Tyler Nickel going back to home state, transferring to Virginia Tech

By R.L. Bynum

Tyler Nickel is going home to Virginia.

The 6–7, 220-pound wing who got limited playing time in his freshman season at North Carolina, is transferring to Virginia Tech. He got a season-high 25 minutes, scoring eight points, in the Tar Heels’ 80–72 Dec. 4 loss in Blacksburg, Va., to the Hokies.

Nickel committed to Carolina in September of his senior year in high school three days after making his official visit after also considering the Hokies. He already knew Coach Mike Young well.

“I chose [Virginia Tech] because I believe it’s a great situation for me individually as well as being part of a team that can win a lot of games,” Nickel told On3.com. “I also have built a really good relationship with Coach Young and the whole staff.”

Nickel is from Harrisonburg, Va., which is 139 miles away from Blacksburg. The former four-star recruit is the all-time leading scorer in Virginia high school history with 2,909 points. He also collected 817 rebounds, 333 assists, 127 blocks and 159 steals in his high school career.

He is the first of the six UNC players who entered the transfer portal to commit to another school. Also in the portal are Caleb Love, Dontrez Styes, Justin McKoy, Puff Johnson and Will Shaver.

In 150 minutes over 25 games as a Tar Heel, he scored 52 points and six 3-pointers with 16 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and three blocks. His shortcomings on defense appeared to be one reason that Coach Hubert Davis didn’t give him more playing time.

Nickel scored in double figures only once, when he netted 16 points in 19 minutes in a 100–76 win Dec. 13 over The Citadel. He only played double-digit minutes two other times in an ACC game other than the Virginia Tech game, playing 12 minutes at Syracuse and 10 at Wake Forest, scoring three in both games.

The Hokies lose Justyn Mutts off of last season’s team.

UNC roster

Here is a rundown of the Tar Heels’ scholarship players from the just-completed season, with their class should they return next season listed. UNC has three available scholarships.

No.ClassPlayerPos.HgtWgt
Returnees
4Sr.RJ DavisPG6–0175
0Soph.Seth TrimblePG6–3192
13Soph.Jalen Washington46–10225
55th yearArmando Bacot56–11235
Incoming transfers
5th yearCormac Ryan (Notre Dame)36–5195
5th yearPaxton Wojcik (Brown)36–5200
JuniorHarrison Ingram (Stanford)36–7230
SeniorJae’Lyn Withers (Louisville)46–9220
ESPN rankIncoming freshmen
10 (Class
of 2024)
Elliot Cadeau (5 star)PG6–0175
64 (Class
of 2023
Zayden High (4 star)46–9225
Eligibility over
Leaky Black36–9205
Pete Nance46–11230
Outgoing transfers
Caleb Love (Arizona)26–4200
Dontrez Styles (Georgetown)46–6210
Tyler Nickel (Va. Tech)36–7220
Justin McKoy (Hawaii)46–8220
Puff Johnson (Penn State)36–8200
Will Shaver (UAB)56–10260
In transfer portal
D’Marco Dunn36–5190
ESPN rank2024–25 freshman class
5Ian Jackson (5 star)26–5180
37Drake Powell (4 star)36–5185
48James Brown (4 star)56–9225
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