Virginia dismisses prized transfer Austin Nichols after just one game – Yahoo Sports

The transfer projected to make the biggest impact this season has been dismissed from his new team after playing just a single game.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett announced Friday evening that he has jettisoned forward Austin Nichols for unspecified rules violations. Nichols was previously suspended for the Cavaliers’ two preseason scrimmages and their season opener at UNC Greensboro last Friday.

“It’s a privilege to be a part of this program and Austin has lost that privilege,” Bennett said in a statement. “We have standards for our student-athletes and when those standards aren’t met, there are consequences and this is the unfortunate consequence.”

A 6-foot-9 forward who averaged 13.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.4 blocks as a sophomore at Memphis two seasons ago, Nichols became the most coveted transfer on the market when he chose to leave the Tigers.

Nichols projected as an instant starter and an impact player at both ends of the floor for Virginia because of his ability to score in the paint, rebound and alter shots at the rim. He instead played only one game for the Cavaliers, coming off the bench to score 11 points and three rebounds in a victory over St. Francis (N.Y.).

In Nichols’ absence, Virginia will rely on 6-foot-9 redshirt freshman Mamadi Diakite, 6-foot-11 redshirt sophomore Jack Salt and 6-foot-7 sophomore Jarred Reuter to anchor their frontcourt. None can duplicate Nichols’ scoring ability or rim protection by themselves, but perhaps they can collectively replace some of his production.

Virginia won back-to-back ACC titles in 2014 and 2015, fell one victory shy of the Final Four last season and was expected to contend both in its league and nationally this year.

The Cavaliers could still be a Top 25 team without Nichols, but now it seems unlikely they’ll mount much of a challenge for the ACC title this season.

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!


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