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Virginia Men's Basketball

Examining Virginia’s Recent Scholarship Offers

Reed Sheppard

(Les Nicholson Photo)

After a long dry spell during the dead period, scholarship offers have suddenly started flowing.  Virginia has extended four new offers this week, and a total of six over the last month.  All are results of live period evaluations. There will be more to come too. They’ll be back out this weekend. 

Let’s look at who’ve they’ve offered so far, how it went down, and where their recruitments stand.

Summer 2022 Offers

Leon Bond

6’5 SF Wauwatosa East (WI)   JH1 Elite (Independent) 

What he brings…Elite athleticism on the wing.  He’s long, agile, and plays with a great motor.  All the tools to be a multi-positional lockdown defender.  It’s his improving skill level that’s made him one of the summer’s biggest stock climbers.  Continuing to improve his shooting will be the key to becoming a great college player.  

How we got here….Bond was offered last week following the first AAU live period, which was the first opportunity for coaches to see him play in-person.  Obviously Tony Bennett has his contacts in Wisconsin.  Leon was on the radar from the start.  He consistently mentioned UVA interest even early on when only mid-majors were offering.  His recruitment blew up in Spring with strong AAU showings. 

Where things stand….If coaches had been allowed out in April as usual, this one would probably already be over.  He’s taken official visits to UVA, Cincinnati, and Marquette in June.   A decision is coming within the next few weeks.   He’ll be at the Grassroots Summer Championships in Orlando this weekend.  

Brice Sensabaugh

6’6 SF Lake Highland (FL)  Each 1 Teach 1 (Nike)

What he brings….Highly skilled and offensively aggressive.  He’s a big guard too, make no mistake about that.   Capable of scoring at all-three levels, a true bucket getter.  He’s been  one of the best scorers at Peach Jam, providing instant offense off the bench for E1T1. 

How we got here….Sensabaugh was offered on Tuesday after UVA coaches attended at least four of his games last weekend, including Bennett twice.  It didn’t start there though.  Bennett and Williford saw him in Georgia back during the June scholastic live period.  That’s when his recruitment took off.  He has 18 high major offers now, all coming in the last month.  

Where things stand….He’s moving right along. Brice will announce a top five next Friday Expect UVA to make that list and be a strong contender. Leon Bond’s upcoming decision will factor into this, but they’re positioned well here.  He’s already taken unofficial visits to Florida and Vanderbilt. Georgia Tech, Stanford, and Indiana are among his many offers. Bennett will see him again this weekend at Peach Jam.  

Malik Reneau

6’9 PF Montverde (FL)  Nightrydas (Nike)

What he brings….Great combination of skill and athleticism.  He’s been one of the very best players at Peach Jam, averaging over 20 points and 8 rebounds last week.   A smooth interior post player who will also occasionally step out and knock down three-pointers.  He’s agile and offers some rim protection too.  An elite talent that’s still underrated despite already being well-known.  

How we got here…There wasn’t much sign of involvement until this past weekend.  Virginia coaches were regularly in attendance for his games at Peach Jam.  He announced his offer on Wednesday after a “great zoom meeting”.  

Where things stand…Unlike Sensabaugh, he has programs that have been invested for a long time. He’s already taken a couple official visits in June to Miami and Memphis.  This will be a little harder recruitment to crash, but still very realistic.  Indiana just offered as well.  I expect there are still more on the way.  UVA coaches will see more of him this weekend in Augusta. 

Quick 2022 Overview

UVA is recruiting players for three slots to go along with committed guard Isaac McKneely.  That doesn’t mean they’re determined to fill all three, just that they’re open to it.  

Wing: Leon Bond and Brice Sensabaugh fit in here.  As does Swedish wing Bobi Klintman, who plans to take visits in the Fall. 

Skilled forward: Isaac Traudt is the only current target

Athletic forward: They’ve been browsing for a while, but Malik Reneau is the first to receive an offer.  

Early 2023 Offers

Justin Edwards

6’7 wing  Imhotep (PA) Team Final (Nike)

What he brings…A jumbo guard playing on the wing, who can also slide down for some small-ball power forward action.   He’s a walking mismatch.  A three-level scorer with all the tools to be great defensively too.  

How we got here…He was the first member of the 2023 class to receive an offer from Virginia.  It was a no-brainer.  Bennett was courtside in Philadelphia during the June scholastic period to see him drop 26 points playing against a couple five-star rated players.  He had his offer the next day.  

Where things stand….As with nearly all these 2023 recruits, it’s way too early to weigh in on where their recruitments might go.  That really doesn’t even start until September.  Based on the attention he received last week, UVA will be heavily involved.  They’ll see him again this weekend at Peach Jam.  

Caleb Foster

6’4 PG Oak Hill (VA)  Team Curry (UAA)

What he brings…A cool always under control floor general who can create his own shot at any time.  He’s ranked in the top 10 for a reason.  His combination of size, feel, and above average athleticism make for an easy to identify elite prospect.  

How we got here…He visited in June and they’ve been all over him during the July live periods.  Officially offered on Tuesday after Tony Bennett watched him score 30 in a game over the weekend.

Where things stand…Virginian will be heavily involved in his recruitment, no doubt about that.  So will Louisville.  Duke is lurking out there.  They’ll probably join in eventually.  It’ll be a high profile battle for a cream of the crop talent.  He’s a good fit for UVA and they have a rare golden opportunity for a point guard.  If there was ever a time and player to go for it with, this is it.   He’ll be in Indianapolis this weekend, as will Bennett.  

Reed Sheppard

6’3 SG North Laurel (KY)  Midwest Basketball Club (Adidas)

What he brings…A do-it-all guard.  You can call him a point guard or a combo.  Bottom line, he’s just a terrific basketball player that does a lot of things well on the court.  Playing up an age division against top competition, he’s continued to stuff the stat sheet and lead his team to wins.  

How we got here…There was never any doubt that Tony Bennett would go full throttle for Reed.  First day out in June, Bennett and Getter were courtside for his scholastic event in Kentucky.  They’ve continued to shadow him through July.  He was offered on Wednesday.  

Where things stand…This is the one 2023 recruitment that isn’t hard to predict. Everyone will be shocked if he ends up anywhere other than UVA or Kentucky.  John Calipari is coming hard for him and there’s a ton of pressure from UK fans to keep him home. At the same time, if you were to draw up the perfect guard for Tony Bennett on and off the court, Reed Sheppard is pretty close.  He’ll also be in Indianapolis this weekend, as will surely Bennett.

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