The Virginia’s men’s basketball team are suddenly experiencing the departure of two of its rising senior guards, Darius Thompson and Marial Shayok, as well as rising junior forward, Jarred Reuter. Shayok, a 6’5 shooting guard from Ontario, Canada was an instrumental player off the bench for the Cavaliers, finishing second on the team with an 8.9 scoring average. He averaged about 20 minutes of playing time per game and made 23 career starts. In this year’s NCAA tournament, he scored a career-best 23 points in a victory against UNC Wilmington, but was ineffective against the Florida Gators, scoring seven points on two of nine shooting. Darius Thompson announced his transfer from the Virginia basketball program a day after both Reuter and Shayok did. In his two-year tenure with Virginia, he started in 15 of his 33 appearances this year. He averaged 6.2 points in 20.8 minutes per game this season, and 5.2 points over 70 career games at Virginia. His biggest game for Virginia, came this season against the West Virginia Mountaineers in which he scored 14 points on five of ten shooting, hitting three of six three-pointers. Jarred Reuter, sophomore forward, was not able to crack much time into Tony Bennett’s rotation, only averaging 10.8 minutes per game and scoring 3.8 points. Reuter’s best performance came against the Iowa Hawkeyes in which he nearly produced a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing nine rebounds. One of the issues that was apparent in Reuter’s game that led to earning low minutes was his inability to attack from the low post and establish a respectable mid-range jumper. This forced Virginia to look towards three-guard lineups that put junior guard Devon Hall at the three and guard opponents that were between two to five inches taller than him.
Despite these departures, Virginia’s basketball team should be able to make quick adjustments to their starting five, as they still have six players who have significant playing time and experience moving forward. Also, the additions of four-star redshirt freshman players, De’Andre Hunter and Jay Huff should help substantially in making up for the scoring punch that was lost. Huff, especially will be an intriguing player to look out for because of his ability to hit from three-point range. In his senior year at the Voyager Academy, in Durham, North Carolina, he averaged a double-double, scoring 16.3 points and bringing down 10.1 rebounds a game. His 6’11 frame can be challenging for opposing teams to guard since he can be set up in pick and pop situations as well as in the low post. Also, with an extra year of maturity for guard Kyle Guy, the ceiling is high. Kyle Guy had a spectacular season for Virginia in his limited 18.6 minutes a game, averaging 7.5 points per game. His greatest highlight this season came in the ACC tourney against the Pittsburgh Panthers, where he scored 20 points with 60% of those points coming from three-point range.