Offseason Primer: Important Dates Ahead For Virginia Basketball

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April is turning out to be an important month for the Virginia basketball program. One top class of 2019 target, Casey Morsell, made his commitment to the Cavaliers. This is obviously great news as head coach Tony Bennett and company coveted the St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) guard as one of their top targets in what figures to be an important class for the Hoos.

Another top junior target makes his decision one week from today. He is Eric Dixon, a 6’7”, 250-pound power forward out of Abington (PA). Josh Verlin reports that Dixon will announce his commitment on Tuesday, April 17 at 1 p.m EST. Virginia is one of four finalists along with Villanova, Louisville and Seton Hall.

Villanova is my pick for Dixon for several reasons, including location and the success of the Villanova program. If Villanova isn’t the pick I would go with Virginia, but for now I think the Wildcats win out. We’ll find out for sure in a week.

Another important date as far as Virginia is concerned is April 22. Sunday, April 22, at 11:59 p.m. EST represents the 2018 NBA Draft Early Entry Eligibility deadline. Sometime this week or next, we will learn whether or not ACC Sixth Man of the Year De’Andre Hunter will declare for the 2018 NBA Draft. If he does, does he sign with an agent? With Hunter expected to play a major role as a starter next season, clearly this decision is an important one for the Cavalier program.

If Hunter does declare but does not sign with an agent – this is what I expect he would do if he declares – he has until June 11 to withdraw his name and return to UVA.

RECRUITING CALENDAR

Before getting to Division 1 men’s basketball’s recruiting calendar for the coming months, here are some definitions to know. From the NCAA.com official site …

CONTACT PERIOD

During a contact period a college coach may have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, watch student-athletes compete and visit their high schools, and write or telephone student-athletes or their parents.

EVALUATION PERIOD

During an evaluation period a college coach may watch college-bound student-athletes compete, visit their high schools, and write or telephone student-athletes or their parents. However, a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents off the college’s campus during an evaluation period.

QUIET PERIOD

During a quiet period, a college coach may only have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents on the college’s campus. A coach may not watch student-athletes compete (unless a competition occurs on the college’s campus) or visit their high schools. Coaches may write or telephone college-bound student-athletes or their parents during this time.

DEAD PERIOD

During a dead period a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, and may not watch student-athletes compete or visit their high schools. Coaches may write and telephone student-athletes or their parents during a dead period.

Onto the recruiting calendar. We are currently in a Dead Period through April 12. A Recruiting Period resumes April 13 and runs through April 18. A Quiet Period begins April 19 and runs through July 5, with the following exceptions:

– April 20-22 – Live Evaluation Period
– April 27-29 – Live Evaluation Period
– May 17-25 – Dead Period

A Dead Period begins July 6 and ends July 31, but included are three Live Evaluation Period exceptions. Here are those dates:

– July 11-15
– July 18-22
– July 25-29

AAU BASKETBALL

Here are some key dates/locations for the upcoming AAU basketball season.

2018 Nike EYBL Schedule

– Session 1 – April 20-22 in Dallas (TX) (Live Evaluation event)
– Session 2 – April 27-29 in Indianapolis (IN) (Live Evaluation event)
– Session 3 – May 11-13 in Atlanta (GA)
– Session 4 – May 26-28 in Hampton (VA)
– Peach Jam – July 11-15 in North Augusta (S.C.) (Live Evaluation event)

2018 Adidas Gauntlet Schedule

– Regional Qualifiers in Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Washington (D.C.) – April 20-22 (Live Evaluation events)
– Gauntlet in Atlanta, April 27-29 (Live Evaluation events)
– Regional Qualifiers in Atlanta, Washington (D.C.), Chicago and Los Angeles – May 25-27
– Gauntlet Regional Qualifier – May 26-28
– Gauntlet Finale in New York (N.Y.) – July 11-15 (Live Evaluation event)
– Summer Championships in Orange County (CA) – July 18-22 (Live Evaluation event)

2018 Under Armour Association

– UAA I in Dallas – April 20-22 (Live Evaluation event)
– UAA II in Indianapolis – April 27-29 (Live Evaluation event)
– UAA Finals in Las Vegas (NV) – July 25-27 (Live Evaluation event)

Other Notable Events

– NY2LA Lone Star Invitational in Dallas – April 20-22 (Live Evaluation event)
– NY2LA Spring Extravaganza in Minneapolis – April 27-29 (Live Evaluation event)
– NY2LA Next Level Invitational in Mequon (WI) – July 11-15 (Live Evaluation event)
– NY2LA Summer Jam in Mequon (WI) – July 18-22 (Live Evaluation event)
– Pangos Spring Sweet 16 in Las Vegas – April 20-22 (Live Evaluation event)
– Pangos Spring Sweet 16 in Garden Grove (CA) – July 13-15 (Live Evaluation event)
– Pangos All-American Camp in Norwalk (CA) – June 1-3
– NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville – June 12-17

Virginia’s Scholarship Situation

Coach Bennett currently has three scholarship spots available for the upcoming season. The roster projection is as follows …

Point Guards: Ty Jerome (Jr), Kihei Clark (Fr)
Wings: Kyle Guy (Jr), De’Andre Hunter (R-Soph), Marco Anthony (Soph), Kody Stattmann (Fr)
Posts: Jack Salt (R-Sr), Mamadi Diakite (R-Jr), Jay Huff (R-Soph), Francesco Badocchi (R-Fr)

Adding a graduate transfer or a high school senior who the coaches feel can contribute immediately on the perimeter makes a lot of sense given the projected depth. Of Virginia’s two incoming freshmen, my belief is that there is a good chance Stattmann redshirts. I’m thinking more that Clark will play, but that’s a certainty if the Cavaliers don’t add anyone else in the backcourt.

The only graduate transfer guard Virginia has been in contact with (that we know of, anyway) is South Dakota’s Matt Mooney. As of this writing, though, there is no indication that Virginia coaches have met directly with him. As for high school prospects, there has not been any information with respect to Coach Bennett pursuing another high school senior.

Taking one or even two traditional transfers makes sense, too. A tall, long wing in the De’Andre Hunter mold and/or a post would be my best bets. Kentucky transfer and former UVA commit Sacha Killeya-Jones would be a good fit who could solidify the Cavalier frontcourt in 2019. I’m not sure if the interest is reciprocal, but I can see Virginia strongly pursuing the former VES (Lynchburg, VA) standout.

Should Virginia not add anyone else to next season’s roster, the class of 2019 becomes even more important. The Cavaliers are well into their pursuit of class of 2019 prospects and are off to a great start with the 6’2”, 175-pound Morsell. There are three scholarship spots currently open in this class. However, this includes De’Andre Hunter, who if he doesn’t leave this spring would likely leave for the NBA in the spring of 2019, assuming of course he builds on a terrific redshirt freshman campaign.

Right now, the 2019 Class priorities include a Hunter-type wing and the post.

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