It’s been a roller coaster of a late recruiting cycle for Virginia. Following the departure of three transfers, Tony Bennett went on to land four new recruits in a span of just over two weeks.
Jordan Minor got things started with his commitment on April 13th. The transfer big man from Merrimack has one year to play. Former St. Thomas guard Andrew Rohde was next. He’ll have three years left. Then, they added another one-year frontcourt transfer in former Oklahoma sharpshooter Jacob Groves. And finally, center Anthony Robinson became a late addition to the incoming 2023 class.
While Virginia may be done bringing in new players for next season, there are still questions to answer over the coming weeks. Both for the 2023-24 season, and in recruiting going forward.
Will Reece Return?
The most pressing question left for Virginia’s 2023-24 outlook is whether Reece Beekman will return for his senior season. The ACC Defensive Player of the Year entered his name into the NBA Draft while maintaining his college eligibility. He has until the May 31st withdrawal deadline to make a final decision.
Most recent mock drafts have Reece as a fringe draft pick, typically slotted in the late 2nd round. But the pre-draft process is just getting started. His stock can change quickly. He was spotted in Portland to work out for the Trailblazers last week. There are surely more of those workouts taking place. And he’s expected to participate in the NBA combine from May 16th through the 18th.
His decision will mostly be determined by the feedback he receives over the next few weeks. It legitimately could go either way, and we may very well need to wait until just before the deadline to get a verdict.
Assistant Coach Needed
Virginia has an opening on Bennett’s coaching staff to fill. Assistant coach Kyle Getter recently left to become the Associate Head Coach at Notre Dame. It’s a big loss for the Hoos. He was a valuable asset, particularly on the recruiting front.
Staff members have been pitching in to fill Getter’s shoes in recent weeks. Director of Player Personnel Johnny Carpenter was out recruiting during the recent evaluation period, as was graduate assistant Isaiah Wilkins.
There’s been very little in the way of rumors about who Bennett may be considering. Carpenter could be a candidate for promotion. He’s paid his dues, and is certainly qualified. But it would be understandable if they want an experienced recruiter to replace Getter since he was so involved with that.
The position should be filled fairly soon. With recruiting for the class of 2024 heating up, it’s pretty important to have a full team in place.
I believe the only potential late addition left for UVA would be a 2024 recruit who decides to reclassify. Seaforth (NC) forward Jarin Stevenson being the most likely candidate. He was in Charlottesville for an official visit in early April. They’ve been recruiting him for a long time now. He was the first player offered in the 2024 class last January.
Jarin has been open about the possibility that he could reclassify. His AAU performance this Spring will weigh into that decision, helping determine how ready he is to make the jump to college. So far, he hasn’t dominated in a way that suggests he would be an impact player in the ACC next year. But there are still AAU events to play. He’ll be in Texas this weekend with his Team United squad for the third EYBL session.
North Carolina is the main competition, of course. They’re turning up the heat lately. Hubert Davis did an in-home visit with him last week. What UVA has working in their favor is a more obvious path to the court. North Carolina added a couple multi-year transfers in the frontcourt this Spring, while UVA kept things clear for a 2024 forward by sticking with graduate transfers.
Things seem to be trending toward him staying in the 2024 class. At this point, it’s probably a decision of whether he’d be better served by another year of high school or spending what would amount to a prep year in college.
Point Guard Recruiting
Virginia is obviously in the market for a point guard as part of their 2024 class. But it’s a little unclear right now what their plan is, and who they’ll be after. Part of the issue goes back to the departure of Kyle Getter. He was the lead recruiter for both of the point guards they’ve offered in the class.
Lyon County (KY) guard Travis Perry was one of those players offered early. He has still mentioned potentially visiting Virginia. That was in the works for this Spring before the staff shakeup. We’ll see if it comes to fruition. Judging by the little attention he received during the live periods, the coaching staff doesn’t seem to be putting many eggs in that basket though.
We’re waiting on new offers to go out following the recent evaluation weekends. George School (PA) guard Christian Bliss seems pretty certain to receive one. Coach Bennett staked out his games the first weekend, and assistants during the second. He took an unofficial visit for the Duke game in February. Villanova would be the main competition. And Miami just offered.
There are other point guards they’ve looked at. Ty Davis from Mountain Brook (AL) is becoming a hot commodity. They could join that race. We should get answers soon about who they’ll be prioritizing going forward.
Who’s Going To Be First
With the Spring live periods over, we’re into the second phase of the 2024 recruiting cycle. It’s still early in a sense,, but it won’t be for much longer. Things start to intensify from here. And along with that, pressure builds to get a commitment on the board.
Most recruits will say they’ll decide in the Fall. But you’ll find many of those same recruits end up committing over the next two months. Specifically, before the start of the summer AAU live periods on July 6th. That’s a big landmark in the recruiting cycle. Coaches aggressively pursue commitments before then so they can spend July evaluating other recruits.
To stay on track, UVA needs to land a 2024 recruit in the next two months. Nine of Bennett’s fourteen recruiting classes have included a player who committed before the July live periods. And the years that didn’t happen became a very uphill battle.
Along with Jarin Stevenson, Paul VI (VA) wing Isaiah Abraham is one they’ll be pushing for. He’s been a frequent visitor. They’ve recruited him hard for some time. I think those are the two that appear to be the most likely candidates for an early commitment right now. But we’ll see what happens. Recruitments tend to get sped up as Summer nears
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