Woodward Academy (College Park, GA) star center Walker Kessler participated in the 2018 NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville last June. At the time, University of Virginia head coach Tony Bennett was just beginning his contact with the now consensus 5-star junior. Bennett offered a scholarship the following month, and this past weekend the 6’11”, 235-pound Kessler returned to Charlottesville for an official visit.
From a basketball perspective, a major question the versatile Kessler was hoping to get answered last weekend was how Bennett envisioned using his talents on the offensive end.
“I went there thinking that I had never seen a stretch big at Virginia,” Kessler said. “I didn’t know if they wanted me to be another Jack Salt and mainly just set screens. Jack Salt is a beast, don’t get me wrong, but I’m just not the same type of player. Coach Bennett dissected all of my film, even film from this past week I didn’t know I had out there. He prioritized all I was looking for in playing style.”
Bennett mentioned former and current Hoos, including Mike Scott, Mike Tobey, De’Andre Hunter, Mamadi Diakite and Jay Huff, when discussing Kessler’s potential role on offense. The Peach State product seemed well satisfied with his potential fit offensively. What did he think of UVA’s defense-first culture, which was on full display in the win over Florida State last Saturday?
“Why they win games so much is because they have a defensive culture,” Kessler said. “I loved it. I went and saw the Florida State game and it definitely was unbelievable. They had something like three shot-clock violations. It was great.”
Additionally, Kessler discussed the Virginia players, the coaches, and Coach Bennett’s final message to him on the official visit.
“All the players were very respectable. Their integrity is very high,” Kessler said. “I could tell that by how hard they play and how hard the defense is to go against. I did get to talk to [Virginia class of 2019 recruit Casey Morsell] and he seemed the exact same way. He was sharp and respectable.”
“The coaching staff is all great men and smart. All the coaches were great,” Kessler said.
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