it’s been a hectic last couple weeks of recruiting. Coaches just wrapped up back to back weekends on the road. The big man UVA has set their sights on is narrowing in on a decision. A new scholarship offer went out this week, and there could be another on the way soon.
June Warm Up
Coaches have been out on the road the last two weekends for scholastic live evaluation periods, in which players compete with their high school teams. These weekends are still a new idea, and a work in progress. Not everyone participates, and it takes lots of travel to see a few players. But it’s served as a nice warmup for the July AAU weekends. Coaches get a head start on evaluating some of the players on their list.
UVA coaches have been on hand to see every recruit in the 2023 class with a scholarship offer that participated. Some more than others, but all of them at least once.
The two that received an extra dose of attention were Worcester (MA) forward TJ Power and Bishop Ireton (VA) guard Jamie Kaiser. Either Bennett or Coach Vandross were in New England for every one of Power’s games over the last two weeks. And Bennett or Williford were posted at DeMatha for all of Kaiser’s.
Lake City (ID) big man Blake Buchanan named a Top Two this week, Virginia and Gonzaga. The Zags just offered, although they’ve been involved for some time. He had drawn a lot of new interest, but will move forward now with the two schools that we’ve pretty well known it would always come down to.
It’s an interesting contrast in choices for him. Virginia has made him a very clear priority recruit, the only big man in the class they’ve offered. Coach Bennett was courtside for his games in April, quickly followed by a scholarship offer and an official visit to Charlottesville the next weekend.
Meanwhile, Gonzaga is practically the hometown team. He lives just across the Idaho border, only 30 miles or so from Spokane. They’ve moved slower with him, but obviously there’s a long relationship and familiarity in place. He did recently visit Gonzaga as well.
There’s no timetable set for a decision, but it’ll likely come over the next couple weeks.
Tony Bennett spent most of last weekend at the New England Prep Showcase to see and be seen by TJ Power. He found another recruit he likes there as well. South Kent (CT) point guard Elmarko Jackson was a standout at that event. He’s been piling up scholarship offers all week. On Thursday, Virginia threw their hat in the ring.
UVA coaches have seen Jackson play several times before, including by Bennett in April. They were looking at him as far back as last summer. But his stock is really surging now with his play of late. It looks to be a wide open recruitment. Syracuse, Notre Dame, and Maryland have all been involved before the recent onslaught of newcomers. Tennessee and Pitt offered this week as well.
UVA coaches have been all over Hudson Catholic (NJ) guard Elijah Gertrude of late. Coach Williford was in Philadelphia for his games today. And actually, someone from UVA has been on hand for all of his games these last two weekends. He had planned to visit this week, but it looks like that’ll be pushed back for now. A scholarship offer seems to be coming his way soon.
His recruitment is regional right now. Rutgers, Seton Hall, and St. John’s are the major players. But that’s going to expand as more coaches get a chance to see him in the weeks ahead. UVA’s done a nice job identifying him a little ahead of the crowd, and already built a good relationship with him