Virginia Basketball Coaches Taking To The Road For First July Evaluation Period

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The first of three Division 1 men’s basketball Live Evaluation periods begins today, July 12 at 5 p.m. This period ends Sunday, July 16 at 5 p.m., but will be followed by two more Live Evaluation sessions July 19 – July 23 and July 26 – July 30.

Why It’s Significant

Live Evaluation periods provide Division 1 college coaches an opportunity watch recruits in person, in most cases against other top talents. July is an important month of evaluation for both the current class (2018) and future classes (such as 2019 and 2020). If you need proof of how this month can impact the current class, look no further than Virginia’s last two classes.

Until July 15, 2016, there wasn’t any public indication of Virginia basketball’s interest in Marco Anthony. Anthony knew there was some interest, having been contacted by Cavalier associate head coach Ron Sanchez prior to the 2016 Peach Jam.

“I never reached out to them. They kind of found me. Coach Sanchez hit me up before Peach Jam and he was saying how he had been watching me and he liked my game. Coach Bennett watched me my last game of Peach Jam and he told me he really liked it, but he had to watch me one more time just to make sure I’m that guy. He did and I did good.”

Bennett was spotted in attendance at the Texas-based Great American Shootout tournament on July 15. He offered a scholarship soon after, and Anthony accepted on July 19. He is now a true first year in Charlottesville, practicing alongside his new teammates.

The previous year, while Virginia was looking to close out an already strong 2016 group, Bennett offered a scholarship to De’Andre Hunter on July 25, 2015. Hunter recalls having no direct contact with the Virginia staff prior to the offer. Nevertheless, he took an unofficial visit to Charlottesville in August and followed up with an official to UVA in September. Hunter committed while on the official.

July is a month where new targets arise. Some may be prospects Virginia has already been publicly linked to. Others may not. Either way, it should be an intriguing several weeks to come. Look for Coach Bennett and staff to continue to pursue established targets and scout other class of 2018 targets as well as younger class players. By the end of the month (and potentially this week), don’t be surprised if Virginia has extended some new scholarships, whether to rising seniors, rising juniors, or possibly younger recruits.

Top Events This Week

The Virginia staff will be on the road this week, and it’s a good bet they’ll be at the events below …

-Adidas Gauntlet Finale in Spartanburg (S.C.), July 12-15
-Nike EYBL Peach Jam in North Augusta, GA, July 12-16
-Under Armour Association Finals in Atlanta (GA), July 12-15

We’ll keep you updated on where the UVA staff has been spotted throughout the week.

UVA’s 2018 Class

July could well be a key month for Virginia and its 2018 recruiting class. Five scholarship spots are available. However, at this point we believe three is the likely amount of recruits the Cavaliers will take. Our best guess position-wise is one prospect at each position — a point guard, a wing, and a post. Let’s take a look at the current recruiting situation at all three positions.

POINT GUARDS

All indications are that Hudson Catholic (Jersey City, N.J.) 5-star floor general Jahvon Quinerly remains a top priority. Certainly, he’s the top point guard priority and perhaps the top overall target for Virginia in this class.

Quinerly lists a final seven of Arizona, Kansas, Seton Hall, Stanford, UCLA, Villanova, and Virginia. Arizona made a big move when it hosted Quinerly on an official visit last month, vaulting to favorite status in the eyes of some. Villanova, which has landed two talented class of 2018 wing prospects in Brandon Slater and Cole Swider already, has been involved the longest and remains a top threat. Virginia’s coaches surely feel they have a legit chance or else I think they’d make a strong push for someone else.

Other point guard targets on Virginia’s radar right now include …

Michael Devoe, 6’4”, Montverde Academy (FL)

Devoe, an Orlando native, told the Orlando Sentinel in a July 6 article that he hears from Wake Forest, Florida, Southern Cal, West Virginia, Ohio State and Virginia “every day.” He added that he plans to release a top 10 or 12 at the end of July. He’ll take official visits this fall and already has one scheduled for September 26 at Wake Forest. Devoe made an unofficial to Florida last month.

Jaelin Llewellyn, Virginia Episcopal School (Lynchburg, VA)

Things have been quiet with respect to Llewellyn, who landed offers from UVA and a handful of others following a nice spring. He took unofficial visits to Maryland and Virginia later on. Minnesota just came through with an offer for the Canadian native, who is looking to help Team Loaded VA to an Adidas Gauntlet championship.

Robert Phinisee, Lafayette (IN)

Phinisee told Inside The Hall that Virginia is in “pretty frequent” contact with him. Indiana, Ohio State, and Purdue appear to be other top contenders.

Elijah Weaver, Oldsmar Christian (FL)

Things appear to have cooled between UVA and Weaver since the latter included the Hoos in his top 12. We’ll see if anything changes this month. Weaver plays for Team Breakdown on the Under Armour circuit, so he’ll be in Atlanta this week.

WINGS

Duke (dribbling) and Quinerly (defending) are two of UVA’s top remaining targets in the class of 2018 ~ Photo by Kris Wright

From AJ Reeves (Providence commit) to John Newman (Clemson commit) to Musa Jallow (Ohio State commit), several Virginia wing targets have come off the board in recent weeks.

South Hill (VA) native Keldon Johnson is a player Virginia fans have quite a bit of interest in … for good reason, as the 6’6” prospect has played very well this spring after a quality junior campaign at Huntington Prep (W.V.).

Johnson attended UVA’s home win over UNC this past season and Coach Bennett visited Huntington Prep this spring, but a recent Rivals article didn’t paint a rosy outlook for Virginia’s chances. Is UVA out of the race for the soon-to-be Oak Hill Academy senior? Hard to say for sure, but at this point I think it’s more likely than not that he ultimately heads elsewhere. Not much would surprise me here, though, so we’ll see what happens in the months to come.

David Duke and Noah Locke are other wing prospects Virginia has offered. Duke is a combo guard out of Cushing Academy in Rhode Island. I really like his 6’4” frame and overall athleticism. From what I saw at the NBPA Top 100 Camp last month, I believe he is a true combo … that is, he can play off the ball but could develop into a player who can run the point at times on the major college level. Duke has yet to narrow his schools, a list that could grow with another quality week with Mass Rivals on the Adidas circuit this week.

Locke, who visited UVA unofficially last month, is more of a true two-guard based off what I’ve heard about his game. If Virginia landed him, it would be interesting to see what they do with the other scholarships. The 6’2” wing is a sharpshooter who is tough, confident, and has good length. Florida, Maryland, and Michigan are other top contenders for Locke, who will be with Team Melo at Peach Jam this week.

Since a handful of wing prospects came off the board last month, don’t be surprised if some more wing targets emerge in July. Midlothian (TX) shooting guard Kaden Archie reportedly is now hearing from the Hoos. He’ll be playing for Urban DFW at the Adidas event this week. Washington (D.C.) product Saddiq Bey told TheSabre.com last month that Virginia will be watching him this month. He plays for DC Premier on the Under Armour Grassroots circuit. And Rochester (N.Y.) native Jeenathan Williams claimed an offer from the Cavaliers earlier this month. We have not been able to confirm that this offer is legit. At the very least, Williams is someone to keep an eye on. He is expected to play for the City Rocks club at Peach Jam this week.

POSTS

McCormack at the 2017 NBPA Top 100 Camp ~ Photo by Kris Wright

Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, VA) star David McCormack, whose stock has risen in a big way this spring, appears to be the clear top target in the post and Virginia’s best bet of the players they have offered. Wisconsin native Joey Hauser probably remains in the mix, but at this point I think he stays in the Midwest. Darius Days claimed an early offer from Virginia, but we have not heard much with respect to UVA’s standing with him (or vice versa) recently. Days is a player I liked a lot in the limited time I saw him at last month’s Top 100, but at this point it looks likely that he’ll head elsewhere.

Unless McCormack comes to Charlottesville, the likely scenario is that if Virginia takes a big in this class it will be someone the staff has not yet offered.

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