Virginia Basketball Recruiting: 2023’s Blake Buchanan, Olivia McGhee Choose Hoos

The Virginia men’s basketball team picked up a big commitment during the holiday weekend. Blake Buchanan, a 2023 prospect out of Idaho, announced his decision on Sunday after reportedly commiting late last month.

Buchanan, who chose the Hoos over Gonzaga, announced his choice on Twitter.

The pick-up for the Hoos is significant. With Jayden Gardner and Ben Vander Plas on their final year of eligibility plus the possibility that redshirt junior Francisco Caffaro could finish his college career this season as well, it was important for UVA to land a front court addition entering 2023. This commitment places 6’11” Kadin Shedrick (junior), 6’9″ Isaac Traudt (freshman), and the 6’10” Buchanan (2023) together within a four-year projection. That’s a trio with some inside-outside, high-low, and defensive versatility. That’s a clear frontcourt plan with players that each match the successful style at Virginia.

Buchanan chose UVA out of Lake City High School in Idaho. That’s not far from Gonzaga with roughly a 45-minute drive and the Zags made a late offer to Buchanan. However, it’s also not far from Pullman, Washington, and Tony Bennett’s previous head coaching job at Washington State, which is approximately two hours away. The connections in the area may have helped identify Buchanana early and the Hoos began recruiting him closely last summer. That eventually progressed to an offer in April, an official visit shortly afterward, and a commitment. That coincided with a rapid recruiting rise on the trail the past few months.

The combo forward-center earned a spot on The Idaho Statesman’s 5A first-team all-state list for the second straight year. He averaged 13.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per game. He played at the NBPA Top 100 Camp last week and averaged 8.8 points and 6.2 rebounds in five games. The combination of success at Lake City and on the AAU circuit earned a three-star rating from Rivals and 247Sports, which rates him as the No. 107 prospect in the 2023 class. Both the star rating and ranking are likely to rise in the coming months.

Virginia Women’s Basketball Lands Local Commitment

Tony Bennett wasn’t the only one to get some good news from the recruiting trail in recent days. UVA women’s basketball coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton kept her recruiting streak going when a big announcement landed as well. Olivia McGhee, who spent her first three years of high school at Louisa County High School just outside of Charlottesville, chose the Cavaliers on Thursday.

She announced on Twitter as well.

McGhee chose Virginia over offers from Virginia Tech, Kentucky, and many others. She took official visits to all three schools in late June before making the call for UVA on the final day of the month. A four-star recruit per ESPN, she is currently ranked as the No. 35 prospect in the 2023 class per its HoopGurlz rankings.

The 6’2″ wing averaged 19.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 2.3 steals as a sophomore when Louisa County won the Virginia 4A State Championship. This past season as a junior, she worked through injuries to average 14.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.7 steals. McGhee has played anywhere from the point guard through power forward slot so far in high school. She plans to play her senior season at IMG Academy in Florida.

The pick-up extends the early recruiting success for Coach Mox and the Hoos. Since taking the job in March, she has brought in transfers Sam Brunelle (Notre Dame) and Alexia Smith (Minnesota) as former five-star recruits and signed 2022 high school seniors Yonta Vaughn out of Bishop McNamara High School in Maryland and Cady Pauley out of Milan High School in Missouri. All four are expected to take the floor for the Hoos this season.

First In 2024

Coach Mox also got an early commitment from class of 2024 prospect Breona Hurd. The rising high school junior announced her choice on Twitter.

Hurd first heard from Agugua-Hamilton during her previous head coaching job at Missouri State. The Hoos entered the picture after hiring Coach Mox and her staff. The 6’2″ forward averaged 22.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 2.1 assists as a sophomore. She was a Missouri Class 6 all-state selection. Prep Girls Hoops rates her as the No. 1 prospect in the state.