CHARLOTTESVILLE — Virginia senior forward Jay Huff saw just about everything in his five years with the Cavaliers. Now, he’ll see if can make it in the NBA.
The 7-foot-1 Durham, N.C., native, who played in four NCAA tournaments and was a member of the 2019 national championship team, announced on social media Thursday night that he would not return for a sixth season.
“As much as I wanted to post something saying I was coming back for a sixth year as an April Fools’ Day joke, I decided to take the high road this year,” Huff posted on his Instagram account. “I have declared for the NBA draft.”
A skilled outside shooter and dominating rim protector, Huff finished his Virginia career with 708 points and 154 blocked shots. This season, he averaged 13 points and 7.1 rebounds. The Cavaliers won 107 games during the four seasons he saw playing time.
As a redshirt freshman, he was part of the team that lost to UMBC in the first round of the NCAA tournament, becoming the first No. 1 seed to be upset by a 16. The next season, he cut down a part of the net after the Cavaliers beat Texas Tech in the national final.
As a junior, he helped UVA end the regular season with eight straight wins, only to see the postseason canceled. This year, Virginia had to drop out of the ACC tournament after sophomore forward Justin McKoy tested positive for COVID-19.
The team didn’t get to practice or travel to Indianapolis for the NCAA tournament until the day before its first-round game against Ohio, which it lost.
The NCAA declared players could have an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19 disruptions, but Huff — like senior teammate Sam Hauser — opted to pass on that option and turn pro.
Their departures combined with McKoy, sophomore guard Casey Morsell and freshman guard Jabri Abdur-Rahim entering the NCAA’s transfer portal, mean coach Tony Bennett will have to remake Virginia’s roster heading into the 2021-22 season.
Hauser, a transfer from Marquette, led the team in scoring, averaging 16 points, and finished second in rebounding behind Huff at 6.8.