Since power forward Austin Nichols received an unconditional release to transfer from the University of Memphis, Virginia fans have been anxiously awaiting what CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish predicted – that Nichols was headed to Charlottesville.
Cavalier fans have the news they are looking for, as the former 5-star out of Briarcrest Christian (Eads, TN) is indeed transferring to UVa. John Martin of ESPN 92.9 in Memphis broke the story this afternoon with this tweet.
Shortly after Martin’s tweet, Nichols released a statement to ESPN 92.9. Read the full article by clicking here.
“After visiting Virginia this weekend, I’ve decided to commit. It was my second choice coming out of high school and the comfort level was built in. I look forward to helping them build on their success. I’d also like to thank the University of Memphis, my teammates, coaches, and the fans for the last two years I’ve been here,” Nichols told ESPN 92.9.
Nichols added: “I take leaving Memphis very seriously and I wish I could have decided sooner because I realize the timing was not ideal. I have thought long and hard and labored over this decision but in my heart I felt it was best to move on. I appreciate the support from everyone during my time here and I wish the team nothing but the best.”
Nichols attended Memphis for two years, averaging 11 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game in two seasons for the Tigers. As a sophomore this past season, the 6’9”, 225-pound post averaged 13.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.4 blocks per game.
Last month, Nichols announced that he was transferring from Memphis. Initially, the school put restrictions on where he could transfer and Virginia was among the schools on the restricted list. After filing an appeal, Memphis relented and granted Nichols an unconditional release. He arrived in Charlottesville yesterday for a visit, and today he committed.
Nichols will have to sit out the 2015/2016 season due to transfer rules. He will, however, have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in the 2016/2017 season. UVa’s current roster breakdown for the 2016/2017 season is in this table (always available here):
With three verbal commitments and now Nichols in the fold, UVa has two scholarships remaining in the class of 2016. Look for at least one of those two scholarships to go to a frontcourt prospect, with local standout Mamadi Diakite high on the wish list.