Despite signing two players in the class of 2018 Early Signing Period, Virginia men’s basketball still has three scholarships available to use for the 2018/2019 season. Coach Tony Bennett expressed on his December 11 radio program that he is open to the possibility of adding more players for next year.
A postgraduate prospect who has emerged on Virginia’s radar recently is wing Connor Crabtree.
As a senior at Orange High School (Hillsborough, N.C.), Crabtree signed a letter of intent with UNC-Asheville in November of 2016. He opted against enrolling at UNC-Asheville, however, and instead chose to enroll at Hargrave Military Academy (VA) for a postgraduate year.
“It was a tough decision but I was very young for my class and wanted another year to improve my game,” Crabtree wrote in an interview with TheSabre.com over Twitter. “I knew Hargrave was the best place to go if I wanted to work and get better.”
Crabtree announced his decision on June 5, 2017. Ohio, Tulane, William & Mary and Wofford subsequently came through with scholarship offers, and the talented wing took official visits to those four schools this fall.
High-major Division 1 interest has risen since Crabtree arrived at Hargrave. Most recently, Cincinnati, Marquette, and Virginia have expressed serious interest. Justin Byerly of Prep Hoops reports that Butler, Marquette, Tulane and Virginia were all represented at HMA this week alone. Boston College, Georgetown, Georgia Tech and Illinois have been in contact as well this fall.
Discussing UVA’s interest, Crabtree says the Cavalier coaches “had not been following me before recently. They had come to a practice or two earlier in the season, but I was either gone on a visit or injured.”
On Wednesday (December 13), Tony Bennett and Ron Sanchez made the trek to Chatham (VA) to see Hargrave defeat Bristol Prep, 125-94. Crabtree confirms he has spoken directly with Coach Bennett “a couple times,” adding that Bennett “just said he was interested and wanted to continue to follow me closely.”
Asked for his impressions of Virginia, Crabtree wrote: “I am originally from northern Virginia so I am familiar with the University and have many family members/friends who go there. I think highly of the school.”
With his recruitment heating up, Crabtree says he is taking his decision-making process “day by day.” He has the one official visit spot left to use, acknowledging he may have to make some unofficial visits as he tries to figure out his college future. Crabtree wants to commit “sooner than later if I find the right school, but at the same time I am being patient about it.”
Crabtree has acclimated himself well to postgraduate competition, helping Hargrave to a 14-1 start to the 2017/2018 season. The Tigers captured the Fork Union Christmas Tournament on December 8-9 with wins over Spire Institute and Fork Union. Crabtree poured in 24 points and dished out six assists against Spire before scoring 20 points in a 15-point win over the host team.
“I think I have improved a lot on the defensive end and also I have gained more confidence when it comes to scoring,” wrote Crabtree, who is listed on his HMA profile as being 6’6”, 192 pounds. “I have become a more mature player while being [at Hargrave].”
An excellent student, Crabtree boasts a 4.1 cumulative GPA out of high school.
(Crabtree’s high school senior season highlights, courtesy of Thompson Team Films, are posted below.)