Virginia Basketball Recruiting Notes: Recapping Recent News

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There has been a flurry of Virginia basketball-related recruiting activity in recent weeks, with some targets making their commitments while others announcing new plans for the upcoming school year. Here is the latest on the Virginia basketball recruiting front.

Five-Star Houstan Reclassifies

Montverde Academy (Montverde, FL) wing Caleb Houstan told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony that he is reclassifying from the class of 2022 to the class of 2021. The 6’8” prospect has a scholarship offer from Virginia. Head coach Tony Bennett offered well before last week’s news, in fact.

Houstan, a consensus 5-star prospect, immediately claimed a top spot in class of 2021 rankings – 247Sports ranks him no. 7 overall in the nation, Rivals has him at no. 9, and ESPN has him at no. 10.

Virginia’s standing with Houstan is unclear; however, I fully expect the scholarship still stands despite the reclassification. After all, UVA has three open scholarship spots available and is still awaiting its first commitment. According to Givony, the Mississauga (Ontario, Canada) native is not in a rush to make a commitment.

Houstan’s reclassification isn’t the only news among those prospects Virginia has offered. Five-star Kendall Brown, a rising senior out of Sunrise Christian (KS), verbally committed to Baylor. Virginia made the 6’7” forward’s top 10 but was not a top contender.

Germantown Academy (Fort Washington, PA) guard Jordan Longino, who is also a rising senior, plans to announce his college decision on Thursday (July 23) at 8 p.m. Villanova is the consensus favorite according to 247Sports and Rivals experts.

Longino, a 6’4” guard with plus 3-point shooting ability, included UVA as one of the schools he wanted to visit once the Dead Period expired. Unfortunately, because of coronavirus concerns that period was extended through the end of August. To our knowledge Longino never made a trip to Charlottesville.

2021 Update

Virginia has three scholarship spots available in the 2021-22 season. The projected roster is as follows:

Point Guards – Kihei Clark (Sr), Reece Beekman (Soph)

Wings – Kody Stattmann (Sr), Casey Morsell (Jr), Jabri Abdur-Rahim (Soph), Carson McCorkle (Soph)

Combo Forwards – Trey Murphy III (R-Jr), Justin McKoy (Jr)

Posts – Papi Caffaro (R-Jr), Kadin Shedrick (R-Soph)

Factoring in Houstan’s move, we have confirmed 12 scholarship offers given out by the Hoos in the class of 2021. Of the 12 …

– Four prospects will have committed elsewhere should Longino follow through with his commitment plans and assuming Villanova is the choice. In addition to Brown and Longino, guard Max Christie has committed to Michigan State and forward Caleb Furst has pledged to Purdue.

– UVA is not actively pursuing point guard Carter Whitt, and the Hoos and forward DaRon Holmes II appear to have gone their separate ways as well.

– Five-star forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. of Hamilton (Sussex, WI) has included Virginia in his top 10 list. However, at this point I see UVA as a longshot for him. UVA may be in the longshot category for Houstan as well.

– Four prospects appear to be Virginia’s best bets right now in the class of 2021: Guard Trevor Keels, guard Jalen Warley, power forward Trey Kaufman, and center Efton Reid.

Keels, a 6’5”, 210-pound guard out of Paul VI (Fairfax, VA), received a scholarship offer from Virginia during his sophomore year (February of 2019). He has been a top target of Tony Bennett’s ever since (if not before). Duke, Georgetown, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio State, Villanova and Virginia are among the high-major Division 1 offers he is considering. Keels has noted recently, including an interview below with Sports Stars of Tomorrow, that he is seriously considering HBCU schools as well. More specifically, HBCU programs Hampton, Howard, Norfolk State and Texas Southern were mentioned in this Washington Post article on Keels.

Keels has taken official visits to Virginia and Ohio State. He mentions in the interview above that he wants to visit more schools in person before narrowing his list, an indication that a decision may not come until fall at the earliest. The Recruiting Dead Period runs through August 31 and could be extended depending on what happens with the coronavirus. Prospects can visit schools on their own but cannot have any contact with coaches while on campus. The only allowed contact between coaches and prospects during this time is over the phone or electronically (Zoom, Twitter, Skype, etc).

Warley, a 6’5” guard out of Westtown (Norristown, PA), released a top 10 of Florida State, LSU, Louisville, Maryland, Memphis, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, and Virginia on June 7. Coach Bennett has made a push over the course of the past two months, extending a scholarship offer on June 3. According to the recruiting website StockRisers.com, Bennett met virtually with Warley on June 11 and again earlier this week.

Silver Creek (Sellersburg, IN) 4-star prospect Trey Kaufman was offered by Coach Bennett on a Zoom meeting on April 24 of this year. Indiana, Louisville, and Purdue are among the competitors for the 6’8”, 215-pound power forward, who averaged almost 26 points and 9.6 rebounds per game as a junior. He was named the 2020 Gatorade Player of the Year in Indiana.

Discussing his recruitment in this article by the Herald Bulletin, Kaufman said: “All the schools that offered me, I think they really have a fair chance right now. I tell a lot of people really the biggest thing for me is to developing, whatever team can make me the best player I can be, that’s the number one thing I want in the school.”

Kaufman may be waiting to take in-person visits before making his college commitment.

Reid, a 7’0” prospect out of Richmond (VA), made news recently when he announced he was graduating from The Steward School in Richmond and would be enrolling at IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL) for a postgraduate year. The key news here was that Reid was staying in the class of 2021. Virginia, which has zero scholarships available in the 2020-21 season, would have been eliminated had the skilled big man decided to enroll in college this fall.

Tony Bennett offered Reid in June of 2019 and has been in hot pursuit over the past year, making several visits to the Richmond school before the coronavirus shutdown. Reid shows no sign of committing anytime soon. It is good news that Reid is staying in 2021, but it also seems evident that the 4-star prospect is keeping his options open.

More Basketball Recruiting Notes

– Highland (Warrenton, VA) class of 2021 guard Angelo Brizzi announced a top eight of Arizona, California, Colorado, Dartmouth, Davidson, Michigan, Northwestern, and Villanova.

According to Rivals and 247Sports, Villanova is trending as the pick for the 6’3” point guard, a skilled and crafty offensive player with plus shooting ability. Virginia has not offered. The Hoos were in contact at one point, though our most recent information indicated the staff was focusing on other prospects.

– Four-star class of 2021 forward Jeremy Sochan, a native of Germany, verbally committed to Baylor. Virginia reportedly was interested but had not offered. Meanwhile, another 4-star forward, Ben Gregg of Clackamas (OR), met with Virginia staff virtually last week according to StockRisers.com. The 6’8”, 210-pound Gregg, who is rated a 4-star by Rivals and 247Sports, claims offers from Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State and Virginia Tech, among others. UVA is evaluating at this point.

– Charlottesville native Justin Taylor, a 6’5” rising junior out of St. Anne’s-Belfield, has added Syracuse to his offer list. The sharpshooting wing now boasts offers from Butler, Georgetown, Marquette, Maryland, NC State, St. Joseph’s, Syracuse and Virginia Tech, among others.

As reported here on TheSabre, Virginia has not offered but is very much interested in Taylor.

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