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Virginia Men's Basketball

Summer Standouts, 2022 Dream Class, and More

The mailbag is back. Loaded with fan questions about Virginia’s recruiting, summer practices, lineups combinations, and more.

What have you heard from summer practice, who has made a leap? @KeepingUpWithG8

That’s not really my beat, but there’s always a little gossip that escapes from summer practices. Armaan Franklin and Kadin Shedrick are the two I’ve heard good things about.

Franklin, a transfer junior guard from Indiana, will be counted on for scoring punch. It sounds like he’s living up to expectations and some. Redshirt Sophomore forward Kadin Shedrick is back healthy after missing most of last season. He’s primed for a big role.

How will Trey Murphy’s success (or knock on wood… lack thereof) affect recruiting and UVA as a whole in the longer and shorter term futures? @br_dsgns

First off, this question comes from our guy Ben who does fantastic graphic design work for us. He designed my logo and all the commitment edits you’ve seen posted on the Hooz Got Next accounts. If you’re in need of similar work, hit him up. Highly recommended.

Absolutely, Trey’s success is beneficial to UVA’s recruiting. Every recruit hopes to someday be where he is now. It’s another example for the coaching staff to highlight. Just as importantly, it fits a pattern. There’s a long line of guys in the league now who played under Tony Bennett. And most of them weren’t thought of as NBA prospects entering college. That’s not lost on people around the game.

Are we still holding onto a backcourt of Clark and Beekman? Is there a plan B? @Systrong

Kihei Clark and Reece Beekman are returning starters. It’s very likely they’ll both play heavy minutes again this season. I know that’s a sore spot for some fans, but I wouldn’t expect a major overhaul.

It’s possible they won’t be on the court together as much, all depending on how other guards perform. The projected A-lineup would include those two and Armaan Franklin as the three guards. If Carson McCorkle or freshman Taine Murray play well, they’ll get on the court more and we’ll see less of the two PGs together. Bennett is no different than any other coach. He’ll play the lineup that gives him the best chance to win.

Will any player from last year’s team ever use their extra free year of eligibility? @husseymfhussey

Due to covid, last season didn’t count against anyone’s four years of NCAA eligibility. There will be a bunch of super seniors around college basketball, guys that are playing for their fifth season. It’s a bit of a controversial rule. Between that and immediate eligibility for transfers, planning ahead for recruiting is a nearly impossible task.

Players won’t make any final decisions on whether to use their extra season until after their senior year. Yeah, it’ll happen eventually. Carson McCorkle almost certainly would have redshirted last season if not for the free year. Chances are, he’ll be a future super senior. As our VIP subscribers know, Kihei Clark is seriously considering the option. It could be a possibility for Jayden Gardner too.

How many Hoos gonna shoot over 40% from deep this season (min 2 attempts / game)? @DanEpstein140

40% is a lofty mark. I’ll be bullish and go with two. Armaan Franklin is the safest bet. He did it last season at Indiana. No reason he can’t repeat that. I expect either Taine Murray or Carson McCorkle will pull it off too. There’s a good opportunity for at least one of those guys to carve out a sizeable role. They’re both definitely capable of topping 40%.

Do you recruit with the transfer market in mind or do you recruit as needed and then fall back on the transfer market for any skillset fill-ins that become apparent over the season or early departures? @Hooandtrue

Everybody is taking different approaches. UVA’s seems to be a little of yes to all the above. They’re making an effort to limit roster size. That’s partly to avoid losing transfers, but it’s also about attracting them. They’ll always have room available. And that way any departure leaves a clear open opportunity.

I think there are two types of high-end transfer recruits. The first variety is someone like Sam Hauser who they’ll get because of a previous relationship. All you need for him is an open scholarship. With the new rules, you always want space for a Hauser to fall in your lap. The two guys they picked up this year, Gardner and Franklin, are the second type. For them, you need a clear open role that they fit into.

If you had to guess, when do we land the next 5 star? Yes, this is a sneaky loaded question. @zanchema

It’s a sneaky question because it involves predicting which recruits end up labeled as 5-stars by the various websites. Top 2022 target Isaac Traudt has a shot. He’s ranked way too low. I expect that will change with updates coming soon. He’s definitely a 5-star in the eyes of the Virginia coaching staff. I’m guessing he’ll fall just outside that range on Rivals, 247, etc.

I do believe they’ll get one in the 2023 class. Reed Sheppard being the most likely candidate. He’s not ranked there yet either, but should eventually. They’ll probably be seriously involved with several that qualify.

How high of a recruiting priority is the pg position? Seems like a big need with Kihei graduating but haven’t heard much buzz lately on that front. Are we still in on Nunez? @darealmikehella

UVA originally intended to add a point guard in the 2022 class, with Wagner (TX) floor general Austin Nunez among the early targets. That plan obviously changed. It became clear when coaches went out this summer. There wasn’t much activity involving 2022 point guards, and lots of it at that position in the 2023 class.

They aren’t involved with Nunez or any other 2022 PG now. As I mentioned above, there’s a possibility that Kihei Clark returns for a fifth year. That was enough to decide on waiting until 2023. it’s better to offer a golden opportunity a year later than a clouded picture now.

With the two commitments on board for 2022, what 1-2 prospects would make this a dream class for CTB? also odds on a Foster/Sheppard backcourt coming out of 2023 class? @allen_bridge

With Isaac McKneely and Leon Bond on board in UVA’s 2022 class, they’re still trying to add two more. Isaac Traudt is obviously the top choice as he has been for some time. He alone would make it a big success. But they’re hoping for one of the recently offered guards as well, Brice Sensabaugh or Ryan Dunn. Getting Traudt and either of those two would complete the dream class for sure.

They’re setting their early sights high for 2023 guards. There’s talk that Caleb Foster might commit to Duke soon. We’ll see if that actually happens. Obviously, that makes the odds of landing both seem slim right now. I really believe they have a great chance with Reed Sheppard. Kentucky is seriously recruiting him. It won’t be easy. I think he and Bennett have a little something between them though.

On a scale of 1(-) to 10 (+) what is the outlook for pulling Dunn? Sensabaugh? @richan34

This is a tricky question because they’re intertwined. One excludes the other. Both recruitments are just starting too, although I doubt either lasts long. I’ll go with 7 for Dunn, 4 for Sensabaugh. I think Virginia is the team to beat for Dunn at the starting gate. It’s a more crowded field for Sensabaugh. Odds are they’ll get one.

How far into the Fall is the staff willing to wait for Traudt before looking at other options at that spot? @dturngotsole

All the way. It’s a little too early to rule out offering other players, but I don’t really expect them to. That’s something they’d need to do very soon to win competitive recruitments. Players are moving forward now with summer evaluations over. Coaches have had their chance to see them. Jumping in later is hard to pull off.

The transfer market provides a fallback option now. There’s no such thing as a must-fill spot during the early signing period anymore.

Have we ever seen as active a recruiter of other recruits as Isaac McKneely? He’s doing a great job out there. @bhc3

Yeah, Isaac has been a great recruiter. He’s especially been helpful with Traudt, but you see him reaching out to all these recruits on social media. It’s really cool. I’m glad fans continue to show appreciation for him. Recruits that commit early like he did miss out on a lot of the hype and media attention that goes along with a high profile recruiting process.

Only Kyle Guy could rival his effort. I think Kyle tried his hand with every recruit they went after in the 2016 class. He had the advantage over Isaac because Virginia offered more scholarships back then. His volume workload was higher. They’re both just genuine guys people are drawn to. Pretty good basketball players too.

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