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Memphis lifts restrictions on Austin Nichols, Virginia a favorite

After some excitement, Austin Nichols will be allowed to transfer anywhere he wants. Let's recap the action.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

It was a dark and stormy night.

Ok, no it wasn't. It was July 7th.

Memphis forward Austin Nichols, a power forward out of Briarcrest Christian (TN), surprised everyone with his request to transfer in late June. The junior, a consensus five star on 247Sports, averaged 13.3 points and 6.1 rebounds last season with the Tigers before an ankle injury ended his season in February.

Questions arose whether Memphis would release Nichols, and if there would be any restrictions on his transfer.

Initial reports released by Memphis said that Nichols missed a team workout, and they planned on handling the matter internally. Two days later, July 9th, head coach Josh Pastner and Memphis University granted Nichols a conditional release.

Those conditions included preventing Nichols's transfer to any other American Athletic Conference, any school on their 2015-2016 non-conference schedule, and any already scheduled 2016-2017 opponent. Oh, and Tennessee, because...well Tennessee. Virginia, along with Iowa and Providence, are projected to play in the 2016 Emerald Coast Classic with Memphis, although there is no guarantee the Cavaliers and Tigers will face off.

This left the field seemingly open for schools like Notre Dame, Kentucky, and Duke to swoop in and steal Nichols, which benefits no one.

Nichols wasn't done fighting, however.

Tony Bennett and the Cavaliers were close to landing Nichols coming out of high school, and he has a surprising connection to Virginia through his old summer coach who is a friend of the Jones family... as in John Paul Jones.

Don Jackson wasted no time.

That was at 2:58 pm on the 14th. By 3:27, Jackson had upped the ante.

"Further, the restrictions are nothing more than a calculated effort to punish Austin’s family for his desire to transfer to a new program. Although the staff has attempted to imply ‘tampering,’ the broad nature of the restrictions clearly establishes that ‘tampering’ is not an issue; this is a calculated effort by a dysfunctional staff to punish a player for taking a step to remove himself from a failing program."

At 6:40, Nichols was free.

Jackson, by the way, is a Virginia Law alumnus.

While Nichols has not announced his destination, Virginia is considered the favorite. If Nichols comes to Charlottesville, he would have to red shirt for the 2015-2016 season.