Decisions Coming Soon For Pair Of Virginia Basketball Transfer Targets; Woldetensae Moving On

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A pair of Virginia basketball transfer targets are closing in on their decisions.

Jayden Gardner, a 6’7”, 235-pound junior forward, took to Twitter to reveal his top five schools on Tuesday (April 6).

Jake Weingarten of Stock Risers reports that the Arkansas and NC State coaching staffs will conduct “final virtual meetings” with the former East Carolina star on Wednesday (April 7). LSU, Miami, and Virginia are reportedly scheduled to do the same on Thursday (April 8).

From there, it appears a decision from Gardner could come at any time. The Wake Forest (N.C.) native averaged 18.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per contest this past season for the Pirates. This included a 21-point, 15-rebound effort versus 2021 Final Four participant Houston.

Gardner started 79 of 81 in a stellar 3-year career at East Carolina, averaging 18 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest. He averaged 7.1 free throws per game and made 74.1% of those attempts.

Virginia has a clear need in the frontcourt, but the Hoos are also targeting backcourt prospects via the transfer portal. One of those potential targets is Charleston Southern grad-transfer Phlandrous Fleming Jr., who plans to announce his next stop on Sunday, April 11.

Arkansas, Clemson, Georgia, Jacksonville State, NC State, Texas A&M, and Western Kentucky were schools listed as offers/interest for Fleming in this tweet posted on April 3. The 6’4”, 210-pound guard earned All-Big South First-Team and Big South Defensive Player of the Year honors each of the past two seasons. He averaged 20.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game this past season.

It’s Official: All Three UVA Seniors Are Moving On

Sam Hauser, Jay Huff, and now Tomas Woldetensae are all moving on from UVA to pursue professional careers. Hauser and Huff announced their decisions earlier in the process, while the news on Woldetensae was first reported Wednesday (April 7) by Jon Rothstein.

This news is not surprising. Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said on his March 24 radio show that he did not expect any of the seniors to return next year. The NCAA allowed all players who participated in the 2020-21 season an extra year of eligibility because of the pandemic, meaning all three could have returned to Charlottesville for another year.

Woldetensae started 22 of 29 games for Virginia in 2019-20, averaging 6.6 points and 2.2 rebounds per contest. He played in 22 games this past season, starting five and averaging 4.4 points and 1.3 rebounds per game.

The native of Bologna, Italy had some notable performances in his two-year Cavalier career, highlighted by his game-winning 3 to beat North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 2019-20.

Virginia Expresses Interest In Eastern Washington’s Tanner Groves

Eastern Washington redshirt junior post Tanner Groves, who drew the attention of the college basketball world with a 35-point performance in a loss to Kansas in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, listed UVA as one of the schools that has expressed interest since he entered the transfer portal.

Portland, Washington State, Stanford, LMU, Texas, Iowa State, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, Cal, BYU, Virginia, Nevada, San Diego State, Maryland, Tulsa, Marshall, Minnesota, Colorado St and Appalachian State were included in Groves’ list, which does not specify which schools have offered at this point.

Groves averaged 17.2 points and 8.0 rebounds per game this season, shooting 56% from the field and 34.9% from 3. He averaged 5.4 PPG as a redshirt sophomore and 2.8 PPG as a redshirt freshman. Groves’ brother, Jacob, is also exploring opportunities via transfer. Jacob is a 6’7”, 185-pound sophomore who averaged 9.3 points per game this past season. It will be interesting to see if the Spokane (WA) natives are looking to play together at their next stop.

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4 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Has any school ever capitalized less on a national championship (two years yet!) in basketball than UVA would appear to be. Several ACC championships, three first-round NBA picks from two years ago, yet no top recruits, and scratching around for transfers and four-one-more “graduate students.”

    1. I agree and have said this in the past. It shouldn’t be this hard to convince top 4 star recruits to come and you should be in the mix with a few 5-star kids that have the grades to get into UVA and succeed.
      Its almost like coach Bennett and their staff need an independent audit on how they recruit these players and what they need in the program to attract better players.
      The excuse we hear from hardcore fans is “If you don’t play defense then you won’t start at UVA “. This theory will keep you competitive during a season but will always get you bounced in the NCAA tourney if you cant outscore teams. The past few years UVA just cant find that kid that can create his own shot and light it up from time to time with 27-33 points in one game.

      I see a lot of guys that may average 15-17 pts max but no stud shooters and you would think he would recruit an elite pure shooter every year. I had high hopes for Jabri Abdur-Rahim and can’t figure out why he left but there needs to be a deep and honest dive with these kids that leave and find out is it just a lack of playing time or style of offense?
      Maybe it’s time for Bennett to open up the offense and make it slightly more attractive to play in for some players that can handle the defense but want a chance to play in a little more high power offense. You have a senior in jay huff at 7ft 1 and 240 lbs who seems like he was at UVA for a decade and never really blew up. He averaged 13 pts and 7 rebounds and at that size with his shooting skills that’s just not good enough.. If I was his weight coach, I would have tried to get him up to 260 lbs and make him a banger that backs people down and plays very forcefully but that never happened.
      I’m not sure it will ever change but if you have a great school, a great arena, and win a few ACC championships and a recent national title you should have no problem fighting off top players that want to come to your school.

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