Atkins returns for his fourth year for Virginia after an interesting season. As a second year, Atkins was a force down low (see the 14 point, 7 reb. game at Wisconsin in 2012-2013), showing an immense amount of promise. Then the leg injury occurred. Darion's minutes dropped dramatically, as did his production (understandably).
Healthy last year, Darion never seemed to get in the groove. He played in 37 games, starting three, and averaged three points and two rebounds a game. He struggled vocally with his reduced playing time, but provided some quality minutes when he got in.
This season will be huge for Darion. He has put in work in the off season, adding seven pounds of muscle and working on both his offensive prowess and shut down defense. With Akil Mitchell going to the NBA, there is a big hole in the Virginia defense. With DA's quickness and hands, he could easily pick up some of the slack, especially if Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey need a spell on the defensive end.
On top of the improved physique, Atkins seems to be more enthusiastic and prepared to embrace his role on the team. DA is one of the most intriguing story lines this season, and Virginia fans should be excited to see how it pans out. Darion has a new number (5, from the departed Teven Jones), and he's ready for a new start.
And these guys are stoked about making moves. DA starts at the 48s mark:
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Best Dunk Last Season: Florida State had no idea what happened to them.
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