Virginia Basketball Recruiting Notes: Hoos Extend Three New Offers In 2020

Walker Kessler, Keon Johnson, and Symir Torrence have been offered scholarships by the University of Virginia since the conclusion of the July 11-15 Live Evaluation Period. All three prospects are members of the class of 2020, which was and still is expected to be an emphasis of head coach Tony Bennett and company this month.

Kessler, a 6’11” rising junior out of Woodward Academy (Fairburn, GA), had the look of a “UVA-type-of-player” at the 2018 NBPA Top 100 Camp. Kessler, a stretch 4/5 prospect, showed good basketball IQ, instincts, and a nice shooting stroke at the event, which was once again held at the John Paul Jones Arena.

In an interview with at the Top 100, Kessler described Virginia as a “great basketball school” and described the campus as “awesome. It’s beautiful and I love it, but every campus I’ve seen so far is great for sure.”

Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, and Xavier are among the other schools that have offered the Rivals and 247Sports 5-star. Georgia is considered the likely school to beat. While Kessler maintained at the Top 100 that he is open to every school, he has deep ties to UGA, where his father and uncle played college basketball before moving onto professional careers.

Virginia had just begun its pursuit of Kessler prior to the Top 100. Obviously, Coach Bennett saw enough to go ahead and offer. Dan McDonald of reported the offer from the Cavaliers here. Watch Kessler in action below in a video courtesy of Elite Performance Institute.

Keon Johnson, who is listed anywhere from 6’3” to 6’5” and 180 pounds, is a 4-star prospect according to and 247Sports. 247Sports ranks him as the No. 35 rising junior in the nation, while Rivals has him at No. 40 in the country in his class.

Like Kessler, Johnson attended the 2018 NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville.

Johnson attends The Webb School (Bell Buckle, TN), where he averaged around 26 points, 10 rebounds, and almost 4 assists per game last season according to the Tennessean. His mother, Conswella Sparrow Johnson, played college basketball at Auburn, which has offered a scholarship.

In addition to Auburn and UVA, Johnson is considering offers from Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest. Courtesy of Hudl, below is a highlight from one of Johnson’s games in the 2017/2018 season. He is No. 23 in white.

Symir Torrence, a Syracuse (N.Y.) native who attends Vermont Academy, is rated a 4-star prospect and among the nation’s top 70 rising juniors by Rivals (No. 63) and 247Sports (No. 69). Cincinnati, Marquette, Providence, and Vanderbilt are among the other schools that have offered the 6’3” or 6’4″, 185-pound combo guard, who averaged 6.9 points (43.7% shooting, 32.8% 3PFG, 78.8% FT), 3.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.8 turnovers per game for The City Rocks on the 2018 Nike EYBL Circuit (Session play plus Peach Jam).

S.E. Visuals posted highlights of Torrence last month.

All three prospects have been added to our Virginia Basketball Scholarship Picture Page. Kessler is one of six post prospects UVA has offered in the class of 2020. One of those prospects has committed elsewhere (Day’Ron Sharpe, UNC). Johnson and Torrence are with the wings. UVA has offers out to five wing prospects and two point guard prospects in the rising junior class.

Click here to view the Scholarship Picture Page, which not only provides rundown of those scholarship offers extended in each class but a roster projection and an estimate of how many scholarships are available in each class.

July Evaluation Period No. 2 Begins Today

At 5 p.m. ET today (July 18), the second of three July Evaluation Periods will begin. The period runs through Sunday, July 22. NCAA certified events (those the coaches can watch in person) are taking place all across the country. Here is a sampling.

– Adidas Summer Championships in Orange County (CA), July 18-22
– NY2LA Summer Jam in Wisconsin (just outside of Milwaukee), July 18-22
– Fullcourt Press Cream of the Crop Challenge in California, July 19-21
– Phenom JMAC Showcase, July 18-20
– Phenom CP3 Live, July 20-22
– Bigfoot Hoops’ Las Vegas Live, July 18-22

Look for Coach Bennett and company to continue to focus on the class of 2020 and beyond primarily, but scouting in the class of 2019 is ongoing as well. After all, the Hoos have one class of 2019 scholarship available and could easily have another open up next spring if De’Andre Hunter turns pro.

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