NBA Decisions To Impact Expectations For Next Year’s Virginia Men’s Basketball Team

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The University of Virginia men’s basketball program celebrates its first ever national championship on Saturday at Scott Stadium. Following the festivities, the focus then shifts into the offseason and beginning the journey as defending national champions.

What next season’s roster will look like is the biggest question mark. If all eligible players were to return next season, the Hoos would be loaded.

Current Scholarship Projections: Virginia Men’s Basketball’s 2019-20 Season Roster

Point Guard (2): Ty Jerome (Sr), Kihei Clark (Soph)
Wings (6): Kyle Guy (Sr), Braxton Key (Sr), De’Andre Hunter (R-Jr), Marco Anthony (Jr), Kody Stattmann (Soph), Casey Morsell (Fr, 6’2” 4-star out of St. John’s College Prep in Washington (D.C.))
Posts (5): Mamadi Diakite (R-Sr), Jay Huff (R-Jr), Francesco Badocchi (R-Soph), Francisco Caffaro (R-Fr), Kadin Shedrick (Fr, 6’11” 4-star out of Holly Springs H.S. in North Carolina)

The reality, though, is that Virginia is expected to lose more than redshirt senior center Jack Salt from the 2018-19 title team. How much attrition the Cavaliers will face may not be answered until early June.

Hoos Headed to the NBA?

It wouldn’t be a shock to see someone leave the program via transfer, but the primary concern with respect to how Virginia’s team will look next season lies with who will turn professional.

April 21 is the deadline for early entry into the 2019 NBA Draft, so look for declaration decisions to come soon. Keep in mind that underclassmen may declare, go through the pre-draft process, then withdraw and return to school. Just because a player declares doesn’t mean they are gone. (Also, players may sign with an agent and still return to school – this is a change from previous years.). June 10 is the deadline for underclassmen to withdraw from the draft and return to school.

NBC Sports (4/11), Sports Illustrated (4/9) and NBADraft.net (4/4) have all produced new mock drafts this month. UVA’s top prospect, third-year De’Andre Hunter, is a projected lottery pick in all three mocks – No. 5 by NBC Sports, No. 8 by NBADraft.net and No. 10 by SI.com. Third-year point guard Ty Jerome is a projected first-round pick in two of the three mocks – No. 26 in NBADraft.net, No. 28 in NBC Sports – and No. 33 (second round) in SI. Additionally, CBS Sports has had three mock drafts by three different analysts since late February, and all three have Hunter as a lottery pick with Gary Parrish slotting him as high as No. 4. Two of the three have Jerome being taken in the first round.

I expect Hunter, Jerome, Kyle Guy and possibly Mamadi Diakite to declare for the NBA Draft. I fully expect Hunter to stay in the draft. On the flip side, even if Diakite declares I expect he will return to school. Another year, assuming he continues to ascend the way he did this year, could help his draft stock significantly in my opinion. That leaves junior guards Jerome and Guy as the biggest question marks.

The 6’5” Jerome is coming off an excellent NCAA Tournament performance and could very well decide to stay in the draft. Given his outstanding junior year performance as well as his play in the tournament, this may be the right time for him to turn pro. I’m not sure his stock could get much higher. As for Guy, his pro prospects are not as good as his two running mates, and while I think he is probably going to return to school, I’m not counting him as a lock to do so. How much can the All-ACC first-team selection improve his NBA stock by coming back? Also, he is getting married this summer, so perhaps that plays a role in his decision as well.

Virginia Basketball 2019-20, Without Hunter

Roster
Point Guard (2): Ty Jerome (Sr), Kihei Clark (Soph)
Wings (5): Braxton Key (Sr), Marco Anthony (Jr), Kody Stattmann (Soph), Casey Morsell (Fr, 6’2” 4-star out of St. John’s College Prep in Washington (D.C.))
Posts (5): Mamadi Diakite (R-Sr), Jay Huff (R-Jr), Francesco Badocchi (R-Soph), Francisco Caffaro (R-Fr), Kadin Shedrick (Fr, 6’11” 4-star out of Holly Springs H.S. in North Carolina)
AVAILABLE SCHOLARSHIPS, 2019-20 SEASON – 1

A player with Hunter’s offensive skillset and defensive prowess and versatility is hard to replace. However, Virginia would still return the big-time backcourt of Jerome and Guy, who provide scoring and big-time leadership. Braxton Key could move into the starting lineup and play an expanded role. With Diakite returning, improvement from others (Jay Huff, most notably), and a spark from incoming freshman Casey Morsell, Virginia would have the ingredients for another strong season and run at a national title.

UVA would have one scholarship available in this scenario.

Virginia Basketball 2019-20, Without Hunter and Jerome

Roster
Point Guard (1): Kihei Clark (Soph)
Wings (5): Kyle Guy (Sr), Braxton Key (Sr), Marco Anthony (Jr), Kody Stattmann (Soph), Casey Morsell (Fr, 6’2” 4-star out of St. John’s College Prep in Washington (D.C.))
Posts (5): Mamadi Diakite (R-Sr), Jay Huff (R-Jr), Francesco Badocchi (R-Soph), Francisco Caffaro (R-Fr), Kadin Shedrick (Fr, 6’11” 4-star out of Holly Springs H.S. in North Carolina)
AVAILABLE SCHOLARSHIPS, 2019-20 SEASON – 2

In my view, Jerome was the most important player on this year’s team because of his ability to create opportunities for his teammate, his scoring, his leadership, fearlessness and clutch play. The New Rochelle, New York native would be difficult to replace. Virginia would still return a nice nucleus led by All ACC first-teamer and Third-Team All-American Guy, who would also be joined by Clark, Key, Diakite and Huff. The Hoos would need an immediate impact backcourt playmaker this offseason.

Virginia Basketball 2019-20, Without Hunter, Jerome and Guy
Roster
Point Guard (1): Kihei Clark (Soph)
Wings (4): Braxton Key (Sr), Marco Anthony (Jr), Kody Stattmann (Soph), Casey Morsell (Fr, 6’2” 4-star out of St. John’s College Prep in Washington (D.C.))
Posts (5): Mamadi Diakite (R-Sr), Jay Huff (R-Jr), Francesco Badocchi (R-Soph), Francisco Caffaro (R-Fr), Kadin Shedrick (Fr, 6’11” 4-star out of Holly Springs H.S. in North Carolina)
AVAILABLE SCHOLARSHIPS, 2019-20 SEASON – 3

Losing Hunter, Jerome and Guy would be a major challenge in terms of next season. That’s 61.9% of the team’s scoring gone, not to mention tons of experience and leadership. Certainly, the expectations for next year would diminish significantly and Virginia would be in more of a rebuilding mode, unless of course Bennett and company can work some magic in the months before next season.

This offseason figures to be an interesting one for sure. For now, though, we celebrate!

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4 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Why do we project Badocchi as a Post when he is only 6’7″? He seems more like a wing. when compared to the other posts.

    1. He is in the mold of an Isaiah Wilkins much more than a De’Andre Hunter. In fact, here was his quote to me in an article on the site last month …

      “As of now I’m working a lot on 4s. I can be a versatile player and I can play whatever coach wants me to play. In the offseason I’m definitely going to work on my 3 game and my shot and driving and ballhandling, but as of now I’m working a lot on midrange and post moves, kind of like what Isaiah did but maybe with a little better shot (laughs).”

  2. Why wouldn’t we expect Morsell to come in and start making immediate impact. From everything I’ve read and seen, he’s going to be ready on day one.

    1. It’s not your offense that gets you on the floor under Bennett. Unless Morsell is a pack-line savant, he is not going to be ready on day one.

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