Blackshear

Kerry Blackshear has decided to transfer to Florida.

Kerry Blackshear Jr. will not be returning to Virginia Tech for his final season of college basketball.

The Virginia Tech graduate announced Wednesday night on Instagram that he has decided to transfer Florida.

The Gators landed the top graduate transfer in the nation. Blackshear made the All-ACC second team as a fourth-year junior last season, when he helped the Hokies win 26 games and reach the Sweet 16.

Blackshear had been considering remaining with the Hokies. But he also reportedly visited Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas.

He wound up picking a school that is less than two hours from his home in Orlando, Florida.

Buzz Williams stepped down as Tech's coach in early April to take the reins at Texas A&M.

Blackshear thanked Williams in his Instagram announcement Wednesday night.

"I want to thank coach Buzz and the amazing staff over these past four years. This team has become my family and I am so thankful for it," he wrote. "I also want to thank my Blacksburg family for taking a young kid from Orlando and showing him what home is. I am so fortunate to have stepped onto the Cassell Coliseum floor [and] walk away from Blacksburg as a graduate of Virginia Tech.

"My next chapter will begin in Gainesville, Florida."

Blackshear announced on April 16 that he had entered both the transfer portal and the NBA Draft. On May 29, he announced his withdrawal from the draft but said he was “still evaluating my options for my last year of eligibility.” He told The Roanoke Times at that time that he was still considering Virginia Tech.

Tech coach Mike Young, who was hired in early April, made three visits to Florida to see Blackshear and his family.

"We thank Kerry for his many contributions to the Virginia Tech basketball program," Young said in a statement Thursday morning. "We wish Kerry nothing but the best in the future. He is an outstanding young man who embodied the term student-athlete."

The 6-foot-10 Blackshear averaged 14.9 points and 7.5 rebounds last season, when he also dished out 83 assists. He became the centerpiece of the Hokies' offense after Justin Robinson suffered a foot injury on Jan. 30; the injury sidelined Robinson until the NCAAs.

Blackshear completed work on his bachelor's degree in public relations last December. He then began work on his master's degree, taking graduate courses in leadership during the spring semester.

As a graduate transfer, Blackshear will be able to play for his new team in the 2019-20 season and won't have to sit out the year.

Florida won 20 games and lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season. The addition of Blackshear should make Florida a top-10 team in the preseason polls.

Blackshear's decision is a severe blow to Tech, which has now lost the top five scorers from last season's team.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker opted to skip his final two college seasons and was chosen in the first round of the NBA Draft last week. Justin Robinson, Ahmed Hill and Ty Outlaw were seniors last season.

Tech would have had a much better shot at a winning season in 2019-20 if Blackshear had stayed.

Blackshear becomes the third Tech men's basketball player to transfer to Florida in recent years. Current Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith transferred there after Seth Greenberg was fired as Tech's coach in 2012. Jalen Hudson transferred there in 2016, after Williams' second season at Tech. Finney-Smith left Tech after his freshman year, while Hudson left after his sophomore year.

Mark Berman covers Virginia Tech men’s basketball and many other teams at the university. He also helps cover other colleges, including Radford, VMI, Roanoke, Washington and Lee and Ferrum.

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