Exam break is almost over. The Hoos will be back in action on Saturday against Fairleigh-Dickinson. As usual, coaches used the time to visit with recruits. The class of 2023 cycle is in full swing, and there’s some movement happening. One priority recruit is nearing a decision, a window of opportunity may be opening with another, and there’s a potential new target emerging.
On London’s Time
London Johnson, the only guard with a scholarship offer from Virginia, took a break from starring for Norcross (GA) to play for the Jamaican Under-17 national team at the FIBA Centrobasket Championship in Mexico. He dominated the competition there, averaging 36 points on his way to being named to the event’s All-Star team.
We’ve been in a waiting game for a while with Johnson. Shortly after his visit to UVA in October, there were reports that his college decision would soon follow. In recent weeks, he’s acknowledged it publicly in interviews. While there’s still no firm date set, he said he’d like to commit around Christmas. Assuming he goes through with that, Virginia looks to be the best bet.
Johnson is ranked as high as 17th overall in the 2023 class by Rivals. He could potentially fill Virginia’s most urgent recruiting need after they chose to pass on a point guard in the 2022 cycle.
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We haven’t talked that much about top 2023 forward target Gregory Jackson. The 5-star rated and likely one-and-done stud out of Ridge View (SC) has long been considered as leaning in North Carolina’s favor. But with Hubert Davis not yet having closed the deal as some expected, it’s given hope to others in the race.
Tony Bennett’s first stop of the recruiting period back in September was to visit with Jackson. The Virginia staff has continued to be heavily involved. He recently described UVA’s message in an interview with Rivals
“They won a title in 2019, so recently. They tell me that I remind them of De’Andre Hunter. Coach (Jason) Williford stays in contact with me and keeps me up to date when they are playing. Coach (Tony) Bennett told me, ‘If God has this as the place for me to be, then it is meant to be.‘
There seem to be four legitimate players for Jackson. North Carolina, Duke, Virginia, and hometown South Carolina. Duke in particular has cranked up involvement of late. While UVA is probably the dark horse in the race, there’s hope. Jackson is expected to visit Charlottesville at some point this winter.
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The most interesting recruiting activity of exam break was assistant coach Kyle Getter going to Oklahoma for 2023 shooting guard Parker Friedrichsen. It’s the second time Getter has been out there to see him. They’ve been searching for another recruit in that spot, especially since Reed Sheppard came off the board to Kentucky. Right now, Friedrichsen looks like the top candidate to become a serious target in the near future.
There are a lot of schools involved with Friedrichsen. He’s already visited Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, and a few others. If UVA wants to have a chance, they may need to move with urgency. He’s talked about the possibility of deciding by spring.
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2022 Recruits Shine
In case you’ve forgotten, Virginia has some pretty good players coming in next year. Two of them had memorable weekends.
Isaac Traudt took full advantage of the big stage, playing on ESPN in the Norm Stewart Classic in Missouri. He shined in both games against quality competition, showcasing his unique skillset and breaking Grand Island’s career scoring record along the way. It was the first time a lot of Virginia fans saw him play. He lived up to the hype.
On Friday night, Leon Bond led a comeback overtime win over crosstown rival Wauwatosa West. The athletic forward dropped 30 points in front of a raucous crowd. Coach Bennett admitted on his radio show that he planned to attend that game, but stormy weather canceled his trip. Assistant Kyle Getter was on hand, however.