University of Virginia head coach Tony Bennett acted quickly in the wake of 5-star small forward Michael Porter Jr’s commitment to the University of Washington, offering a scholarship to Holmes (San Antonio, TX) guard/forward Marco Anthony. Anthony, in turn, didn’t waste any time accepting the lone scholarship spot available in UVA’s 2017 Class.
With only one scholarship open right now and no apparent need, Bennett could afford to be selective. When previous targets Chris Lykes (Miami) and Porter Jr. came off the board, Bennett certainly could have – and would have, in my opinion – waited to fill the spot. He could have made another push for Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, VA) point Matt Coleman and waited on Reading (PA) shooting guard Lonnie Walker IV. He could have waited to see how certain prospects developed in the coming season. He could have waited to see who comes available on the transfer market next spring. Bennett, though, was sold on the 6’6″, 220-pound Anthony, who boasts an intriguing skill set.
What stands out to me most based on Marco’s junior season highlights is his ability to score as well as his ball-handling ability. Able to score in a variety of ways, Anthony, who averaged 20.3 points per game in 2015/2016, knocked down 3s, hit some midrange jumpers, scored in traffic in the post, and even drained a few nice turnaround jumpers while posting up smaller defenders. He looked comfortable shooting from the outside as well as scoring in the paint.
Anthony’s performance on the Nike EYBL this season was impressive as well. After a slow start, he turned into a consistent performer on the highly competitive AAU circuit. The Pro Skills (TX) standout scored only 13 points total through the first five games of the EYBL season before shining over the course of the next 10 “regular season” EYBL games, when he averaged 15.4 points per game while making 57-of-115 field goals (49.6-percent) including 15-of-32 (46.9-percent) from beyond the arc.
Pro Skills played five games at Peach Jam and the future Hoo continued to show well offensively, scoring in double digits all five contests while averaging 13.2 points per game. Over his last 15 EYBL games, Anthony scored in double digits in all but two outings. He scored over 20 three times, including a 23-point performance (on 10-of-14 shooting) against We All Can Go (TN).
On the next level, Anthony has a jump-shot that could become a consistent force and the strength and ball-handling to score around the basket. He’s not flashy, but certainly exhibits a nice offensive skillset.
Ballhandling-wise, I thought he showed sneaky good handles in his highlights. In fact, Anthony played the point for Holmes this past season. If those highlights are any indication he is more of a scoring point guard, although I envision him having the ability to take on a Malcolm Brogdon-type role on occasion for the Cavaliers. That is, a big, physical guard who can facilitate the offense.
Throughout the 20-game EYBL season, Anthony, who possesses a strong build, averaged 5.5 rebounds per game. From a physical standpoint, I believe he looks ready to contribute as a true freshman despite the fact that he may not need to play big minutes early.
Barring attrition, UVA should have plenty of wings in the 2017/2018 season. Anthony should be able to learn his role well from upperclassmen such as Devon Hall and Marial Shayok and sophomores Kyle Guy and De’Andre Hunter and be well prepared for a significant role in 2018/2019, which he may well be called upon to provide with Hall and Shayok running out of eligibility and Guy and Hunter the only other wing players projected on the roster at this time.
ANOTHER 2018 OFFER GOES OUT
The Rock School (Gainesville, FL) rising junior power forward Darius Days tweeted earlier this week that he now has an offer from Virginia. If accurate, the 6’7”, 225-pound post would be the 13th confirmed offer from the Hoos in the 2018 Class, joining point guard prospects Darius Garland, Prentiss Hubb, Jahvon Quinerly and Coby White, wing prospects Keldon Johnson, Noah Kirkwood, Nassir Little, Brandon Slater, Brandon Williams and Zion Williamson, and posts Joey Hauser and Jalen Smith.
With Marco Anthony in the fold, Virginia projects to have five scholarships available in the 2018/2019 season. Anthony helps provide depth on the wing, but the point guard and wing positions remain need areas.
Projected Scholarships, 2018/2019 Season
Point Guards: Ty Jerome (JR)
Wings: Kyle Guy (JR), De’Andre Hunter (JR), Marco Anthony (SOPH)
Posts: Jack Salt (R-SR), Jarred Reuter (SR), Mamadi Diakite (R-JR), Jay Huff (JR)
Hoops Diamonds posted the below highlight package of Days versus fellow 2018 UVA target Nassir Little below. Days is in the black jersey wearing a headband…