Virginia Men's Basketball

Recruiting Rundown Aug 9th

It’s been a long dry summer already on the recruiting front. Class of 2021 prospects are announcing their commitments, 51 of 247Sports Top 100 are now off the board. Virginia fans are wondering when we’ll get our first. I don’t have the answer obviously. But I’ve noticed over the years that when we’re almost at our breaking point, the recruiting gods have a way of showing mercy. We’ll dig into which players that mercy could come in the form of soon. First the bad news of the day, because of course there is.

No Silver Medals in Recruiting

Westtown (PA) point guard Jalen Warley announced his commitment to Florida State this afternoon. He teased us with his IG post wearing a UVA shirt earlier in the week, but FSU had come to be the expected decision. I don’t blame him for trying to rustle up a little hype. The crystal ball mob stole his thunder as they so often do these days. Virginia was definitely close here, to what would have been the highest ranked recruit of the Bennett-era. They did everything right, chose a great target, pursued him as hard as possible. Unfortunately, there’s no reward for good effort or a close finish in this arena.

Best Bets on the Horizon

Ben Gregg is going to decide soon, over the next few weeks. The Clackamas (OR) forward has Virginia in his unofficial final three. What he doesn’t have, as far as I know, is an offer. That could change any day. It’s a curious situation. When was the last time a highly rated player told the world he’s about to commit, and there were no predictions? Maybe that’s coming, but all is quiet so far. And if Oregon or Arizona is preferable to UVA, why wait or care to get an offer? I believe there’s a good opportunity if Tony Bennett decides to pounce. The hard part would be letting go of Kaufman, and probably Reid.

Then again, maybe the land of Jack Salt produces our first commit. It had been a well-kept secret until recently that Virginia is involved with New Zealand guard Taine Murray. The 6’5 sharpshooter played this season with the Auckland Huskies of the pro league there, while refusing payment in order to maintain his college eligibility. He turned heads too, averaging 17 points per game against grown men, many former Division-1 standouts. He’s avoided any talk about his recruitment. I believe Virginia is the favorite, thanks in large part to Kirk Penney. Stanford is also pushing hard, and surely others. If I’m reading things right, it’s very much in UVA’s interest to get a verdict soon. So I expect that to happen. Taine is not mutually exclusive to Trevor Keels by the way.

Gurus Break From the Crowd

Rivals analyst Corey Evans is basically the Lebron of the business, king of pundits. In his Wednesday Leftovers column, he said Duke appears to be the leader for Paul VI (VA) guard Trevor Keels. Now, I don’t know if that’s exactly true. However, it’s a wake-up call to everyone in the echo chamber who had considered this a Villanova vs Virginia race. If it were that simple. there would probably be signs of an imminent decision. There are none. I think his primary concern is how he’ll be utilized. Everyone is making their pitches, likely with mounting promises sprinkled in. That’s how recruiting is at his level. To be clear, UVA still feels like they’re very much in this.

Top forward target Trey Kaufman is having a stock rising summer in limited AAU action. He’s truly been dominant, including against some very good competition this weekend. In the Rivals Roundtable, analyst Eric Bossi hinted that he’s more open to leaving Indiana than people believe. That’s good news considering Virginia is the most likely destination outside his home state. I just know Archie Miller can’t feel that good about this recruitment still being open. Not all the Hoosier chips are on Trey either. They’re also believed to be the favorite for forward Mason Miller, and aren’t getting both. Trey said yesterday that he’ll start moving toward a decision if Fall visits are ruled out, which they almost certainly will be.


Still Zooming

According to a report from Stockrisers.com, Virginia coaches held a virtual meeting with West Nassau (FL) guard Dallan “Deebo” Coleman on Thursday. There had been reports of UVA interest dating back to April. It seems that’s picking up now, partly in response to Warley getting away. He’ll be very hard to get should they choose to offer. Immediate playing time is important and in short supply here. Texas Tech and Auburn recently offered. Hometown Memphis and Georgia Tech have been heavily involved.

It’s wild to already be thinking about replacing Kihei Clark, but he will be moving on in 2022. Bennett is eyeing potential point guard candidates in that class. One of which is Austin Nunez out of Wagner High School in San Antonio. They did the Zoom thing with him this week as well. The smooth lefty has dazzled in dead period AAU events, leading to an uptick in his budding recruitment. UVA has yet to make an offer in the class of 2022. The time is soon approaching.

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