Virginia men’s basketball would decline White House visit, per release

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

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Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable run

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

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