competition is a good thing, and isn't something that's abnormal around the NCAA - (elite teams will always have very talented players who rarely get minutes). But it requires that players do have the right attitude and mindset for the job, and it also increases the odds for transfers down the road.
The size of that first-year class could still change, as there remains the possibility for a redshirt. Jack Salt is probably the top candidate for an extra year, though if he proves ready to play, he'll do so despite the stacked class.
UVA basketball's large core of third-years will graduate in 2016; however, Bennett's late-season recruiting this year has laid the groundwork for another talented core to have time to mature before taking the reins in full in two seasons.
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