UVA Spring Sports Roundup 5/13 Reading Transfer Guard Dai Dai Ames Commits To Virginia Next Intel Report 5/16/24: Live Weekend

Transfer Guard Dai Dai Ames Commits To Virginia

Transfer Guard Dai Dai Ames Commits To Virginia

Transfer point guard Darrin “Dai Dai” Ames announced his commitment to Virginia on Wednesday. becoming Tony Bennett’s fifth transfer addition of the spring.  Ames averaged 5.2 points and 2.0 assists as a freshman this past season for Kansas State.  The Chicago native was a top 70 ranked recruit out of high school.  He’ll have three years left to play. 



The Recruitment of Dai Dai Ames 

Ames did not have a long stay in the transfer portal.  He was a late entry, reported on April 28th.  Virginia hosted him on an official visit early last week.  The recruitment was handled quickly and very quietly.  Wake Forest is the only other team known to have been seriously involved, but there were surely other suitors. 

He was originally a prized recruit in the 2023 class out of Kenwood Academy in Chicago.  Following a terrific final summer playing for Mac Irvin Fire on the Nike EYBL circuit, his stock soared and scholarship offers piled up.  He finished ranked as the 64th best player in his class, according to the 247Sports composite.  

Dai Dai eventually settled on playing for Jerome Tang at Kansas State.  There were offers on the table from Marquette, Illinois, Michigan State, and others.  Although Virginia didn’t pursue him out of high school, they were familiar.  Assistant coach Orlando Vandross reportedly stopped by Kenwood Academy to see Ames in the fall before his junior season. 

Ames is the final addition to Tony Bennett’s five-man transfer class.  He joins former Florida State guard Jalen Warley, Duke transfer forward TJ Power, San Diego State transfer forward Elijah Saunders, and walk-on transfer center Carter Lang from Vanderbilt.  

What Dai Dai Ames Brings to Virginia

Virginia wanted to solidify the point guard position after losing Reece Beekman and Dante Harris.  That opening is the opportunity Ames was surely hoping to find when he entered the portal.  While he had a significant role at Kansas State, they used him off the ball more than he probably wanted.  He’ll have the chance to return to his natural lead guard spot for the Wahoos. 

Ames made 31 appearances for the Wildcats, playing 20 minutes on average.  He scored 5.2 points per game and dished out 2.0 assists. His full season shooting percentages weren’t great, just 35% from the field and 32% on three-point attempts. However, he did come on strong late.  After being inserted into the starting lineup for the final 13 games,, Ames hit 45% both from three-point distance and overall.  

A quick lefty with an assertive style, Ames likes to get downhill and attack off the bounce.  Virginia was in short supply of playmaking last season.  Ames certainly has the capability to help with that.  Listed at 6’1”, he’ll be UVA’s smallest scholarship player by several inches.  If he’ll buy into being the type of pesky on-ball defender Tony Bennett envisions, there could be a big  role in store for him right away.   

Virginia is getting a very talented player who is still finding his footing in the college game.  He brings some experience at the highest level, while still having a lot to prove.  There will be an opportunity for him to earn playing time next season in a wide open competition for backcourt minutes.  Long term,  Ames and redshirt-freshman Christian Bliss form a nice point guard tandem.  

Virginia’s Recruiting Going Forward

The inn is full now.  With the addition of Dai Dai Ames, Virginia is using all 13 available scholarships for the 2024-25 season.  

It’s perfect timing to wrap up transfer recruiting.  Attention is about to turn to the class of 2025.  The first live evaluation period of the year takes place this weekend.  Coaches will be out and about attending AAU events, checking on their top targets and eyeing new ones.  

Time will tell to what extent Virginia’s recent portal additions reshape their high school recruiting agenda.  There isn’t much space left to work with, just two open scholarships for the 2025-26 season.  Bennett seems to want one guard and one forward in his 2025 class.  

The coaching staff has been recruiting several point guards, including Chance Mallory of St. Anne’s Belfield (VA) and Acaden Lewis out of Sidwell (DC).  Today’s addition might make those recruitments more difficult.  Virginia is also seriously involved with Gonzaga (DC) combo guard Derek Dixon, Bullis School (MD) shooting guard Adrien Stevens, and Southern Durham (NC) wing Jackson Keith.  

St. Thomas More (CT) forward London Jemison and five-star rated Highland School (VA) forward Nate Ament have been the top early targets for the frontcourt spot.  Both are highly sought after recruits on the rise this spring.  

There will most likely be new names to emerge over the next few weeks.  And once we get past the upcoming live period, some recruits will start to move forward in their decision making process. 

Closed Portal 

Virginia’s portal season is officially over.  After a slow start, Tony Bennett took full advantage.  Five additions is more than he’s ever brought in before.  The team was in need of a talent infusion.  He accomplished that.  In contrast to last year, all five transfer recruits come from major programs.  Three of them were former highly ranked high school prospects. 

Bennett struck a nice balance this spring between addressing immediate roster needs while also continuing to build up the team’s young core.  If that group can stay mostly intact, they’ll have a real chance to do big things in the years ahead.  

With high school recruiting about to heat up, it’s a great time to become a Locker Room Access VIP member.  Receive in-depth Intel Reports delivered directly to your inbox all offseason long.  From recruiting to whispers from summer practices, best UVA Basketball coverage on the web.  

(Featured Image Credit: Getty)

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