Intel Report 5/11/23: 2024 Deep Dive
After a busy April of transfer recruiting for Virginia, it’s been quiet lately. Class of 2024 recruiting will continue to heat back up in the weeks ahead. I run through all the top targets, their Spring AAU performances, and where things stand in this edition of the Locker Room Access Intel Report.
All signs point to Virginia being done with late additions to next season’s roster. Thursday marks the deadline for non-graduates to enter the transfer portal. They do have at least one open scholarship. It’s not out of the question for them to still pursue someone. Most likely they’re finished though.
Blue Cain was the last player that UVA was hoping to get. The 2023 IMG Academy (FL) guard committed to Georgia early last week. While Bennett really wanted him, he was seen as a luxury after the signing of St. Thomas transfer guard Andrew Rohde.
The big question mark still surrounds whether Reece Beekman will return. He’ll participate in the NBA Combine next week in Chicago. It’ll all come down to the feedback he receives there. I still think the odds are slightly on the side of him staying in the draft, especially if he can improve his standing at the combine, but he has been more receptive lately to the idea of coming back.
The withdrawal deadline for the NBA Draft is at midnight on the 31st.
This is an aptly named quiet period on the recruiting calendar. Visits are allowed, and it’s possible there could be some of that. But everybody is just busy with other things in May. Most recruits are still in school, and there are AAU events on weekends. Meanwhile, Tony Bennett has been on the fundraising circuit. There’s also a dead period coming up from May 18th through the 26th, when the coaches usually take their vacations.
Things should pick up with visits from late May into the first half of June. After that, we get back to evaluation weekends on June 16th. Newcomers arrive around the same time, and summer workouts begin.
Feeling The Heat
Jarin Stevenson 6’10 PF Seaforth (NC) Team United (Nike) Ranked: 16
Lead Recruiter: Williford. Offered last Jan, official visit in April
Spring Stats: 11.6 points 4.4 rebounds 2.1 assists 47% FG 22% 3FG
UNC has given Jarin Stevenson what amounts to an ultimatum. In order to reclassify and attend UNC, he’ll need to enroll in June. That seems to have sped up his process. He took an official visit to Alabama over the weekend. If he does reclassify, those are likely the top two choices.
UNC had long been considered the favorite before making some Spring additions that crowded the roster. And Alabama is interesting to Jarin because they have a more clear path to the court this season, and a recent track record of success with one-and-done prospects.
His official visit to UVA in early April seems like a long time ago. In hindsight, that might prove to have been their window. They brought him in before the transfers so that he could have the opportunity to commit first. As Spring AAU played out though, he didn’t show the type of production that aligns with being ready to contribute in the ACC. .
The door isn’t closed at UVA, particularly if he decides to stay in the 2024 class. But even then, I’m not sure the coaching staff plans to devote any more in-person time once events start up again next month.
Over the last few days, the coaches have turned more attention toward identifying other 2024 forwards to follow up on next month. One to keep an eye on is William Jobe, a stretch-four sharpshooter out of the Atlanta area.
Christian Bliss 6’4 PG George School (PA) PSA Cardinals (Nike) Ranked: 111
Lead Recruiter: Vandross. Offered in May, unofficial visit in Feb.
Spring Stats: 9.9 points 3.9 rebounds 4.6 assists 41% FG 37% 3FG
As we expected, UVA offered a scholarship to George School (PA) point guard Christian Bliss on Monday. Tony Bennett was all over him during the first evaluation weekend. He’s clearly the top priority at point guard now.
He won’t be easy to get. Villanova has a head start. They’ve prioritized him for a while. He’s already taken his official visit there, his only one so far. It’s not insurmountable though. UVA needs to get him back for an official visit. There’s nothing set yet. Xavier and Miami are the other two contenders. He’s talking about visiting both of them.
It’s probably a 50/50 proposition whether he’ll commit before July. So there’s definitely some urgency, but also time for UVA to catch up.
First Official for Abraham
Isaiah Abraham 6’7 SF Paul VI (VA) Team Takeover (Nike) Ranked: 102
Lead Recruiter: Williford. Offered in August, multiple unofficial visits
Spring Stats: 7.8 points 2.1 rebounds 54% FG 25% 3FG
Paul VI (VA) wing Isaiah Abraham took his first official visit over the weekend to Marquette, his dad’s alma mater. They look like the top competition. Providence under new coach Kim English figures to be in there as well.
From what I’ve heard, UVA intends to make a push for Abraham over these next couple months. His Spring stats aren’t eye popping, but he impressed the coaching staff during the live periods. Our guy on the forum Hooandtrue likes to compare him to Braxton Key. That’s a good comp. He’s an athletic player that brings versatility on both ends of the floor.
The hope is to get him in for an official visit relatively soon. He’s been a regular at UVA for the last two years. I think the total is four unofficial visits, most recently for the Duke game in February. But things are a bit more serious now. They need to make the closing case. He’s shaping up as a very important recruit for Virginia, the only current 2024 target I would tentatively call them a favorite with. .
Don't Forget Kon
Kon Knueppel 6’6 SF Wisconsin Lutheran (WI) Phenom U (Nike) Ranked: 35
Lead Recruiter: Bennett Offered in Sept, official visit in Feb.
Spring Stats: 14.3 points 5.8 rebounds 3.5 assists 43% FG 46% 3FG
I don’t really have anything new to say about Kon Knueppel. Other than that he is in the group of four priority recruits with the three above. Bennett didn’t get to see him during the Spring live periods. The weekend Tony was there, Kon sat out with an illness. But the assistants tracked him the following weekend.
He’s probably the least likely of the group to wrap things up before July. UVA people believe Wisconsin will be hard to beat in the end. But we’re very much in the race, and it doesn’t seem to be nearing the finish line. Expect Bennett to stay on him all the way, maybe even no matter what happens with other recruits.
Jase Richardson 6’3 PG Bishop Gorman (NV) Paul George (Nike) Ranked: 46
Lead Recruiter: Williford. No offer, hasn’t visited
Spring Stats: 12.8 points 3.3 rebounds 4.6 assists 52% FG 28% 3FG
2024 PG Jase Richarson included Virginia in his Top 8 this week along with Arkansas, Michigan State, Stanford, Southern Cal, San Diego State, Cincinnati, and Alabama. A little surprising considering he doesn’t yet hold an offer from UVA.
This goes back to the week before. When asked in an interview which school that hasn’t offered he’d like to hear from, he named only Virginia. It turns out UVA had contacted him before. But after the interview, Coach Williford reached out again. It led to the inclusion on his list.
They hadn’t been seriously recruiting him up until now, or even spent time evaluating him. But I expect that will change going forward. He doesn’t plan to decide until the Fall. The list was just about cutting down on unwanted calls from other coaches.
Richardson is the son of former Michigan State star and NBA player Jason Richardson. He’s coming off a major injury that’s kept him out until recently. But as his Spring stats show, he’s back to playing well.
Fading But Not Gone
Lyon County (KY) point guard Travis Perry keeps mentioning UVA. He says he may visit this Spring. While it’s a very longshot that he’ll actually pick the Hoos, there’s always a possibility that lightning could strike if indeed he were to make the trip. Assistant coaches did check him out a time or two during the live periods, showing they haven’t written him off completely.
Former assistant Kyle Getter was handling Perry’s recruitment. He’s actually picked it up at Notre Dame, where Perry just visited. Perry has been a max effort recruit for Purdue. They’re probably the favorite. Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan are contenders too.
And UVA is still involved with Sidwell (DC) forward Caleb Williams. They’ve cooled on him a little though. He hasn’t had a great Spring of AAU so far. Villanova and Michigan had been considered his favorites, but it’s unclear where things are headed right now. He just visited Georgetown.
Things look a bit rocky right now for UVA on the 2024 recruiting front. That’s not to be completely unexpected. They have eight scholarship players with three or more years of eligibility left. That leaves them with narrow lanes to fit players in.
It’s a long way from panic time. They really need to get one on the board before July so they’re not scrambling to fill three spots this Fall. It’s a safe bet that UVA will sign players in November who don’t currently hold offers, and probably even someone we won’t hear of until Summer.. That’s part of the fun, the discoveries to come.
I’ve enjoyed the quiet time after a crazy April. Looking forward to the action picking back up though. We’ll have it covered as always. Appreciate all of you for subscribing to Locker Room Access.