There has been a flurry of basketball recruiting news related to the University of Virginia recently, from the class of 2020 to the class of 2022.
Class of 2020 Recruiting: Beekman Looking For Another Title; New Name Emerges For 2020
Virginia point guard recruit Reece Beekman is looking to win a fourth state championship in as many tries before heading off to Charlottesville. The road to accomplishing this feat begins on Friday, March 6, when top-seed Scotlandville Magnet (Baton Rouge, LA) hosts no. 9 Jesuit in the quarterfinals of the LHSAA Division 1 playoffs.
The 6’3”, 170-pound senior enters the state playoffs on a high note, posting triple-doubles in wins over Live Oak (40 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) and Denham Springs (20 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds) last week. Scotlandville Magnet is 32-3 and ranked no. 13 in the latest ESPN High School Top 25.
With UVA recruit Jabri Abdur-Rahim on the sideline, Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.) fell two points shy of capturing a second straight Prep A state championship. The Bucs lost to St. Benedict’s, 68-66, ending the season with a 25-3 record. Joe Mantegna’s group captured the 2020 MAPL title before falling short in states.
Abdur-Rahim, who attended his first ever game at John Paul Jones Arena last Saturday, missed the final two months of his senior season with a foot injury. He is hopeful, though, that he will be able to play in the 2020 Jordan Brand Classic on March 27.
UVA has one scholarship available for its class of 2020, which includes Abdur-Rahim, Beekman, and Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.) shooting guard Carson McCorkle. A new potential suitor is McDowell (Erie, PA) 4-star forward William Jeffress Jr., who included UVA in his final 10 schools.
The 6’7”, 190-pound Jeffress has reclassified from the class of 2021 to the class of 2020. Virginia reportedly was one of the schools that offered after the Keystone State star revealed his decision to reclassify. Rounding out Jeffress’ top 10 schools are Baylor, Memphis, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Stanford, Vanderbilt and Villanova.
According to 247Sports’ Crystal Ball feature, Pittsburgh is currently the clear favorite to land the McDowell star. He could take five official visits once his season ends, though, so we will have to see whether UVA lands one of those visits. McDowell (21-3) still has season left to play as it begins state playoff action this Saturday, March 7.
Jeffress, who helped USA Basketball U16 capture a gold medal at the 2019 FIBA Americas, is an outstanding student athlete. Click here to read an excellent background report on the 4-star prospect by GoErie.com.
Class of 2021 Recruiting: UVA Target Furst Is Off The Board
Blackhawk Christian (Fort Wayne, IN) junior forward/center Caleb Furst committed to Purdue earlier this week. The Boilermakers were the first to start pursuing the 6’10” star heavily, and their efforts paid off. Furst also considered Virginia, where he took an official visit last September, and Michigan State, where he took an official visit to earlier this year. UVA head coach Tony Bennett trekked to the Hoosier State last month to watch one of Furst’s games.
While the Cavaliers impressed, it wasn’t enough to pluck the versatile post from his home state.
Another Virginia post target, Steward School (Richmond, VA) center Efton Reid, made an official visit to Louisville this past weekend. This was the 7’0” junior’s third official visit, as he made trips to Virginia and Ohio State previously.
Reid told Prep Hoops recently that he plans to take an official visit to Iowa State and may take one to NC State. He also discussed in the article the possibility of reclassifying from 2021 to 2020, which schools are making him a priority (UVA is on the list), and more. Bennett has visited Steward School several times since offering last summer.
— Malik Ellis (@malikellis_) January 24, 2020
Virginia currently has four scholarship spots available to use in the class of 2021. Seven prospects – point guard Carter Whitt, wing prospects Trevor Keels, Max Christie and Kendall Brown, and post prospects Furst, DaRon Holmes II and Reid – have claimed a Virginia offer.
The Hoos no longer appear to be pursuing Whitt. Christie and Brown appear to be longshots, at least as of right now. Brown just received an offer from UVA on February 7. Virginia has been in hot pursuit of Keels, who took an official visit to Charlottesville last fall, and Holmes has also been on Grounds for an official visit.
Keels, a 6’5”, 210-pound junior out of Paul VI (Fairfax, VA), had high praise regarding the official visit he made to Virginia last September.
“It was amazing. I actually went for their ring ceremony,” Keels said in this EDGE report posted on Monday. “It was pretty cool seeing the ring up close. I just took it all in to see how the college atmosphere is. I watched their practices. I like how they practice. Had a couple meetings with [Coach Bennett]. He’s an all-around great dude.”
Keels, who has taken an official visit to Ohio State as well, reportedly will visit Duke unofficially this Saturday for the UNC game.
The 6’8.5” Holmes, a junior at Millennium (Goodyear, AZ), had the following to say about UVA in this EDGE report last November.
“I did already know a lot about the basketball program. A lot of what the program does as a whole,” Holmes said when asked what he knew about UVA prior to the trip. “I’ve never been out there before, so this was my first time. It was great to be able to see it up close.”
Summarizing his experience, Holmes said: “I can tell everything the basketball program does is effective. It’s a high academic school. The academics and everything on and off the court is great. Coach Bennett is a player’s coach.”
Holmes added that his parents “really enjoyed it,” Holmes said. “My dad … I’ve never seen him react that way to a school.”
Look for class of 2021 recruiting to heat up this spring and summer with the beginning of AAU play. Transfer activity certainly could impact the potential needs UVA tries to address in this class, so keep an eye on transfers as college seasons come to an end.
Class of 2022 Recruiting: UVA Hosts Three Sophomores At Duke Game
TheSabre.com confirmed that Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) point guard Devin Dinkins and Varina (VA) wing Christian Carden were in attendance for Virginia’s win over Duke last Saturday. Hooz Got Next reported that another Varina sophomore guard, Alphonzo Billups, was also on hand.
Dinkins, who is listed as being 5’8”, received a scholarship offer from Georgetown this past December. Penn State came through with an offer last month.