Virginia men’s basketball would decline White House visit, per release
“We have received inquiries about a visit to the White House. With several players either pursuing pro opportunities or moving on from UVA, it would be difficult, if not impossible to get everyone back together. We would have to respectfully decline an invitation.” – Tony Bennett
— Virginia Men’s Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) April 26, 2019
In a statement released by the program Friday, Virginia men’s basketball head coach Tony Bennett said his team “would have to respectfully decline an invitation” to the White House due to a number of players leaving the championship-winning team.
Virginia is set to lose at least five players from the 2018-2019 squad. De’Andre Hunter, Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy have decided to pursue early entry into the NBA Draft, and a fourth player, Mamadi Diakite, could also follow that path. He has until May 29 to decide whether to remain in the draft or return for his senior season. Jack Salt has graduated and will pursue a professional career, and Marco Anthony will be transferring from the program. As said in the statement, getting the entire team together, therefore, would be “difficult, if not impossible.”
It is important to note that the team did not receive an invitation. Rather, it would have to decline one if it were to come, which now seems unlikely.
Last year’s men’s champion, Villanova, did not receive an invitation for several months before announcing it would not visit. This year’s women’s champion, Baylor, will be at the White House and is expected to meet with President Trump on Monday afternoon.
Story by Zach Pereles