Virginia Adds Ohio’s Ben Vander Plas Via Transfer Portal

Notre Dame coach Mike Brey is fond of saying “get old and stay old” as a barometer for certain college basketball programs and their success. He used that phrase in praise of Virginia once as matter of fact. Well, the Hoos are taking the concept up a notch next season.

The Cavaliers picked up a commitment from Ohio transfer Ben Vander Plas on Saturday, giving them a third fifth-year senior for the 2022-2023 roster. He joins Kihei Clark, who announced his return to UVA for a fifth season earlier this week, and Jayden Gardner, who is expected back for a second year with the Hoos after playing at East Carolina for three years previously. Virginia actually has a fourth player going into his fifth year of college basketball as well, but Francisco Caffaro is a rising senior that still has two years remaining if wanted.

Players have an extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic year freeze put in place by the NCAA in 2020-2021. Vander Plas’ commitment means the Cavaliers will have a trio of seniors with an enormous amount of playing experience in the fold. Clark passed 4,000 minutes played this past season (4,244), while Gardner (3,825) and Vander Plas (3,824) are closing in on that mark themselves.

That’s not all Vander Plas will bring with him from Ohio. He’s a proven scorer at the college level that has averaged double figures in each of the last three years, which included 14.3 points per game last season. Over four years with the Bobcats, the 6’8″, 232-pound forward averaged 12.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.3 steals. Vander Plas has 17 career games of 20+ points, including a 30-point outburst against Miami of Ohio this past season.

The Cavaliers saw up close what Vander Plas could do in the 2021 NCAA Tournament bubble. After going through a week COVID pause just before the event, they faced the Bobcats in the first round and lost 62-58. Vander Plas had 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in that game with 3 3-pointers as part of the line.

Those numbers include inside and outside capability. Vander Plas made 82 shots at the rim and 67 3-pointers last season. He’s made 209 triples in his career. While that’s come on 32.5% shooting from behind the arc, he will easily have the most career 3’s of anyone on the roster next year.

The Wisconsin native also averaged better than 3 assists per game the last two seasons with 3.8 in 2020-2021 and 3.1 in 2021-2022. In a program like Virginia that values getting quality shots, having another playmaking passer on the floor could help the offense be more productive.

The Vander Plas addition seems to send a clear signal that the Cavaliers want to make sure they have depth this coming season. After carrying a roster short of the 13 allowed scholarships last season and using only a seven-man rotation for the majority of the schedule, Virginia will have at least five new faces in place this coming season. In addition to Vander Plas, the Hoos also signed the No. 11 recruiting class in the nation according to 247 Sports. Isaac Traudt, Isaac McKneely, Leon Bond, and Ryan Dunn make up the four-person class.

Those five names join the top six rotation players that are all expected back from this past season. Joining Clark and Gardner are juniors Reece Beekman and Kadin Shedrick and seniors Armaan Franklin and Caffaro. The Hoos finished 21-14 and advanced to the NIT Quarterfinals after missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013 last season.

4 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. What ever happened to the 6’10” guy who was actually listed on the roster for the FSU game but didn’t play? He played as a freshman somewhere in the Midwest- Iowa? Is he in the picture?

  2. Experienced teams seem to outperform younger teams in the NCAA. This will be one of our most experienced teams in recent history. The whole rotation will be 3rd years, 4th years, 5th years and maybe 1 new recruit. This should be quite a fun year.

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