Thompson Feeling at Home With 'Hoos

By: Lindsay Joy Email
By: Lindsay Joy Email

Coming out of high school, Virginia was one of Darius Thompson's top college choices.

"I talked to Coach [Tony] Bennett at least two, three times a week," Thompson said. "I had a good feel for Coach Bennett and really liked UVa."

Even though he had a strong relationship with the Cavs' head coach, the 6-4 guard and Tennessee native didn't feel ready to go that far from home, so he chose to play at Tennessee.

As a freshman in 2013-2014, Thompson started 10 games for the Volunteers, averaging 2.6 points and 2.4 assists in 16.8 minutes per game. After head coach Cuonzo Martin left for a job at Cal, Thompson made the decision to transfer.

"I knew right away that I wanted to go to UVa, because I was following them throughout the year, seeing how they were doing," he says. "We played them, and just seeing how they made a run to the Sweet 16. I already had a good feel for the program here, so I feel it was a really easy decision to come here."

Shortly after coming to Charlottesville this summer, Thompson said he started to feel right at home with the 'Hoos.

"It's coming along really well, just getting a feel for things," he says of the transition. "It's been a lot easier than I thought it would be. My teammates are have really helped me out, just made me feel comfortable here."

"At first he was a quiet kid, but as soon as you got to know him he was really talkative," said redshirt freshman guard Devon Hall. "It doesn't even seem like he's any different, like he wasn't here last year or anything. He seems like he's been here for three years."

It will be more than a year before Thompson gets to suit up in a Virginia uniform. He'll sit out the 2014-2015 season per NCAA transfer rules.

Teammates like Hall know what it will be like for Thompson this season as he sits on the bench and watches his new team play, but Hall has encouraged Thompson to turn the off-year into a positive thing.

"It was honestly maybe one of the best decisions I've made," Hall says of his redshirt season last year. "Just sit out and get better each and every day. If he just takes each step as something positive, then he can get great things out of it."

"When I first made my decision to transfer, I thought sitting out a year would be terrible," Thompson added. "But just getting to talk with Devon and Malcolm [Brogdon] and [Anthony Gill], how their game grew when they sat out a year, I think it will really help me.

"They've said like, 'don't get down on yourself.' When they're out of town playing, I'm going to be in Charlottesville, but just work on my game as hard as I can every day, so when I do get a chance to be able to play, I'll be able to make an impact."

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