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Intel Report 6/20/24: Status Check
Category_Virginia Men's Basketball

Intel Report 6/20/24: Status Check

OmaHoos Back in College World Series
Josh Burton

OmaHoos Back in College World Series

Intel Report 6/07/24: Board Reset
Category_Virginia Men's Basketball

Intel Report 6/07/24: Board Reset

Intel Report 6/20/24: Status Check Category_Virginia Men's Basketball

Intel Report 6/20/24: Status Check

By Kevin Cook

The Virginia Men’s Basketball team is back on Grounds for the start of summer practices.  Meanwhile, recruiting is about to heat up.  As coaches head out the upcoming live evaluation periods, we’ll learn which 2025 recruits will be a priority for the Wahoos.  

Back on Grounds

UVA players returned to Grounds over the weekend.  Practices got underway on Monday.   Later this summer, I’ll try to put together a report for subscribers on how the team is shaping up.  

The roster was updated, 13 scholarship players and 3 walk-ons.  A notable absence is Dante Harris. Apparently, he won’t rejoin the team after all.  His plan is to finish up his degree this fall, then probably transfer out.  Walk-on Desmond Roberts is back for another season though after removing his name from the portal.  

With a press release last week, UVA officially acknowledged the recent knee injury to sophomore guard Elijah Gertrude.  As it stated, he’ll miss the 2024-25 season.  Gertrude will redshirt, then have 3 years of remaining eligibility. It’s expected to be a 12-month long recovery process.  If all goes well, that puts him on schedule to work his way back when summer practices start next June.  

Status Check

Activity is about to pick up on the recruiting front.  Coaches will be on the road for four of the next five weekends for live evaluation periods.  Starting with the scholastic periods these next two weekends (June 21-23, 28-30), then the big AAU weekends in July (11-14, 19-21).  

The next two weekends are so-called scholastic live evaluation periods.  Coaches will attend events in which recruits participate with their high school teams.  Some of the events are large while others are quite small.  And there’s lots of them, 34 this weekend alone.  That results in players of interest being scattered, so that coaches need to make decisions about where to spend their time. 

Along the way, we should gain some clarity about which class of 2025 recruits Virginia is serious about.  It serves as a status check.  As always, the head coach’s actions are the most telling.  The recruits Tony Bennett shows up to see should be taken seriously.  And if anybody with an offer doesn’t have someone from UVA in attendance, that player isn’t really being recruited.  

Hot Spots

DC

There’s always a heavy UVA presence in the DC area for the first scholastic weekend.  DMV Live at DeMatha is the main attraction.  They’ll also attend DC Live at Sidwell Friends School.  A bunch of familiar names are taking part.  At least four 2025 recruits with UVA offers will be playing in those locations, along with a couple 2026 prospects holding early offers.  

Highland (VA) forward Nate Ament and Bullis (MD) guard Adrien Stevens are at DeMatha.   St. Anne’s-Belfield (VA) is playing there too.  Probably without Chance Mallory though, after his recent ankle injury.  Over at Sidwell, Acaden Lewis and Gonzaga (DC) guard Derek Dixon will be in action.  

Derek Dixon seems to be the most relevant of the group for UVA at this point.  He was in town for an official visit in April.  North Carolina recently offered, joining Pitt and Syracuse as the other main teams involved.  The most urgent recruit there is Adrien Stevens.  Time may be running out with him.  Marquette is pushing hard, and he just took an official visit to Villanova this past weekend.  

While I don’t believe UVA expects to get Chance Mallory, the door will stay open.  And although the Hoos are in the mix for Nate Ament, the writing is on the wall after he received every blue blood offer this spring.  Acaden Lewis has gotten out of reach too.  He’s picked up recent offers from Kansas, Kentucky, and North Carolina following a great showing at Top 100 Camp.  

Two other nearby events in Northern Virginia.  For VA public school teams in Springfield, and the private school event in Alexandria.  There’s some potential 2026 recruits to check out.  UVA coaches attended both of those events last summer. 

Indiana

The most obvious status check of the weekend will be whether Bennett makes the trip to Indiana for the Charlie Hughes Showcase.  A pair of recently offered 2025 recruits are there, Greenfield-Central SG Braylon Mullins and Cathedral PF Brady Koehler.  

If UVA is going to make a real effort to recruit Mullins, it’ll need to start with Tony Bennett making an appearance this weekend.  Mullins is one of the hottest recruits in the country.  UConn, Indiana, Kansas, among many others in pursuit.  The situation isn’t as urgent with Koehler yet, but UVA should still have someone there for him.   Those two play against each other on Saturday, so that’s the day to show up.  

North Carolina

Recently offered Davidson Day (NC) guard Isaiah Denis will play both weekends in the NC private school events, starting in Greensboro this week.   Christ School forward Zymicah Wilkins is there too.  UVA interest is picking up in him following a good showing at Top 100 Camp. 

Same deal.  Both of them have been major spring stock climbers.  If UVA intends to seriously pursue either, Tony Bennett should be in NC at some point these next two weeks.   Denis has soared up the charts this spring, pulling in offers from Kansas and Tennessee.  UVA has flirted with Wilkins for a while.  They need to make a decision whether to recruit him or let it go. 

Arizona

This weekend’s Section 7 tournament in Arizona is one of the summer’s premiere events.   It features a loaded field with nearly every top team from out west.  A few from the east coast too.  Recently offered forward Mason Blackwood and his New Hampton (NH) team are making the trip.  And Harvard Westlake (CA) forward Nikolas Khamenia can be seen there.   

Khamenia is a bit of a longshot, while things are only starting with Blackwood.  UVA is on the list of teams registered to attend, probably a Ron Sanchez assignment.  

New England

The New England Prep Showcase takes place both weekends.   St. Thomas More (CT) with forward London Jemison is only participating the second weekend. And Mason Blackwood will be back in CT for that event in week 2.  

Definitely another status check with those two.  A possible 2nd weekend Bennett destination.  Jemison was an early priority recruit and could still be within reach, but there hasn’t been any progress yet.  UVA would probably have a good chance with Blackwood if they put in the effort this summer. 

UVA coaches are bound to pop up in other locations to evaluate new recruits.  I’ll be keeping track as always.  Be sure to check the forum for further updates.  Thanks for subscribing to Locker Room Access.

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OmaHoos Back in College World Series Josh Burton

OmaHoos Back in College World Series

By Josh Burton

By Josh Burton


For the second consecutive season and third time in the last four years, the University of Virginia Baseball team is headed to Omaha for the College World Series. The Hoos earned the right to play in Omaha by picking up a quick 2-0 sweep of Kansas State in last weekend's Super Regional round. They’ll now turn their attention to North Carolina for the first game in Omaha, scheduled for 2 pm EST on Friday (6/14). This game will air on ESPN. Let’s take a look at how they got here, and also what lies ahead.

Super Regional

The Hoos started the regional with a 7-4 victory Friday night before finishing off the sweep with a 10-4 victory on Saturday. Although the series only played the minimum, it was fairly close for much of both contests before timely hitting allowed the Hoos to pull away. 

UVA ace Evan Blanco had yet another solid outing in game 1, going 7 complete innings allowing just 4 runs on 5 hits. With the score tied at four in the bottom of the 7th inning, Henry Godbout delivered the knockout blow, a three-run homer to deep left field.

 

 

In game two, Jay Woolfolk had yet another quality start.  He went  6-1/3rd innings allowing just six hits and three runs. While Jay wasn’t as dominant as he was the previous weekend, he put together another solid outing to build on heading into the College World Series. Jay did appear to have trouble with a right leg issue.  The trainer come out to check on him at one point, but he powered through to keep pitching. His status is certainly worth monitoring, although he was able to continue pitching and throw over 100 pitches on the day. 

 

 

Offensively, although the Hoos never trailed in this one, they did have to use a lot of two-out rallies to find production. Amazingly, all 10 of UVA’s runs in the contest came with two outs. While ten runs is very impressive, the idea of the UVA lineup producing with its back against the wall is nothing new, as they’ve been doing so all season on the way to being one of the best offensive groups in the country. 

The once shaky bullpen was once again very solid for the Hoos on the series, with three different players stepping up and shining. Matt Augustin was able to build on his incredible regional performance, collecting the last two outs to seal the game 1 victory on Friday night. On Saturday, Chase Hungate was once again dominant as he went the final two innings to close the door and send the Wahoos back to Omaha. Maybe most impressive this weekend was Angelo Tonas, who made middle relief appearances in both games, going a combined two complete innings and only giving up 1 hit (a homerun in the 7th inning of game 2). These three arms appear to be heading up UVA’s bullpen, and all will almost certainly be called upon at some point in Omaha. 

College World Series

The College World Series is one of the greatest events in college sports. It’s set up as two separate brackets of 4 teams that will play a double elimination style tournament (think Regionals), culminating with the two winners playing a best of three games series for the National Championship (think Super Regionals). As previously mentioned, the Hoos will first play North Carolina in the opener. Also in UVA’s bracket are Tennessee and Florida State. 

 

 

The difference between Regionals and the first rounds of Omaha are that there is some extra rest between games. Win or lose, the Hoos won’t play again until Sunday. And should they advance farther, they would not play again until either Tuesday or Wednesday. This extra rest could prove pivotal for a Hoos team that still lacks a little pitching, as Blanco could potentially make another start in a game 4 scenario. With that in mind, the best way to go is much like Regionals, try to get to 2-0 to avoid having to play extra games.

Expect the Hoos to continue to follow their successful formula, with a starting pitching rotation of Blanco, Woolfolk, and Savino followed by their surging bullpen. Offensively, expect the Hoos to continue to play the matchups, platooning third base between Luke Hanson (starts against left-handed pitchers) and Eric Becker (starts against right-handed pitchers). Additionally, watch for O’Connor to continue managing the lineup to play the matchups, generally moving Bobby Whalen from the 9 hole to second in the order against left-handed pitching. With so much production coming from all over the lineup this season, the Hoos can not only stress the defense but also move the lineup around to make it harder for opposing pitchers to prepare. 

Every game in Omaha will be nationally televised on ESPN, with games scheduled for 2 pm EST and 7 pm EST each day. Be sure to follow along on the Locker Room Access forum to keep up with all the action!

(Featured Image Credit: Jamie Holt/UVA Athletics)

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Intel Report 6/07/24: Board Reset Category_Virginia Men's Basketball

Intel Report 6/07/24: Board Reset

By Kevin Cook

Activity is about to pick back up, as we head into the heat of summer recruiting.  UVA has handed out some new scholarship offers.  I look at those and run through where things stand with every 2025 recruit on the board, along with how they’ve performed in AAU play in this edition of the LRA Intel Report. 

Return of Dante

Point guard Dante Harris has decided to return to UVA for his senior year as a walk-on.  He was in the transfer portal for over a month.  From what I had heard, the interest he received was mostly from low major programs.  In the end, he decided it was best to come back and finish his UVA degree. 

UVA now has two walk-ons who were on scholarship last season at major programs, Harris and Vanderbilt transfer big man Carter Lang.  Both are unique situations that won’t come around often.  But with NIL opportunities available to offset their costs, this sort of thing is possible nowadays.  The green team will be stout. 

I don’t know much about what led to Harris’s decision to return.  The coaching staff made clear that the door would be open for him if he wanted to stay and finish his degree, and he ultimately chose to do that.  He does have a 5th season of eligibility available.  So this gives him a chance for the best of both worlds, he can graduate from UVA then seek a better on-court opportunity elsewhere for the following season.  

New Offers

Following the recent evaluation period, UVA extended four new scholarship offers to recruits in the class of 2025.  Two guards and two forwards.  Essentially, a pair of new targets for each of the two spots they’re trying to fill.  All of them are popular spring stock risers who’ve picked up a bunch of offers over the past few weeks.  

The least surprising offer went to Greenfield-Central (IN) sharpshooter Braylon Mullins. He had been mentioning UVA interest for a while, and then Isaiah Wilkins was on hand for all of his live period games.  Unfortunately, his play caught everybody’s attention and he’s now the hottest recruit in the country.  The UVA staff has built a relationship with him, so they plan to give it their best shot despite the competition.  

Davidson Day (NC) guard Isaiah Denis announced his UVA offer on Sunday.  A big combo guard at 6-5, he kept getting better as spring AAU went along.  That’s led to a wave of new offers. Kansas and Michigan jumped in this week as well.  We’ll see if UVA can gain traction. 

The first spring offer went to Cathedral (IN) forward Brady Koehler after his big live period weekend.  That’s Armaan Franklin’s old high school, so UVA has a relationship there.  Koehler is a long rangy athlete who’s shown flashes of a developing inside-out skill package.  An upside play.  

New Hampton (NH) forward Mason Blackwood was offered on Sunday.  Not too surprising after Coach Williford eyed him during the live period.  He’s a steady performer who brings a lot of positional versatility, more of a big guard used as a forward.  His only high major offer before May was from Marquette, now he’s up to 10 of them.  

This feels like the start of a reset.  Below, I’ll run through every recruit on the board. It won’t sound good.  We’re in a transition period.  When Bennett goes out for live periods later this month, we’ll get a clearer picture of who is being seriously recruited.  And more offers will be made as players are evaluated.  Most of the old names will probably drift away as new ones become the priority.  

Big Board

*All rankings are from the On3 industry average.  

Guards

Acaden Lewis 6-3 PG Sidwell (DC) Team Durant (Nike) Rank: 79

Spring Stats: 15.3 PPG 3.6 assists 43% FG 35% 3FG (6.4 attempts)

New offers from Pitt, Louisville, Michigan, and several others.  He’s taken official visits to Virginia and Florida State.  Kentucky hasn’t offered, but he’s visiting there soon. It’s a wide open recruitment.  Playing the point is important to him, which works against UVA. 

Chance Mallory 5-10 PG St. Anne’s Belfield (VA) Team Thrill (UAA) Rank: 68

Spring stats: 21.6 PPG 4.3 assists 45% FG 38% 3FG (7.1 attempts)

No new offers.  He’s taken a bunch of unofficial visits, no officials.  The odds don’t seem very good at this point, but UVA is still trying.  Maryland and to a lesser extent Tennessee are the other teams putting in real effort.  Mallory’s approach has basically been to punt it all until the fall though, so a lot can change by then. 

Derek Dixon 6-4 SG Gonzaga (DC) Team Takeover (Nike) Rank: 65

Spring stats: 15.6 PPG 2.6 assists 52% FG 48% 3FG (4.9 attempts) 

New offer from North Carolina.  He’s taken official visits to Virginia, Syracuse, and Pittsburgh.  Pitt has worked the hardest, and seemed to be in the best shape heading into spring.  It’s one of these situations where UVA is among the small group seriously in the mix, yet almost a longshot to actually win out.  

Adrien Stevens 6-4 SG Bullis (MD) WeR1 (UAA) Rank: 146

Spring stats: 13.3 PPG 5.1 rebounds 1.7 steals 38% FG 36% 3FG (5.6 attempts)

New offer from Oklahoma State.  He’s taken an official visit to Marquette.  They’re the clear favorite right now. Shaka Smart has recruited him very hard, and will surely try to close the deal soon. Meanwhile, UVA didn’t pay him much attention during the spring live period.  We’ll see if that changes going forward. 

Braylon Mullins 6-5 SG Greenfield Central (IN) Indiana Elite (Adidas) Rank: 81

Spring stats: 20.1 PPG 2.5 assists 56% FG 52% 3FG (7.4 attempts)

New offers from Purdue, UConn, Kansas, and too many others to list.  He just finished an official visit to Michigan and has one scheduled to UConn later this month.   Indiana and Notre Dame have been heavily involved from the start.  

Isaiah Denis 6-5 SG Davidson Day (NC) CP3 (Nike) Rank 112

Spring stats: 14.1 PPG 51% FG 43% 3FG (3.7 attempts) 

New offers from Kansas, Tennessee, Clemson, and about 10 others.  He took unofficial visits during the season to Clemson, VT, and NC State.  It’s mid blow up right now.  Nobody was seriously recruiting him until this past month.  

Forwards

London Jemison 6-8 PF St. Thomas More (CT) Expressions (Nike) Rank: 49

Spring stats: 14.3 PPG 3.0 rebounds 54% FG 43% 3FG (5.0 attempts) 

New offers from Alabama, Georgetown, and Wake.  He took an early official visit to Syracuse.  UVA was the first high major program to offer last summer.  And Tony Bennett paid him a visit in the fall.  But there hasn’t been any noticeable progress.  UVA isn’t ready to throw in the towel yet though.  

Nate Ament 6-9 PF Highland School (VA) Team Loaded (Adidas) Rank: 15

Spring stats: 15.4 PPG 6.4 rebounds 47% FG 42% 3FG (5.1 attempts) 

New offers from UNC, Kansas, and several others.  No official visits yet.  He looks like a legit one and done player, and can pretty much pick any school he wants at this point.  

Nikolas Khamena 6-7 SF Harvard Westlake (CA) BTI (Puma) Rank: 33

Spring stats: Unavailable 

New offers from UNC and Tennessee. He took an early official visit to Gonzaga.  UCLA is also seriously involved.  UVA has some helpful relationships with his AAU program, that’s why they’re in the picture.  He might visit, but actually getting him is a bit of a longshot.  

Dwayne Aristode 6-7 SF Brewster (NH) Expressions (Nike) Rank: 21

Spring stats: 12.5 PPG 3.6 rebounds 49% FG 38% 3FG (5.0 attempts)

Aristode doesn’t publicize his offers, so I don’t know if there are any new ones.  He’s taken visits to USC, UCLA, and Wake Forest.  Coach Bennett went up to see him over exam break.  And he always mentions UVA.  It’s clear the Hoos aren’t near the top of his list though. 

Brady Koehler 6-9 PF Cathedral (IN) Indy Heat (Nike) Rank: 208

Spring stats: 7.5 PPG 1.1 blocks 1.0 steals 36% FG 24% 3FG (3.2 attempts)

New offers from Stanford, Iowa, Rutgers, and several others.  Notre Dame was already on him, and he’s taken an unofficial visit there.  His stats are a little deceiving.  He’s had some big games, especially over the live weekend, but has lacked consistency overall.   

Mason Blackwood 6-7 SF New Hampton (NH) City Rocks (Nike) Rank: 135

Spring stats: 14.8 PPG 5.8 rebounds 58% FG 50% 3FG (2.3 attempts)

New offers from Wake, BC, WVU, and several others.  Bennett actually saw him play over the winter against Dwayne Aristode, so there’s already some in-person familiarity.  As with all these newly offered recruits, the race is just beginning. No one has any real advantage.  

What’s Ahead

Coaches will attend Top 100 Camp in Orlando on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I would fully expect Tony Bennett to make the trip along with a couple assistants.  A bunch of the names above will be there.  Braylon Mullins, Isaiah Denis, Acaden Lewis, Chance Mallory, and Adrien Stevens posted their invites.  The roster isn’t announced until next week, so there will surely be others.  Along with plenty of recruits to evaluate.  

Things get pretty busy after that.  Players return next weekend, summer practices start.  Next Saturday is June 15th, the first day coaches are allowed to directly contact 2026 recruits.  As the summer goes on, those rising juniors will receive more recruiting attention.  And then the last two weekends of the month are scholastic live periods, coaches will be out attending high school events.  In the middle of all that, there will probably be some visitors.  

This recruiting cycle is going to require some patience.  The commitments that eventually come, probably around September, will be all the more enjoyable if you were along for the ride of discovery.  We’ll have it covered every step of the way as always.  Thanks for subscribing to Locker Room Access. 

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