Intel Report 6/16/23: Priority Point Guards

Intel Report 6/16/23: Priority Point Guards

We’re getting back into the thick of recruiting again. Coaches will be on the road these next two weekends for evaluation periods. Things are especially picking up with Virginia’s top point guard targets. And the players, newcomers included, arrive back on grounds over the next few days.

Bliss Sets Visits

George School (PA) point guard Christian Bliss recently included Virginia in his final four along with Miami, Villanova, and Xavier. Now, he’s scheduled to be in Charlottesville on an official visit beginning on Wednesday. It’ll be the second of two visits for him next week with the first stop at Xavier. He’s already visited Villlanova in April. Miami will presumably get the last turn, with no date set yet.

From what I’ve heard, UVA feels like they have a fighting chance with Bliss but are still behind in the race. Bennett loves his game. He fits really well into the style of play. And Dante Harris hasn’t yet established himself in the coaching staff’s eyes as being the long term answer at point guard. So, they feel like they have a great opportunity to offer.

Expect the UVA staff to have a strong presence for him at the live event at DeMatha this weekend. They’re taking their best swing. His recruitment will almost certainly be over by early July. We’ll pass on anything we hear after his visit next week.

Perry Is Up Next

Point guard recruiting will be a major theme over the next few weeks. Virginia is picking up momentum with Harvard Westlake (CA) floor general Trent Perry. It’s very likely that he’ll be visiting soon as well, assuming there’s no quick commitment from Christian Bliss.

Perry was offered a scholarship last month following a great spring of AAU. He’s taken four official visits already to Vanderbilt, Colorado, Southern Cal, and St. Mary’s. There’s been signs of his fondness for UVA in interviews. I wasn’t sure how serious UVA would be about him because they just haven’t seen much of him, but it appears now they’re ready to make their move.

Someone from UVA is expected in California for his live event this weekend. That’s a good sign too, that they’re starting to invest their time in him. I would guess it’ll be our new/old assistant Ron Sanchez this week. Perry will also be in action next weekend at the Section 7 event in Arizona. Bennett has never seen him play in-person. It’ll be interesting to see if that happens this month.

Jarin Down To Three

It hasn’t been publicly reported at the time of this writing, but Jarin Stevenson is down to a final three of Virginia, North Carolina, and Alabama. That on its own isn’t really news because those are the only three schools who’ve kept trying. It indicates a decision is coming soon though.

I’ve heard the UVA side expected him to reclassify and choose Alabama. But he may have been thrown a wrinkle when Alabama added transfer forward Grant Nelson. That’s what has been reported anyway. Nelson still hasn’t officially announced. If you’ll remember, Jarin originally said he would make this decision by last week. So there’s definitely been a twist behind the scenes.

Virginia is still a distant third in odds. And I haven’t heard anything that leads me to believe they’re hopeful about him at all. But I have to admit, circumstances have kept him on that narrow path so far that keeps the Hoos alive. We should find out his final choice over the next couple weeks.

Kon and RJ

Virginia has been in pursuit of Wisconsin Lutheran wing Kon Knueppel from day one. Meanwhile, Rock School (FL) forward Ryan Jones Jr doesn’t have a scholarship offer yet. I’m grouping them together because their situations this month are the same. They both seem important to UVA. And they both only play during one scholastic live weekend at small events which are inconvenient for coaches to attend.

I don’t want to make too much of it because Tony Benentt will almost certainly see both of them later this month at Top 100 Camp anyway. But it will be interesting and a little telling if UVA goes out of their way to attend their scholastic events next weekend. It’s almost like a status check.

Knueppel is taking a round of visits this month, the most important one being an unofficial visit to Wisconsin next week just before his live period event. Things are just getting started for Jones. He’s planning to take visits on the other side of July.

Paul VI Pair

Virginia is still in the mix for Paul VI (VA) wing Isaiah Abraham and center Patrick Ngongba. The coaches will see them this weekend at DeMatha. They’re fresh off a visit to UConn together. Ngongba also recently visited Duke, while Abraham was at Marquette.

Abraham did mention this week that he’ll probably visit UVA soon. I haven’t heard anything about that, but it wouldn’t be surprising. They’d like to get them both in for a visit together. It’s starting to feel like a longshot for things to work out with either though. I don’t think UVA is being very aggressive in their pursuit of Abraham, in part because they don’t have much of an immediate opportunity for him. And Ngongba has gotten out of their range.

Reach Out Day

The recruiting process got underway for the 2025 class on Thursday when college coaches were allowed to contact them directly for the first time. I wrote about some of the Early Names to Know this week.

During the upcoming live periods, UVA coaches will devote more time toward evaluating for the 2025 class. They won’t become the main attraction until the recruiting period opens in September. The task between now and then is to figure out which ones the coaches will spend their energy on. But we’ll probably have some strong clues about that soon, just based on who Bennett shows up for.

Until we get some 2024 recruits on the board, it’s not for certain what types of players UVA will be after in 2025. If things go as planned however, a big guard or wing and an athletic forward would be on the agenda. Players like Southern Durham (NC) guard Jackson Keith and Grayson (GA) forward Jacob Wilkins who have already received attention fit perfectly into that.

Weekend Hot Spots


DMV Live at DeMatha will be the main event for UVA this week. Christian Bliss being the top reason. Also Isaiah Abraham and Patrick Ngongba. And it’s an opportunity to evaluate for 2025. STAB with Chance Mallory will be there. The Bullis School with big man Eric Reibe too.

The first week of Virginia Live, for private schools in the state, is in Alexandria. St. Christopher’s point guard Brandon Jennings is a player of interest there. They can see him more conveniently at next week’s event held at The Blue Ridge School though.

And the first ever VHSL event is this weekend, for Virginia public schools. Held in Springfield. Someone from UVA could show up to see 2025 South Lakes wing Jordan Scott.

So Cal

We know UVA will be on hand in Irvine, CA for Trent Perry. His Harvard Westlake teammate 2025 wing Nikolas Khamenia was one of the players contacted on Thursday. And I’ve mentioned 2024 JSerra (CA) forward Sebastian Rancik before. He could be one to watch there.

Mega Events

There are three large events that take place both weekends. Whether it’s this week or next, UVA will probably attend all three.

Philly Live is a popular attraction for coaches. Top teams from all over PA and the surrounding areas. Gonzaga (DC) is there this week, featuring 2025 big man Christian Gurdak.

Virginia has attended the NEPSAC Showcase for New England prep schools every year. No particular player of interest comes to mind this time. But there's a lot of talent there to evaluate.

And there’s a big one in Georgia. I think UVA will wait until next week for that one, probably with Bennett going himself. King’s Ridge forward William Jobe is one they want to check out, and of course Jacob Wilkins.

Not In Action This Week

Wisconsin Lutheran wing Kon Knueppel will play next week in Wisconsin. The Rock School (FL) with forward Ryan Jones Jr. plays next week in Florida. Bishop Gorman (NV) point guard Jase Richardson, who has UVA in his Top 8, plays next week at Section 7 in Arizona. And Jarin Stevenson’s Seaforth team isn’t taking part in any June events.

Things are finally hopping again. Stay tuned and thanks for subscribing to Locker Room Access!

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