It’s been a turbulent week for UVA in recruiting. It looks like they’ll miss out on one player who’s set to announce. And things are getting harder with several other key recruits as they’ve picked up big new offers. Meanwhile, the coaching staff is gearing up for the year’s final live period.
After five long days on the road last week, the Virginia coaching staff did not make any new scholarship offers. I’ve been told there were a couple 2023 recruits that impressed Bennett, but he wants to see more of them first along with some new players that the assistants have identified.
One of the players they were seriously considering has committed elsewhere. Etowah (GA) point guard Brandon Rechsteiner is expected to announce his choice on Friday. Virginia Tech is considered the favorite. I’m not sure if UVA would have offered. The staff was high on him, but he didn’t play very well last week in front of Bennett.
For 2024, it’s pretty clear there are players that have essentially earned their offers from UVA. But whether or not they’re recruited largely depends on what happens with 2023 recruits. So it’s sort of an awkward middle time for them. I do think we’ll see some offers go out after this weekend though.
The Top Targets
Things change quickly in July. UVAs key targets have picked up some game-changing offers this week. But these are the guys they’re still most focused on.
A week ago, there was real hope of Virginia closing the deal with Worcester (MA) forward TJ Power soon. It’s a whole different equation now. Duke, North Carolina, and Kansas all offered this week. From what I gather, UVA still believes they have a good chance with him. Look for Bennett to be right back courtside for him in Augusta this week. But his recruitment is almost surely headed into the fall now.
Hudson Catholic (NJ) guard Elijah Gertrude also has an offer from Kansas now. That may not actually be a big deal on its own, we’ll see. Kansas makes a lot of offers to try to keep guys in play, while they figure out who they really want. UVA is in a very good spot with him, the best of anyone with an offer. We’ll see how things look after Peach Jam though. He plans to take an official visit to Charlottesville on July 29th.
Elmarko Jackson out of South Kent (CT) remains the top target at point guard. UCLA and Louisville joined his long list of offers this week. Obviously, Bennett spent a lot of time checking out other point guards last week. I don’t believe they expect to get Jackson exactly, but there’s a chance. Unless and until another point guard emerges, they’ll stay in full pursuit.
At this point, the goal is to get one guard and one forward in the 2023 class to go along with big man Blake Buchanan. They’re open to two guards, but it’s plain to see they’re also laying the groundwork to push one of those spots back to 2024 if it doesn’t happen that way.
Pewaukee (WI) forward Milan Momcilovic is expected to announce his college choice on Saturday. All signs suggest that Iowa State will be the pick. I don’t know that for certain though. Power has been the player they focused more on for that spot, but they did try to make a strong push at the end.
Virginia coaches haven’t expected to get Bishop Ireton (VA) wing Jamie Kaiser for a while. They’ve continued to put forth a minimal effort, but even that may be ending now. Once Elijah Gertrude emerged, he became their top choice. Maryland thinks they’re about to get Kaiser. He’s sort of kept them as a choice in his back pocket while seeing what his other options might be.
We’ve always known Word of God (NC) guard Freddie Dilione would be hard to get. It’s becoming really obvious now, as he’s getting more attention. UVA is still involved, definitely not writing him off. But he more or less said Tennessee and VCU are his top two right now. Both programs that have had similar guards pass through recently on a quick path to the NBA. And he no doubt will continue to attract other high profile offers.
And we can pretty well write off Totino-Grace (MN) guard Taison Chatman. He said he’ll release a top 5 soon. Even if UVA is included, they don’t seem to actually be in pursuit anymore. Bennett didn’t see him last week.
The Final Round
Coaches will be back out on Wednesday for another five-day long live period, the last of the year. As always, the three major AAU circuits sponsored by shoe companies are the centers of action.
This week won’t be as predictable. Bennett won’t spread himself around as evenly. He’ll focus on his top targets, while spending more time evaluating new ones. We’ll see new names emerge, players that the assistants took notice of last week or even ones they find on the fly.
There are always surprises during the last live period. And watch out for the Saturday night special. It’s been almost an annual tradition, Bennett courtside for a new player they’ve been sitting on who’ll soon be a priority recruit, Ryan Dunn a year ago. DeAndre Hunter was that guy once upon a time.
The Under Armour Finals are in Chicago this week. The plan is for Tony Bennett and assistant Orlando Vandross to start off there. UVA commit Blake Buchanan will look to send his AAU career out on a high note.
Elmarko Jackson is a reason for Bennett starting there. But he also wants another look at two guys they’ve been evaluating, Combine (NC) point guard Silas Demary and Chestnut Hill ¶ forward Alassane Amadou. All of those guys are Coach Vandross’s recruits. Bennett likes to have the lead recruiter there when he’s giving these final reviews.
Watch out for 2024 Mountain Brook (AL) point guard Ty Davis. I think they’ll recruit him no matter what. But if they end up passing on a point guard in ‘23, things could move quickly with him.
The biggest event of the season is Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta, South Carolina. It’s the championship tournament. of Nike’s EYBL. Two of UVA’s top targets, TJ Power and Elijah Gertrude will be there. Coach Williford is starting off there, with Bennett sure to join him to shadow those two guys.
Link Academy (MO) point guard Trey Green is still on the radar. And a new one, Whitney Young (IL) point guard Dalen Davis. He was one of last week’s breakout players. Duncanville (TX) forward Ashton Hardaway, Penny’s son, will get a look too.
Peach Jam will be the ultimate buffett for 2024 evaluation this week. Their 16U division is stocked with players UVA is interested in seeing. Seaforth (NC) forward Jarin Stevenson remains the only player offered in that class so far. He’ll be there. As will Pewaukee (WI) guard Nick Janowski, who will almost surely join the offer list soon.
The Adidas circuit is in Seal Beach, California this week. UVA assistant Kyle Getter is expected to be stationed there. Among the current targets, Freddie Dilione is the top remaining Adidas player.
There’s a couple other 2023s of interest. They saw Lebanon (TN) forward Jarred Hall last week. And Benedictine (VA) guard Davin Cosby was one of the real breakout players last week, picking up several high major offers.
On the 2024 front, Combine (NC) wing Rakease Passmore seems certain to be a UVA recruit.
Live periods are always important in July. This is an especially big week for the UVA staff. They’re very aware of the new offers their recruits have received, and how that changes things. To get what they were hoping for in the 2023 class, they’ll probably need to find a new recruit or two this week. It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with. We’ll have it covered on LRA as always