June 15th is always an exciting date for rising juniors. It marks the first time college oaches are allowed to contact them directly. As the day came and went on Monday, reports flooded in of Virginia coaches reaching out to potential targets. Over 50 in total. You can scroll through all the names listed in our forum thread. The task between now and Fall is to figure out which ones to actually recruit.
Virginia will lose Kihei Clark and Kody Stattmann in 2022. So guards are naturally the focus. But without clarity on what the class of 2021 will look like, they have to prepare for all possibilities. That’s probably why there are so many more names than normal. I’ve chosen 15 to highlight, where there was evidence of Virginia involvement prior to this week.
Caleb Houstan 6’8 SF out of Montverde (FL)
Houstan is the only member of the 2022 class with a Virginia offer. However, it’s very likely he’ll choose to reclassify into 2021. The sharpshooting Canadian has often been compared to Klay Thompson, who Tony Bennett coached at Washington State. While his college stay will probably be short, he could be a dream replacement for Sam Hauser. As you’d imagine, competition is stiff. North Carolina, Oregon, Texas Tech are among the others involved in what will surely be a growing list. He did receive a call from Coach Bennett on Monday.
Isaac McKneely 6’4 SG out of Poca (WV)
Of all the potential recruits in 2022, there might be the most smoke around McKneely. Coaches have been to see him, and he visited twice this past season. The obvious comparison is to Kyle Guy. He’s a sniper with a quick release who can play some point if needed. Bennett loves guards that can fill multiple roles. With potentially only two scholarships open, that becomes even more appealing. West Virginia, Indiana, and Xavier seem to have the heaviest involvement at this early stage.
“It was a really good conversation. He was telling me how much I meant to him, and that they’re going to recruit me hard. My thoughts on UVA so far are great. I really love what they have to offer, and it’s a really good school. They fit my playing style, and I like the coaching staff.” -Issac McKneely on his Monday night talk with Tony Bennett.
Tyler Nickel 6’7 SF out of East Rockingham (VA)
The Shenandoah Valley bucket-getter Is starting to gain national recognition. His 1,400+ career points are the most ever for a sophomore in VHSL history. Clemson and LSU jumped in this week to go along with earlier offers from Virginia Tech and Penn State. A long list of others inquired including North Carolina. His three-level scoring ability and combo forward size make him a valuable commodity. He visited for the home opener back in November, and Coach Williford saw him play during the season. Bennett and Williford both reached out to him on Monday.
“It’s awesome to be recruited by such a successful and high-class program. I’m excited for what the future holds”-Tyler Nickel on UVA
Devin Dinkins 5’10 PG out of Gonzaga (DC)
One of the rising stars in the WCAC, Devin hasn’t gotten much love on the national scene yet. He does have the attention of the Virginia coaching staff though. Williford is a steady presence at Gonzaga, and Bennett has seen his share of those league games while recruiting Trevor Keels. Devin visited for the Duke game in February. He got a call from Coach Bennett on Monday, and heard from Williford as well. Georgetown and Penn State highlight his early offers. The Hoyas in particular seem to be coming after him strong.
“I like the program and the coaching staff and I can see myself playing for them” -Devin Dinkins on UVA
Noah Batchelor 6’7 SF out of Glenelg Country (MD)
A big time shot maker who can defend three positions on the court, Noah is destined to be a priority recruit for many power conference programs. He’s up to 10 high major offers after this week. Maryland has already done quite a bit of work to position themselves. Virginia coaches identified him last summer, and quickly established a relationship. He visited in September for a football weekend. Assistants have been to his practices and games in the time since. Coach Bennett and Williford talked with him on Monday.
“My thoughts about UVA are that it’s a great school. i took a visit there already. great school with a good coaching staff.” -Noah Batchelor
Alphonzo Billups 6’6 SG out of Varina (VA)
Billups visited UVA for the Duke game in late February. He didn’t have a Division-1 offer at the time. VCU got the ball rolling in April. Clemson, Texas A&M, and Ole Miss have since joined in. Already productive and oozing potential, his recruitment could easily explode when coaches finally have a chance to lay eyes on him in-person. Some experts believe he could end up the best of a loaded class in the Commonwealth.
Justin Taylor 6’5 SG out of St. Anne’s-Belfield (VA)
The local product’s profile blew up over the winter when national scouts discovered him. This week, his recruitment caught up a little. He picked up offers from Maryland, VA Tech, NC State, and Marquette. The UVA coaching staff is very familiar with him. Bennett and Williford have regularly attended STAB games over the last two years, since their sons were in the program. Justin visited for the November game against JMU.. There are a lot of favorable relationships if Bennett decides to pursue.
Dug McDaniel 5’10 PG out of Paul VI (VA)
The speedy playmaker burst onto the scene as a freshman when forced into action by Duke signee Jeremy Roach’s injury. So he’s been talked about for a while already. Tony Bennett has seen him play countless times between the summer and his trips to PVI for Trevor Keels. UConn, Vanderbilt, and several others have offered. The list will quickly balloon. Should UVA decide to go for a pure point guard, he’s a strong candidate for an early offer.
Tre Holloman 6’2 PG out of Cretin Derham Hall (MN)
Could Virginia’s next point guard come from Minnesota? Assistant coach Orlando Vandross has done some early work hoping to make that possible. He made a trip up there to see Tre over exam break, laying the groundwork that he continued with a Monday call. Most of the Big Ten has their eye on him. Michigan State headlines his early offers.
“He talked about leaving home for college, and how I would feel about UVA.” -Tre Holloman on his talk with Orlando Vandross.
Gradey Dick 6’6 SG out of Sunrise Christian (KS)
He got a call from Tony Bennett on Monday, and has mentioned UVA interest in the past. They’ve seen him over the summer with his AAU team and at USA Basketball events. A skilled shooter with size to defend multiple positions, he fits into that Joe Harris mold that Bennett loves. He already has a long offer list including Kansas, Purdue, and Texas Tech. With likely sanctions headed the Jayhwaks way, there might never be a better time to target an elite recruit from their backyard.
Jaden Bradley 6’3 PG out of IMG Academy (FL)
Bradley is a potential one-and-done prospect. His recruitment will be a blue blood affair. He recently announced that he’ll transfer from The Cannon School near Charlotte to basketball factory IMG Academy. Virginia has had their eye on him a while though. He’s played at a lot of the same events as Carson McCorkle so they couldn’t help but notice. Time will tell if they decide to join the already 20+ high majors to offer.
Colin Smith 6’7 SF out of St. Mark’s (TX)
Monday was the first mention of Virginia interest in Colin, but they’ve seen him before. Coach Vandross stopped by his practice during the season when UVA was trying to get involved with 2021 teammate Harrison Ingram. Smith is a skilled wing with the added value of small-ball-4 size. For now, it sounds like Virginia is just building the relationship, but he could become a serious target in the months ahead. His offer list is already impressive featuring Kansas, UCLA, and Texas Tech.
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“I think it’s a great program that’s a proven winner and force to be reckoned with in the ACC every year. Excited to get to know the school and staff to figure out if there is a fit.” -Colin Smith after his Monday talk with Director of Recruiting Kyle Getter.
Davis Molnar 6’6 SF out of Terry Sanford (NC)
If you’re looking for the hidden gem on this list, Davis could be your man. He’s a unique player with forward size and a point guards’s game. The heady coach’s son is way under the radar nationally. Campbell became the first division-1 program to offer this week. But there are big boys lurking. Butler and NC State have also expressed interest. He visited UVA back in January, and received a call from Coach Getter on Monday. Watch the tape. It won’t take long to understand the intrigue.
“The main thing that I have noticed is that he isn’t trying to force anything on to me and he is simply just trying to get to know me. .I really enjoy it because when we talk it seems like I’m just talking to a friend” -Davis Molnar on his conversations with Director of Recruiting Kyle Getter.
Rodney Rice 6’4 PG out of DeMatha (MD)
Rice recently announced his transfer from Bullis (MD) to WCAC powerhouse DeMatha. Virginia coaches have seen him play many times over the summer, including Bennett personally. He’s an AAU teammate of 2021 target Jalen Warley. Williford has visited him at Bullis in the past. Over a dozen high majors have already thrown their hat in the ring. Louisville and Maryland notably.
Maliq Brown 6’8 PF out of Blue Ridge (VA)
There were no reports of Virginia reaching out to Brown, but I can assure you they are interested. A former star wide receiver on the football team, he’s a dynamic athlete that’s only starting to scratch his surface on the hardwood. There’s Akil Mitchell type potential here. And that’s something Bennett may very well be looking for in 2022. Georgetown, VA Tech, and Wake Forest are among his early suitors.