Freshman forward Tristan Spurlock is transferring from the University of Virginia after a year of much ado about nothing.
Spurlock was one of the top recruits former coach Dave Leitao was able to nab and, after his dismissal, rumors floated around as to whether or not the big man would honor his commitment. Reports that Georgetown was courting Spurlock had everyone desperately hoping to hold onto the promising prospect.
Well, coach Tony Bennett did beat the odds and hold onto Spurlock. However, the reward was not exactly what Virginia fans expected.
Despite the preseason hype, Spurlock's offensive ability was hindered by defensive deficiencies, a cardinal sin in the Bennett system. As a result, the highly touted recruit played in only 13 of 31 games, totaling 60 minutes for the entire season.
That's right, in an offense completely devoid of scorers and big men, perhaps the best offensive threat in the frontcourt played over 400 fewer minutes than walk-on Will Sherrill. Fellow freshman Jontel Evans had 512 minutes by comparison.
Now, this is not necessarily a condemnation of coach Bennett for taking the moral stand, but it also makes this move by Spurlock less than surprising. After all, did he really have any choice other than to leave once he saw the pecking order?
Coach Bennett made it clear at the end of this season, there will be changes. Currently he is evaluating what is left on a team that held such promise as late as early February, but a long losing streak crushed the Cavaliers as they finished 15-16. All players will meet with the coach and he will give them honest and frank evaluations of what their roles on this team will be.
In other words, Spurlock may not be alone in his journey out of Charlottesville. This is just the nature of a regime change. Bennett knows that he will be held accountable for this team and that means he needs to create the kind of team with which he can be successful.
Still, it is a shame to see such a promising prospect on the way out. Spurlock will land on his feet and he will probably be rather successful. You cannot teach the athleticism and the attitude of this young man.
All college programs experience transfers, but the road to Charlottesville has been full of hard knocks. Whether it be Keith Jenifer, Derrick Byars, Gary Forbes, Nick Vanderlaan, Jamil Tucker, Will Harris, John Brandenburg, Sam Warren, Lars Mikalauskas, and now Spurlock, Virginia's tumultuous coaching changes and suspensions has hurt continuity and increased transfers.
Spurlock should be a cautionary tale that the solution to Virginia's woes will not be solved overnight. Bennett needs time and Cavalier fans need to display patience, otherwise Spurlock's story will be one we hear over and over again in Charlottesville.