Observations From NBPA Top 100 Camp At Virginia

The NBPA Top 100 Camp took its annual spin through the John Paul Jones Arena last week and some of the nation’s top-rated basketball recruits, including several with Virginia interest, took part in the event. For the first time after adjusted NCAA regulations, college coaches were allowed to observe for a 24-hour period so the camp’s games were packed heavily into sessions on consecutive days.

While taking photos for the site at the event on those two days, I made some observations of the players in action. Those notes can be read in three parts below. The first section is on recent point guard commitment Reece Beekman. The second section is on a trio of forwards that have received UVA interest to varying degrees so far in the process. The third section provides observations on four players with Cavalier interest and three others I thought stood out as potential Virginia-like players plus quick one-liner style notes on others that I saw less frequently.

As always, I go into this camp with no real knowledge of the players and I haven’t seen highlights on anyone mentioned in this article. This is a short viewing window and therefore incomplete in analysis in that sense, but it’s a good tool for first impressions.

Let’s get to it.

Beekman surveys the court at the 2019 NBPA Top 100 Camp. ~ Photo by Kris Wright

Beekman Makes His Commitment

Long rumored to be a UVA lean, in part because coach Tony Bennett made him an early priority in the 2020 recruiting cycle, Beekman committed to the Cavaliers while in Charlottesville. The Top 100 roster listed Beekman at 6’4” and 170 pounds, which fits right into the ‘big guard’ mold that Bennett (and his father before him dating back to at least Terry Porter) likes.

It’s easy to see how Beekman will fit in Charlottesville otherwise too. He plays under control and makes few turnovers, in part because he limits high risks with passes. He can get to the paint and then find teammates, particularly out of of ball screens. He also showed that he could get shots up around the rim against taller defenders. Beekman finished Top 100 camp with an average of 4.6 assists per game, the second best mark overall. He had 23 assists with 11 turnovers in five games.

Beekman did not shoot the ball all that well from deep during the event. He hit 6 of 18 3-pointers (at the old college distance) for a 33.3% success rate. That’s a number that will need to climb to maximize his potential in UVA’s system. In the limited viewing time, my guess is that he’s a better shooter than that percentage suggests and I didn’t detect a major hitch in his shot or anything like that. Mostly, it looked like he needed better balance and rhythm.

Overall, Beekman averaged 9.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.6 assists in five Top 100 games. That’s the sort of stat-stuffing line Virginia fans have gotten used to with its lead guards over the years.

The area that will need to take the biggest leap in order to compete at Virginia, however, is – you guessed it – on defense. He’s capable, and the 6’4” frame mentioned above should be an asset in the Pack-Line scheme, but took some bad defensive angles at times during camp. He also had a couple of bad habits like going for ungettable steals or taking a false step forward instead of getting back on defense. Nothing glaring here, though. Ultimately, many players at that stage of their career in that type of game setting need work on defense. He has the tools and appeared willing to defend, which usually translates well at Virginia.

Which Forward Would You Take?

(Note: Tennessee wing Keon Johnson remains a Virginia target and even has the Cavaliers in his final three (w/ Ohio State and Tennessee) with a decision expected August