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UVA's Casey Morsell, Virginia Tech's Jalen Cone enter transfer portal; Virginia's Sam Hauser confirms he'll turn pro

UVA's Casey Morsell, Virginia Tech's Jalen Cone enter transfer portal; Virginia's Sam Hauser confirms he'll turn pro

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Analysis: More madness likely in NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16

Virginia guard Casey Morsell (13) walks off the court after the team's loss to Ohio in a first-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 20, 2021, at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind.

CHARLOTTESVILLE – Virginia sophomore guard Casey Morsell and Virginia Tech sophomore guard Jalen Cone added their names to the growing list of college basketball players in the NCAA transfer portal on Thursday.

Both players announced their decisions on Twitter.

Morsell, a four-star prospect out of Fort Washington, Md. played in 23 of the team's 25 games this year, averaging 4.4 points and 1.3 rebounds. 

"Today, I have made the decision to enter the transfer portal," Morsell tweeted. "I would like to thank the UVA family for a great experience and opportunity to grow. Please keep me in your prayers as I prepare for my next step in this journey."

Morsell scored seven points in 16 minutes of playing time in the Cavaliers' loss to Ohio in the first round of this year's NCAA tournament.

Virginia is slated to return Kihei Clark, Reece Beekman and Trey Murphy next year. All three guards saw more playing time this season than Morsell. UVA also has a pair of highly-touted freshmen guards who could return in Jabri Abdur-Rahim and Carson McCorkle, in addition to junior guard Kody Stattmann who missed most of this season with a non-COVID-related medical issue.

UVA went 18-7, including winning an ACC regular-season championship with a 13-4 league mark. But it had to drop out of the conference tournament after sophomore forward Justin McKoy tested positive for COVID.

The ensuing team-wide quarantine meant the Cavaliers could not practice or travel to Indianapolis - site the entire 2021 NCAA tournament - until the day before the Ohio game.

The 13-seeded Bobcats beat four-seed Virginia 62-58 on Saturday.

Also Thursday, UVA senior star Sam Hauser, a Marquette transfer who led the Cavaliers in scoring, confirmed he would not return for additional college season and will turn pro.

At Tech, Cone, a 5-foot-10, 160-pound North Carolina native, missed the second half of the season with an ankle injury. He played in 15 games, averaging 9.2 points off the bench, and shot 35% from 3-point range.

He joins Tech freshman guard Joe Bamisile, a former Monocan star who played sparingly this year, in the portal.

"Virginia Tech has became my second home," Cone Tweeted. "I have built relationships that will last a lifetime and learned so many things here. I've gained new family and made memories that will never fade. There is no place like Blacksburg and nothing can replace it."

The Hokies were one of the biggest surprises in the ACC this season, going 15-7 and finishing third in the ACC. They lost a first-round NCAA tournament game to Florida in Indianapolis on March 19.

Cone and Morsell are the latest players to enter the portal, which figures to be as busy as ever this offseason. The NCAA ruled that the 2020-21 season did not count against players' eligibility and it's expected to pass a one-time transfer waiver that allows players who transfer to play immediately instead of sitting out a season.

The ACC just removed a rule blocking players from transferring from one school to another within the conference.

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