Darion Atkins will soon wear the "honors of Honor" and graduate from Virginia this May. Atkins has come a long way from his days at the Landon School, where he earned his spot as a finalist for the McDonald's All-American Team. During his first three years at Virginia, Atkins mainly played off of the bench. Atkins averaged only 10.2 minutes per game his first-year in 27 appearances. He averaged slightly more minutes his second-year (15.7 mins/game) but also missed eight games due to a right shin injury. Come third-year, Atkins still found himself playing a bench role, averaging 3.0 points and 2.2 rebounds in 10.4 minutes per game.
Despite three frustrating years, Atkins kept his head high (thanks Darion's mom!) and continued to fight through injuries and a lack of playing time. Finally, during his final year, Atkins was afforded time under Tony Bennett's system. Atkins showcased his talent and hard work by shooting 51.1 percent from the field, averaging 7.6 points per game, and pulling down 6.0 boards a game. All of this was done in 33 games and 27 starts. As the lone starting fourth-year on the roster, Atkins emanated leadership and poise on the floor and was arguably the most consistent player Virginia had all season. Atkins's efforts did not go unnoticed, as he was named Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year as well as ACC Defensive Player of the Year by Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.
Recently, Atkins backed up his accolades in the Portsmouth Invitation Tournament (PIT), a showcase for NBA team representatives. He averaged a dominant 20 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 3.7 blocks per game. While Atkins is not currently projected to be selected in the NBA Draft, his PIT outing serves as a strong argument for being a possible late second round pick. As we continue to track Atkins's stock, we wish him all the best luck!