Just 10 days now from tipoff of a new season, recruiting starts to take its rightful backseat. The early signing period finishes this week. There’s one relevant class of 2021 holdout to monitor. Otherwise, the focus is going to turn toward the 2022 class soon where UVA has some catching up to do.
Early Signing Period
Class of 2021 guard Taine Murray, out of New Zealand, made things official this week by signing on the first day of the early period. He’ll spend this season as a developmental player with the New Zealand Breakers of the Australian NBL. Their season is tentatively scheduled to begin in January. Taine committed in September, choosing the Hoos over Maryland and Stanford. He is the only UVA commit in the class so far.
Virginia continues to be involved with Paul VI (VA) guard Trevor Keels. With four days left in the signing period, there’s no indication that a decision is coming. Although, I’m not sure there would be any indication. It’s somewhat odd for a player to name finalists in September, as Trevor did, and not yet have a verdict in time to sign early. Assuming it doesn’t happen this week, his recruitment could go on a while. It would effectively be a reset. As much as I know fans want a resolution, that’s probably the best case scenario for our side right now. Duke and Villanova are his other finalists.
While Keels is sort of a bonus recruit, there’s still a need for a forward in 2021. The players they pursued all have gone elsewhere, or are very unlikely in the case of Efton Reid. There should be a lot of names filtered through between now and Spring, when things really pick up again with the late cycle madness. The first came this week when the staff reached out to Estonian import Markus Ilver. The 6’8 forward spent last season at Massanutten Academy (VA) before transferring to Western Reserve (OH). Local scouts that are familiar expected his recruitment to explode with the exposure of summer AAU, which covid prevented. Wisconsin, Utah, and Xavier highlight his offers.
Setting the 2022 Table
With still no offers out to the junior class, we’re left reading tea leaves about which prospects might be top targets once things eventually get under way. Typically, we sort of judge by where the coaching staff spends their time. No such luck. About the only information we have to go on are the reports of virtual visits., and it’s safe to assume there have been more of those than are known. Here’s a quick rundown of the seven that have been reported.
Poca (WV) guard Isaac McKneely still has the most smoke around him of any potential target. He included the Hoos in his Top 8 released today. North Carolina and Kentucky were on there as well without yet offering. Stockrisers.com spoke with him about his list and timeline.
The point guard spot has a Texas flavor. All signs point to heavy involvement with Wagner (TX) floor general Austin Nunez. Texas and Baylor look like strong early contenders there. Noah Shelby out of The Greenhill School near Dallas came on the radar more recently. He’s had a big summer, collecting offers from the likes of Kansas and Arizona.
The staff is obviously very familiar with local product Justin Taylor. They’ve kept in touch and Zoomed with the the 6’6 sharpshooter. Thanks to Coach Bennett’s son Eli competing at the same events, he’s even been able to watch Justin play in-person twice in recent weeks. Indiana, Syracuse, and NC State are some his offers so far. Camden Heide, a wing out of Minnesota, has done a virtual visit as well. Purdue, Ohio State, Arizona, and the home-state Gophers are among his offers.
Grand Island (NE) forward Isaac Traudt caught their attention with his summer AAU play. His offer list has continued to balloon. Stanford, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, and Louisville are all involved now. The one true big man we know that’s done a virtual visit is Shelby’s high school teammate in Texas, Lee Dort. The Haitian is rated as a 5-star prospect. Texas, Memphis, and Vanderbilt are some his early offers.