The “Hoonicorn” is returning for one more season. University of Virginia forward Jay Huff has withdrawn his name from the 2020 NBA Draft to spend his final year of eligibility in Charlottesville.
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Dear Wahoo Nation, Thank you for all your support over the past four years. There is no doubt in my mind that we have the best fans in the world! On top of that, I’ve met some of my closest friends, and more importantly the love of my life and soon to be bride. We also got to close out the season in JPJ on a win. It’s been a ride, Charlottesville, and I wouldn’t trade my four years here for anything in the world. But it’s time. As many of you know I’ve been testing the NBA waters, and the process has been interesting. While there have been no in-person workouts, the many interviews that I’ve done have been very positive. I truly think I have a future at the next level. And the deadline to decide is approaching fast. Between lots of prayer with my family and those close to me, I’ve made a decision I’m at peace with. So in the words of Michael Jordan, “I’M BACK.” Can’t wait for one more year in Charlottesville Gotcha.
Huff, a skilled 7’1”, 240-pound forward who has enamored Cavalier fans with thunderous dunks and blocked shots, is coming off his best season under head coach Tony Bennett. The Durham (N.C.) native started 18 of 30 games as a redshirt junior in 2019-20, establishing career-highs in points (8.5), rebounds (6.2), blocks (2.0) and minutes (24.9) per game while helping the Hoos to a 23-7 record that included a 15-5 mark in ACC play.
Huff, who had four double-doubles in 2019-20, closed out the year with three consecutive quality performances in wins over Duke, Miami and Louisville. He came close to recording a triple-double versus the Blue Devils, tallying 15 points, 10 blocks and nine rebounds. Huff had 17 points and nine boards against Miami before ending the season 11 points, five rebounds and two blocks in a victory over Louisville.
— Virginia Men’s Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) March 1, 2020
Virginia’s 2020-21 scholarship roster features two redshirt seniors in Huff and Sam Hauser, a 2019 All Big East Second-Team selection who sat out last season after transferring from Marquette. Huff is one of three returning players to see playing time in all 30 games last season, joining junior point guard Kihei Clark, who started every game, and sophomore wing Casey Morsell.
Virginia 2020-21 Roster Breakdown (Scholarship Players)
Point Guards: Kihei Clark (Jr), Reece Beekman (Fr)
Wings: Sam Hauser (R-Sr), Tomas Woldetensae (Sr), Trey Murphy III (Jr – redshirting), Kody Stattmann (Jr), Justin McKoy (Soph), Casey Morsell (Soph), Jabri Abdur-Rahim (Fr), Carson McCorkle (Fr)
Posts: Jay Huff (R-Sr), Francisco Caffaro (R-Soph), Kadin Shedrick (R-Fr)
Sam Vecenie, who covers the NBA Draft for The Athletic, tweeted some of his thoughts on Huff’s return to UVA as well as his future NBA prospects.
Some quick analysis on Jay Huff officially heading back to Virginia. He has a real case as the best rim protector in college basketball in 2021. The numbers are pretty staggering.
— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) August 1, 2020
2020-21 Roster Updated
Photos and updated heights and weights of all 17 members of Virginia basketball’s 2020-21 squad are up now on VirginiaSports.com (click here to go to the official roster). Some observations …
– Trey Murphy III measures in at 6’9”, 199 pounds. Murphy III grew three or four inches in two years at Rice University, and he told TheSabre.com this spring that he could still be growing. Could 6’10” be in reach for the versatile guard/forward by the time he’s eligible to suit up for the Hoos?
– The 6’8” Hauser is leaner, measuring in at 218 pounds after being listed at 225 last season. In an interview with TheSabre.com in March, Hauser discussed his redshirt season work with UVA Strength & Conditioning Coach Mike Curtis.
“I think I’ve definitely gotten stronger, athletic, quickness … I think the whole nine yards,” Hauser said. “He’s one of the best in the world for a reason. He’s done a great job with me.”
– UVA’s heralded 2020 Class measure in as follows: Guard Jabri Abdur-Rahim – 6’7”, 214 pounds; Point guard Reece Beekman – 6’3”, 174 pounds; Guard Carson McCorkle – 6’3”, 184 pounds.
– 6’11” Kadin Shedrick is two pounds heavier at 216 pounds, while 7’0” Francisco Caffaro is six pounds heavier at 250 pounds. 6’8” Justin McKoy has trimmed down from 221 pounds his first year to 215 pounds.
Class of 2021 Recruiting: Dominoes Continue To Fall
I will be committing August 9th via Instagram and CBS sports pic.twitter.com/1caPMWRgTL
Jalen Warley, a 6’5” combo guard out of Westtown (Norristown, PA), included Virginia in his final 10 in June despite the fact that the Hoos didn’t offer a scholarship until days before he revealed the favorites. Coach Bennett has made a push for the 4-star (Rivals, 247, ESPN) standout, conducting at least two Zoom meetings in the past two months, including one on July 20.
Paul VI (Fairfax, VA) star Trevor Keels remains high on Virginia’s wish list in terms of backcourt prospects. If Warley heads to FSU as predicted, and with Longino and Max Christie (Michigan State) off the board, it will be interesting to see if the Hoos extend a new backcourt offer in 2021 soon. UVA has been hot on the trail of Keels, offering in February of his sophomore year, but the Hoos don’t appear to be top contenders for any other known backcourt targets with offers.
Keels does not seem to be in a hurry to commit, but commitments have been coming fast and furious recently. Duke and Villanova are among the other schools that have offered the 6’5” standout, a Rivals.com 5-star who has said recently he is exploring HBCU opportunities as well. Keels has not publicly narrowed his list.
In frontcourt recruiting news, Virginia has captured the interest of Clackamas (OR) class of 2021 forward Ben Gregg. The 6’9”, 210-pound rising senior told Andrew Nemec of The Oregonian that “Tony Bennett is an amazing coach. He’s probably one of the coolest coaches I’ve talked to. He’s so humble, down to Earth. They are coming off a national championship and you wouldn’t know that. He’s a humble guy. This conversation was a little bit more about basketball, but the last one was about our faith. He talked about his love of God and we talked about my family’s faith.”
Gregg had a Zoom visit with Coach Bennett on Thursday of this week according Nemec’s report, which you can read in full by clicking here. The status of a Virginia offer is in question. Gregg seems very interested in the Hoos; however, a Dead Period that has been in place since the spring (it is scheduled to end August 31, but could be extended) has put a wrench into possible visit plans. According to Nemec’s report, Gregg may not be interested in waiting and could commit soon with Arizona and Oregon seeming like the top contenders.
Indiana forward Trey Kaufman and center Efton Reid are UVA’s top post targets, and the Hoos have offered both. The 6’8” Kaufman recently added an offer from North Carolina. Meanwhile, Reid is preparing for a postgraduate year at IMG Academy in Florida.