Virginia basketball lands transfer in guard Darius Thompson, formerly of Tennessee


CHARLOTTESVILLE VA , FEBRUARY 18: Virginia Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett is shown during the University of Virginia defeat of the University of Maryland 71 - 44 in mens NCAA basketball at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville VA, February 18, 2012. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post) (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Former Tennessee guard Darius Thompson has decided to transfer to the Virginia men’s basketball program, a person with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed Tuesday morning.

Thompson is a 6-foot-5 combo guard who led the Volunteers in steals and finished second in assists as a freshman last season. He averaged 2.6 points, two rebounds and 2.4 assists in 16.8 minutes per game while Tennessee made a run to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16.

Virginia recruited Thompson, a Murfreesboro, Tenn., native, out of high school and he will have three years of eligibility remaining after sitting out next season. Thompson will take over the scholarship vacated when former Cavaliers backup point guard Teven Jones elected to transfer for more playing time after Virginia’s historic 2013-14 campaign.

Virginia Coach Tony Bennett had been working diligently since Jones’s transfer to fill his slot on the roster. The Cavaliers hosted point guard Devotne Graham, a former Appalachian State commit, on campus last month before he chose to go to Kansas. They also hosted former Maryland guard Seth Allen for a campus visit before he picked Virginia Tech.

In addition, the Cavaliers were reportedly in pursuit of Ukrainian guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, currently one of the most sought-after international prospects. But Thompson’s imminent arrival in Charlottesville leaves Virginia with no open scholarships going forward.

Thompson will join a back court in 2015-16 that should have plenty of options for playing time, including leading scorer Malcolm Brogdon, point guard London Perrantes, redshirt freshman Devon Hall and incoming freshman B.J. Stith. Perrantes will be the only player on the roster shorter than 6-5.

Rivals first reported Thompson’s decision, and his father sent several outlets text messages Monday night confirming the news. Thompson decided to leave Tennessee after former Volunteers coach Counzo Martin left Knoxville to become the head coach at California this offseason. Tennessee has since hired former Southern Miss coach Donnie Tyndall.

Mark Giannotto is a Montgomery County native who covers high school sports for The Washington Post. He previously covered Virginia and Virginia Tech football for five years.

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