After several years of reasonable offseason roster stability, the Virginia basketball program faces a shifting outlook for the upcoming season. Not only will the Hoos be without departing senior London Perrantes for the first time in four years, they now must absorb the impact of transfers Marial Shayok and Jarred Reuter. UVA announced the duo’s intentions to transfer on Wednesday.
“Marial and Jarred informed me today that they are leaving the Virginia basketball program and are looking to transfer to other schools,” Bennett said in Wednesday’s news release. “I thank Marial and Jarred for their hard work and contributions to our program, and wish them success in the future.”
Shayok just helped the Cavaliers advance in the NCAA Tournament last week with a career-high 23 points against UNC Wilmington. He appeared in 103 games with 23 starts and averaged 5.7 points and 2.0 rebounds. Reuter did not see much action in the NCAA Tournament at the end of a season where he spent time on the fringe of the rotation. For his career, the sophomore appeared in 58 games and averaged 2.8 points and 1.6 rebounds.
Neither transfer comes as a significant surprise.
Shayok’s minutes never settled into a regular place due to a combination of injuries and inconsistency on both ends of the floor but certainly on defense. Over the course of the past two seasons, Shayok slid into the starting lineup for brief stretches only to see his minutes virtually disappear weeks later. He eventually worked his way back for postseason play both years, but with more wing talent joining the fray next season, a clear picture for playing time did not appear likely.
Reuter, meanwhile, committed to the program in August of 2014. At 6’8” and 245 pounds, the offer and eventual signing of Reuter looked directly like a recruiting response to the Richard Howells of the world. Jack Salt at 6’10” and 230 pounds could fit that recruiting profile as well. Howell, as a reminder, had a solid career at NC State from 2009-2013 and bullied his way around the paint in the ACC to the tune of 12.7 points and 10.9 rebounds as a senior. Howell was a 6’8”, 250-pound monster for the Wolfpack.
In the years since, the post game has taken a dramatic shift in college basketball. More and more teams are spacing the floor with shooters as posts or with four-guard lineups. That changed the equation for guys like Reuter and a clear path to consistent minutes is hard to find.
Virginia had not experienced much upheaval on its roster due to transfers in recent years. After the 2015-16 season, no one left the program. Following the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, only one player left at the end of each year. Teven Jones departed in 2014, while B.J. Stith moved on in 2015. Prior to the decisions by Shayok and Reuter, the last time more than one player transferred during an offseason came in 2013 when Paul Jesperson and Taylor Barnette both exited for other programs.
The departure of two players at once creates an interesting offseason for the program in a summer where little movement was initially projected. When UVA took the July commitment of Marco Anthony Jr. for the 2017 class, that represented the only scholarship available at the time. In the months since, Virginia dismissed Austin Nichols from the program and Shayok and Reuter announced their transfer decisions.
That sends the Cavaliers into the spring’s regular signing period (April 12-May 17) for National Letters of Intent with three open scholarships. There’s also the transfer market to consider as approximately 700 players changed programs between the 2015-16 and 2016-18 seasons.
With only 10 scholarship players on the current projected roster for next season, UVA will be active in both areas in the coming weeks. Considering that Shayok provided a wing scorer and Nichols and Reuter played in the post, it’s safe to assume that all positions are on the table. The Cavaliers will be in search of some missing elements – namely a post-up scorer and a finisher off the dribble that appeared to be missing at times on offense this season – as much as positions specifically.
Bennett, of course, also looks for certain traits in general. Combo players that can play multiple positions are always attractive. Players with lengthy wing spans often get evaluated due to the benefits that can pay for the Pack-Line defense. Players considered complete, meaning varying skills more than one speciality skill, also get frequent looks.