Christian Bliss Commits To Virginia
Tony Bennett has landed his future floor general. Virginia received a commitment from Christian Bliss on Friday. The 6’4” George School (PA) point guard chose the Wahoos out of a final four that also included Miami, Villanova, and Xavier. He’s currently ranked as the 117th overall player in the 2024 class, according to the On3 industry average.
Christian Bliss's Recruitment
Christian Bliss wasn’t a well known recruit until this past winter when he made a name for himself with some big performances in high-profile settings. His first high-major scholarship offer came in December, from Xavier. The Virginia staff started taking notice around that time, led by assistant coach Orlando Vandross.
Virginia hosted Bliss on an unofficial visit in February for their win over Duke. Despite not having a scholarship offer then, it was clear that he would be an important recruit. Once Tony Bennett got a chance to evaluate him during the AAU live periods in April, he immediately became their top target at point guard.
He named his four finalists in early June, followed by recent official visits to Xavier and Virginia. Most observers still believed Villanova was the favorite. They had prioritized him since offering over the winter, and hosted him for an official visit in April. But in the end, I think Xavier turned out to be the main competition.
Since his official visit, all signs were pointing toward Virginia. There was some late drama though. Bennett really wanted clarity at point guard ahead of next week’s crucial AAU live period. The plan was for Harvard Westlake (CA) point guard Trent Perry to visit this weekend, if Bliss hadn’t committed. That might have sped up the decision a bit.
What Christian Bliss Brings To Virginia
Christian Bliss is tailor-made to play point guard for Tony Bennett. He is a pure floor general, always under control playing at his own pace. His style will remind fans of London Perrantes. He’s just a very cerebral player with an elite feel for the game.
Bliss had a great spring of AAU for the PSA Cardinals in the Nike EYBL. He averaged just under 10 points per game and over five assists, with an almost 3-to-1 ratio of assists to turnovers. His three-point shooting has been good too, 39% in spring AAU and 43% during the high school season.
He’s not a great athlete, but he’s very adept at taking advantage of his size on both ends of the floor. A bit like Ty Jerome in that way. There’s some funkiness to his game. He’s crafty and will often make plays that look unorthodox.
Virginia has a really good player coming who fits their style perfectly. He was the guy Tony Benneett clearly wanted most at what was considered their most urgent position of need. We don’t actually know yet what class Bliss will officially be a part of though. He could potentially reclassify and enroll this fall, in which case he would likely spend the season as a redshirt.
Virginia's Recruiting Going Forward
With Christian Bliss on board, Virginia has 10 projected scholarship players for the 2024-25 season. They’ll try to add a couple more before November’s early signing period.
It’s a short list of serious recruits for UVA in the 2024 class, only two right now. However, next weekend is the biggest live evaluation period of the year. There’s probably a shake-up and almost certainly new scholarship offers coming.
St. Rose (NJ) forward Matthew Hodge was offered a scholarship on Thursday after Tony Bennett watched him play last weekend. He’s a popular guy now with offers from Alabama and Villanova also coming this week. The plan, as with most recruits at this point, is to take visits and decide in the fall. It’s worth noting that he and new Wahoo commit Christian Bliss play on the same AAU team. That can’t hurt.
The next few weeks should be interesting with Wisconsin Lutheran wing Kon Knueppel. Schools like Duke and Gonzaga are sniffing around. We’ll see who’s joining the race soon. Kon was a standout this week at Top 100 Camp in Orlando, with Tony Bennett on hand to watch. It’ll probably be a bumpy ride from here to the finish line around September, but UVA will be in it all the way.
And a big new offer went out this week in the class of 2025 to St. Anne’s Belfield (VA) point guard Chance Mallory. He’s been phenomenal in AAU this spring and with his high school team in June. UVA intends to recruit him hard. Bliss’s commitment will not slow their pursuit at all. Those two would fit together well in a future backcourt.
Virginia has put together an impressive collection of young players. And this might be the most important addition of them all. Without great point guard play, there’s a limit to how far a team can go in college basketball. Christian Bliss has a chance to be special at Virginia because of the way he fits the style of play and his ability to make those talented pieces around him even better.
It’s a fun time of year on the recruiting front. We’ll have it covered as always on Locker Room Access. Consider becoming a VIP member to receive Intel Reports with all the latest scoop on UVA Basketball and recruiting.
(Featured Image Credit: George School)