Why No. 5 Virginia got immediate eligibility for Alabama transfer Braxton Key
Alabama transfer Braxton Key has been granted a waiver that will give him immediate eligibility for the Virginia Cavaliers this season.
Key transferred away from the Crimson Tide after the 2017-18 basketball season, citing a desire for a change of scenery. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining.
As a sophomore last season, Key averaged 7.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.4 blocks per game for the Tide. He played in only 25.2 minutes per contest, however, down from nearly 30 he saw as a freshman. He played in 26 games overall but started in only 17, due in large part to a knee injury that impeded his usage for much of the early going.
What’s Alabama’s loss is Virginia’s gain. Key figures to be a central figure for the No. 5 Cavaliers and their title hopes in 2018-19, potentially slotting in as a starter to replace the graduated presence of Devon Hall on the wing or Isaiah Wilkins in the post. Alabama, meanwhile, has two rising stars in Dazon Ingram and Herb Jones who will soak up the majority of Key’s minutes on the perimeter. Galin Smith is also in line to take in vacated minutes Key leaves behind at the power forward slot.
Virginia is coming off a season in which it earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament but saw its season end in stunning fashion at the hands of No. 16 seed UMBC in the first round. The Cavaliers bring back Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy, among others, as part of a squad that was tabbed Monday as the No. 5 team in the country entering the season.
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