Former Virginia guard K.T. Harrell has decided to transfer to Auburn and enroll this summer after leaving the Cavaliers in late December.
At Virginia, Harrell’s ability to create his own shot was stifled in Tony Bennett’s deliberate, ball-control offense, but he believes he will fit better in the up-tempo offense Auburn coach Tony Barbee is trying to install.
“That’s one of the reasons I didn’t feel comfortable at Virginia,” Harrell said. “They play a really slow pace. I think my style fits a more up-and-down style of play.”
Harrell, a native of Montgomery, Ala., will sit out next season and be eligible to compete during the 2013-14 season.
He could have played next year if he had enrolled at the beginning of the second semester, but his family decided it was best to wait, pick the right school and return to the court a year from now.
“I would love to come in and just play,” Harrell said. “But it also motivates me. I”m going to use this year to get as good as I can possibly get and get my game to the level it needs to be at.”
The recruiting sites that cover Auburn — AuburnUndercover.com, AuburnSports.com and Inside The Auburn Tigers — reported the news first.
At Virginia, the 6-4, 202-pound Harrell got off to a fast start as a freshman, averaging 10.5 points-per-game in the first 19 games of his first season on campus before stumbling at the end of ACC play. In the final 12 games of his freshman season, Harrell only averaged 4.1 points.
As a sophomore, Harrell struggled to get playing time in Virginia coach Tony Bennett’s system. A starter for the first five games, Harrell scored 13 points against South Carolina State and 14 against UW-Green Bay. In 11 games, Harrell averaged 4.7 points before deciding to transfer to find more playing time and a better fit in the system.
“He based his decision to go to Virginia more on his relationship with Coach Bennett than the system,” his father, Rodney, said. “K.T.’s always been an aggressive guard, very versatile.”
Harrell was named the 2010 Gatorade Alabama Player of the Year after averaging 27.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.8 steals for Brewbaker Tech Magnet School.
Auburn has already added five incoming freshman for the 2012 class, but the transfers of Willy Kouassi and Bernard Morena earlier this month left one more scholarship open to fill.