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Virginia Basketball Player Profile: Darius Thompson

STL takes a look at the Tennessee transfer, who will take the court for Virginia next season

Andy Lyons

Though you will not see him on the court this season, the Virginia coaching staff is thrilled to welcome transfer guard Darius Thompson into the Cavalier program.

Thompson transferred from Tennessee last spring, and announced on May 21st that UVa would be his new home. The former Volunteer announced his intentions to leave Knoxville following the departure of head coach, Cuonzo Martin, and eventually selected UVa over Purdue. Due to NCAA transfer rules, Thompson must sit out the upcoming season, but will have three years of eligibility with the Wahoos, starting next winter.

The Murfreesboro, TN native is an intriguing wing prospect, who joined the Virginia program because he was interested in the pack-line defense. Thompson averaged just 16.8 minutes per contest at UT last fall, but led the Volunteers in steals, with 36 takeaways on the year. The 6-4, 192 pound Thompson spent time at point guard at Tennessee, but can also play off of the ball. Thompson’s 6-4 frame and long wingspan allows the versatile guard to defend positions 1-3.

One of the biggest adjustments for freshmen or incoming transfers is learning Bennett’s pack-line defense. While he is out of action this year, Thompson can spend the entire season grasping Virginia’s suffocating defensive scheme. Practicing against London Perrantes, Malcolm Brogdon, and Justin Anderson will certainly help the newcomer get up to speed in a hurry.

While at Tennessee, Thompson was not one of the Vol’s top offensive weapons, as the freshman averaged just 2.6 points per contest. Thompson was efficient when running the offense, averaging 2.4 assists per game, including an assist to turnover ratio of 2.56. Though he only shot 19 percent from the field, Thompson knocked down 74 percent of his free throw attempts.

Obviously, Thompson’s presence will not be felt this year, but the transfer is a big part of this program’s future. While Perrantes is Virginia’s primary point guard going forward, Thompson is the team’s second-best ball-handler, and will provide much-needed depth at the position. Thompson’s frame adds even more length to an already tall UVa backcourt, which features five players that are 6-4 or taller.

Looking even further ahead, Virginia will have reloading project following the 2015-16 season, with the departures of Brogdon, Anderson, Anthony Gill, Mike Tobey, and Evan Nolte, but Thompson’s addition will smooth the transition. Thompson creates a buffer between Perrantes and the three freshman guards, providing a perfect balance to the backcourt. While the frontcourt on the 2016-17 squad will be slightly inexperienced, check out the depth at guard…. Perrantes (senior), Thompson, Devon Hall, B.J. Stith, and Marial Shayok (juniors) and Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy (freshmen).

Not a bad looking depth chart eh?