Virginia picked up a commitment from one of the best transfers on the market over the weekend, and in the process they may have landed themselves a replacement for De’Andre Hunter should he opt to head to the NBA next season.
Braxton Key, a sophomore from Alabama, announced on Sunday that he will be enrolling at Virginia, where he will play his final two season after sitting out the 2018-19 season. Key struggled with injury and figuring out his role on a team that included a pair of talented freshman as a sophomore — he averaged just 7.0 points and 5.3 boards after missing the first ten games due to knee surgery — but he did averaging 12.0 points and 5.7 boards as a freshman for the Tide.
A 6-foot-8 forward, Key is the kind of versatile and multi-positional big man that is so important for this Virginia team. He has the size to rebound the ball on the defensive end of the floor, but he also has the versatility to be able to defend on the perimeter if need be. That versatility is what made Hunter so important to Virginia this past season, it’s why he is, on paper, a guy that could end up being a top ten pick in 2019 and it is why a team like UMBC was able to do what they did against Virginia in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
We talked about Hunter’s value to Virginia in-depth here, and that same line of thinking applies to Key.