Virginia and Virginia Tech both figure to start top-shelf senior point guards next basketball season. The Cavaliers’ Jontel Evans is the ACC’s best returning on-the-ball defender, and the Hokies’ Erick Green is the conference’s No. 4 returning scorer.

Question is, who will take over those positions for the 2013-14 season?

At least one prospect rates high on both schools’ wish list: Rice transfer Dylan Ennis.

A 6-foot-2 graduate of Lake Forest Academy in suburban Chicago, Ennis just completed his freshman season at Rice. He started 27 of 35 games, averaged 8.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists, and made Conference USA’s all-freshman team. He scored 14 or more points nine times, including a season-high 21 against East Carolina.

Ennis told me Wednesday evening that he's narrowed his options to Virginia, Virginia Tech, Villanova, Cincinnati and Boston College. He said the only visits he's scheduled are Villanova this weekend and Cincinnati next.

Ennis plans to decide next month and enroll this summer "to get acclimated" to teammates, coaches and classes.

"I'm looking for a fast-paced, guard-dominated offense so I can go in there, run the offense and get it and go," Ennis said.

Leaving Rice, located in Houston, was a matter of wanting to be closer to his parents in Toronto and other family on the East Coast, Ennis added.

His high school coach, Matt Vaughn, believes Ennis also wants to test himself at a higher level than Conference USA.

Ennis averaged 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists as a high school senior, and according to his scholarship offers included George Mason, UNC Wilmington, Texas Christian, Creighton and Northern Iowa. 

“He just got better and better,” Vaughn said. "He can be a pure point guard when he wants to, but he can put points on the board, too. He goes right at you. Not a lot of flash as a ballhandler, but he knows where he wants to go and figures out how to get there.”

After committing to Rice, Ennis improved athletically and drew some interest from "high majors," according to Vaughn. But he still signed with Rice. 

Vaughn said the question of whether he could compete in a premier conference "kind of gnawed at (Ennis) a little bit. He loves basketball so much. It’s something he’ll regret if he doesn’t try.”

Does Vaughn see him at that level?

“Competitively, and basketball IQ-wise, yes," he said. "He’s probably still limited athletically, but he just knows how to play. Could he be all-conference or a star? I don’t know. I think he could have been at Rice.”

Ennis shooting percentages at Rice weren’t award-winning from any range: 43.5 overall, 35.4 from beyond the 3-point arc and 66.4 at the free-throw line.

Rice finished 19-16 this season, 8-8 in Conference USA. The Owls lost to Oakland in the quarterfinals of the tournament, a game in which Ennis contributed 14 points, five assists, five rebounds, three blocked shots and a steal.

Ennis’ older brother, Brandon, plays for the University of the District of Columbia. His younger brother, Tyler, is a class of 2013 point guard at St. Benedict’s in Newark, N.J., with scholarship offers from Virginia, Georgetown, Kansas, Georgia Tech and Arizona, among others.

Per NCAA transfer rules, Ennis will sit out next season, which meshes with the point guard succession at Virginia and Virginia Tech. Neither the Hokies nor Cavaliers have an heir apparent at the position.

Virginia’s backup to Evans next season likely will be freshman Teven Jones, who enrolled in January after graduating early from Fishburne Military School. Sophomore Marquis Rankin is the probable backup for Green (15.6 points per game) at Virginia Tech next season.