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UVA's Struggling Offense, Elijah's Turn, and Visiting Recruits

UVA's Struggling Offense, Elijah's Turn, and Visiting Recruits

Virginia's offensive struggles continued in Saturday's loss to UNC.  Freshman Elijah Gertrude appears to be moving into a bigger role.  And the Hoos had visiting recruits on hand this weekend.  

Offensive Struggles

Virginia is in quite the offensive funk.  They’ve failed to reach 50 points in three consecutive games.  After reeling off eight wins in a row, they’ve since lost three of their last four and find themselves back on the edge of the dreaded NCAA Tournament bubble.  Their struggles seem to have the coaching staff searching for answers. 

“They’re really keying in on a few guys and really playing off some others.”  Tony Bennett said following Saturday’s 54-44 loss to North Carolina. “ We’re trying to do a few different things. They’re figuring some things out that are tough for us.” 

Taking Away Shooters

The Wahoos have shot the three-ball pretty well this season, 36.4% as a team.. They were in the top 20 nationally in that category before this awful recent stretch.  However, they don’t get many attempts.  The problem has worsened of late.   In the last four games, only 24.8% of UVA’s shot attempts have come from behind the arc.  That would be the third lowest rate in the country over a full season.  

Opponents are making it difficult for Virginia to get quality three-point attempts.  They’re keying on shooters as Bennett alluded to, specifically Isaac McKneely and Jake Groves.  Open looks are few and far between.  They’ve nearly dried up completely for Groves.  He’s only had a total of six field goal attempts in the last three games, after being such a crucial factor in their earlier winning streak.  

Fewer Assists 

Nearly 63% of Virginia’s made shots have been of the assisted variety, the 7th highest rate in the country.  Over the last four games, it’s dropped to a very average 52.5%.  Bottoming out with just five assists on 16 field goals in Saturday’s loss to UNC, all of them credited to Reece Beekman

What that means is that UVA isn’t creating shots within the flow of their offense as well as they were earlier in the season.  Players are being forced to make individual plays more often.  Since Beekman is by far their best option for making those plays, an even heavier load is being placed on his shoulders. 

Both of those stats, the drop in three-point and assist rates, are signs of an unhealthy offense.  In particular, for a “system” team like Virginia.  It’s not just a case of shooting poorly. The offense isn’t generating good shots.  Teams have figured out the blueprint for defending the current personnel within the sets they're running.  Look for Bennett and the staff to continue making adjustments, schematically and perhaps in the rotation as well.  

Changing of the Guard

A lot of fans have been outspoken about wanting to see freshman Elijah Gertrude back in the rotation.  They got their wish on Saturday.  The electric guard from Jersey City logged a season-high 19 minutes in the loss to the Tar Heels.  His stat line doesn’t look great, 6 points on 1-7 from the floor.  But he provided a spark.  He brought badly needed assertiveness on offense, and added a pair of steals too.  

It’s been a merry-go-round in the third guard spot for UVA.  Sophomore Andrew Rohde has held on to his starting job, despite averaging just 4.5 points.  Taine Murray has eaten into his minutes a little.  They’ve gone big at times, sliding Ryan Dunn out to guard.  Backup point guard Dante Harris is in the equation too.  All of them have had good moments, but none have been a consistent offensive threat.  

Bennett still had Gertrude in to finish the game on Saturday.  That’s usually a good sign going forward.  I completely expect him to be in the rotation at Boston College on Wednesday.  There’s a wide open opportunity for a guard to step up and grab a big role.  It's Gertrude's turn to take his swing.  

Visiting Recruits

A Saturday afternoon game means recruits in the house.  Virginia had several on hand for the UNC game. 

They had a pair of important class of 2025 recruits seated behind the bench on unofficial visits, both holding UVA scholarship offers.  Southern Durham (NC) wing Jackson Keith is no stranger to Charlottesville, having visited multiple times before.  The Hoos are battling NC State and Tennessee for him.  

And despite having a game of his own to leave early for, prized local 2025 recruit Chance Mallory was on hand for the second time this season.  Later Saturday night, he led STAB to a conference championship, and was named conference Player of The Year following the victory.  Maryland and Clemson are among the other contenders for Mallory.  



They were joined by a trio of 2026 recruits. Latrell Allmond, a forward out of John Marshall in Richmond, already has an offer from the Wahoos.  This was his third unofficial visit to UVA since the fall.  And some new names, point guard Styles Clemmons from Princess Anne High in Virginia Beach and forward Chase Foster from Baltimore.  

(Featured Image Credit: Getty) 

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