Tristan Spurlock wants to stay, but it's Bennett's call as to whether he returns
I had a chance to catch up with freshman forward Tristan Spurlock on the day before what might be both Virginia's final game of the season and possibly the final game of Spurlock's Cavaliers career. Discussions of Spurlock's future have caused speculation in this space on Feb. 18 and March 3.
When Spurlock has discussed his future before, there were still opportunities to break into the rotation. Now the regular season is finished. He had 16 DNPs, 13 games played, 4.6 minutes per game, 2.4 points per game. So the obvious question is, will he stay at Virginia?
"Same thing I've felt: next year is next year, and I'm taking it day by day, like I always do," Spurlock said Wednesday. "I love being a Cavalier. I love being at U-Va. The fans are beyond excellent. I mean, I'm getting e-mails every day. E-mails, Tweets, Facebook messages -- everything about 'stay, stay! Don't leave!' But, you know, it's a business, and I realize that. At this age, at 19, you realize it's a business. Everything's a business. You want to do something, but you know, if it's not in Coach Bennett's idea to have me back, then that's that. But I want to be here. So long as they know that, I'll be okay."
Therefore, Spurlock essentially put the onus on Coach Tony Bennett, who has not inserted Spurlock into games in more than half of the games this season.
As a reminder, the Woodbridge native was the state's top high school player last year, according to the Roanoke Times. Spurlock has watched from the bench, wondering what could happen during the Cavaliers' nine-game losing streak had he played.
"All the time," Spurlock said. "Just 'cause, I watch film. Not of me, but I have games where I didn't even play. And I look at them and say, 'Maybe I could have done this, or done that.' I got that from Sylven [Landesberg], watching a lot of game tape. Even games I don't play. I watch mostly Sylven, his offensive game. See how he plays, how he moves, how he dribbles, how he penetrates. From the defensive standpoint, Jontel is my roommate. I look at a lot of the things he does, how he stays ahead of the ball. I mean, you really do want to be out there. It hurts. It's really like, 'Man, I wish I could get out there and make a difference. I wish I could do something.'
"But you know, the guys who are out there, they're out there for a reason, so you have to make sure you encourage them. I never single out one player and feel like I'm better than that one player. I'm supporting everyone. I'm so happy for Will Sherrill, his junior year, he finally gets to play. I feel like he's probably proving a lot of people wrong. Jeff Jones. Jontel, he's probably my best friend on the team. I'm always ecstatic to see him out there. He always points to me when he scores. So, I'm always happy for my team.
"...For me, I'm competitive. It hurts. You got to put that to the back burner a little bit when you're sitting on the bench. Because if you sit there and sulk, everyone's going to say he's a sore loser. Because if we win, and I'm not cheering, then I'm a sore loser. So I can't do that when we lose. I can't switch up and be like, when we lose, I need to play. Because I wasn't playing when we were winning. So, it's tough. But you just have to deal with it. And hopefully, when you get your chance, you do something with it."
March 10, 2010; 3:14 PM ET
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