Intel Report 9/1/22

It’s setting up to be a high-stakes September of recruiting for Virginia. A couple top targets are on commitment watch. And with football season getting underway, that means official visitors.

Buchanan Return Trip

Early home football dates are always prime visit weekends. Virginia opens their football season on Saturday at home against Richmond. Barring a late addition, the only scheduled official visitor is UVA commit Blake Buchanan.

It’ll be the second trip to Charlottesville for the big man from Idaho. He took his junior-year official visit in early May After increased exposure this summer, Buchanan has climbed up to #79 in the latest 247Sports composite class rankings. More importantly, the coaching staff is thrilled to have him on board.

UVA’s next two home games are on September 17th against Old Dominion, and then the homecoming game on October 8th against Louisville. Of course, visits can be scheduled for any time. Those are just the preferred dates.

Last Week’s Visitor

UVA hosted 2023 shooting guard Davin Cosby Jr. on an official visit last weekend. The Richmond native has the Hoos in his Top 7 along with Alabama, Auburn, Wake Forest, NC State, Tennessee, and LSU. He also recently announced that he’ll transfer to Word of God Academy in Raleigh for his senior year.

They’re playing catch up in his recruitment, but it sounds like things went well on his visit. The UVA staff believes they’re in his top two right now along with Wake Forest. I’m skeptical of that, to be honest. He won’t be deciding soon though. If they continue to recruit him hard, they should have a real chance.

Cosby is visiting Alabama this weekend. He has other visits scheduled to NC State, LSU, and Tennessee into October.

Commitment Watch

Hudson Catholic (NJ) guard Elijah Gertrude included Virginia in Top 5 along with Kansas, Rutgers, Seton Hall, aand St. John’s. He’s already taken an official visit to UVA in late July. According to reports, there are upcoming trips to Seton Hall, Kansas, and Rutgers planned.

Bennett is pressing for Gertrude’s commitment now. There’s growing optimism that it could happen despite the planned visits elsewhere, which may not be that firmly set from what I’ve heard. UVA is the heavy favorite right now. These next couple of weeks are important. They’re going all out to get it done during that time. It could soon become a now or never proposition.

Worcester (MA) forward TJ Power is the one everybody is interested in right now. He named Virginia to his top 5 in early August along with Duke, North Carolina, Boston College, and Iowa. Things have been mostly quiet since. It’s believed he’s in decision mode.

There’s been an increase of positive chatter on the UVA side over the last couple of weeks. They seem to believe they’re the frontrunner. At the same time, they ideally would have liked him to commit by now and visit with Buchanan this weekend. So it’s clearly not a slam dunk. The battle is ongoing, mostly with Duke. The UVA staff feels they’re “very close”, but Duke may feel the same way.

We don’t know for sure when either of them will decide. But we’re at the point for both where if it’s going to be UVA it’ll most likely be relatively soon.

Uphill Battle at Point Guard

South Kent (CT) point guard Elmarko Jackson included Virginia in his recently released top 11. It’s looking like he might be one of those recruits who doesn’t advertise his every move. He’s reportedly set an official visit to Kansas for September 23rd, that’s the only one we know of so far. If and when he schedules one to UVA, we’ll certainly find that out.

Totino-Grace (MN) guard Taison Chatman will be at Ohio State this weekend for their big football game against Notre Dame. He has UVA in his Top 5 along with Minnesota, Ohio State, Kansas, and Xavier. The talk is that he’s leaning toward holding out until next Spring to see what new options may come open.

We’re starting to get a better feel for who the serious contenders are for Jackson. While he’ll be hard to get, UVA is at least in the running there. Chatman is more in the longshot category. Neither is expected to decide soon.

Don’t Write Him Off

Jesuit (CA) wing Andrej Stojakovic has UVA in his Top 6 along with Duke, Stanford, UCLA, Oregon, and Texas. He took early visits to UCLA and Stanford. The Bruins are thought to be the favorite. He’s also scheduled upcoming trips to Oregon and Texas.

From what I heard this week, the UVA staff believes they’re in this race. As one person put it, they like that no one is talking about them. Obviously they need to get a visit first, and at best they’re the wildcard of his recruitment. But things are set up for them to potentially have the last visit and take their swing.

Andrej is considered a guard by the way. He would be more in conflict with Gertrude or Cosby than TJ Power. UVA would pursue him regardless of any other current recruits that commit.

Opening Day Nears

The Fall recruiting period opens next Friday. Coaches will be out visiting high schools, which they haven’t been allowed to do since April. I call it opening day because that’s sort of what it is for high school juniors. They become the main attraction.

It’ll be pretty interesting. UVA is used to turning the page completely to juniors in September, Bennett likes to know what he has in one class before focusing on the next. He won’t have that luxury to start off. What we know from the past is the players he goes to see will be their priority recruits. I’ll be digging to find out his every stop. Over the next month or so, the early 2024 table will be set.

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Glad that we’re still sitting well with Gertrude but it’s also good that we at least have a contingency plan in place with Cosby in case things go south. Sounds like it’s about the same for Power, would imagine we’re gonna continue to hear little and then out of nowhere hear a lot. Not getting my hopes up wrt Young Peja but man would he be fun. A lineup of Beeks, Mckneely, Stojakovic, Traudt, and Shedrick in 2023 would be deadly.

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Vague rumors of 2nd basketball visitor this weekend and they are not referring to Gertrude. My guess is Peja.

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Verbal rumors?

Since this is VIP and they’re boys and all, think it’s ok to cite. Rumor is from Houston Wilson and I’m guessing it’s vague and quiet on purpose

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I also haven’t paid much attention to him but two red flags in this evaluation, not explosive athlete and potential defensive liability. Eeek. Maybe would just prefer we lock down Gertrude. Glad he’s still in play though.

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From what HGN said it sounds like we’d want Young Peja even after we hypothetically landed Gertrude, though who knows if he’d be willing to commit here along with Elijah. Also I wouldn’t be too worried about the defense, he probably won’t ever be elite on that end but he’s a decent enough athlete to work well in the packline. Offensively he’s perfect for the B/M and 4 out sets, we’d have so much spacing with him on the floor alongside the guys we’ll be returning in 2023.

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Both big red flags for Hauser as a recruit. If he expects to be one and done, then these are definitely a concern, otherwise I’m ok with it assuming he has enough to offer with his shooting.

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Cosby would be such a good get to play the 3rd guard in a 3-guard lineup. Imagine Reece, McKneely, and Cosby on the court at the same time would be tremendous. I like Gertrude a lot but he is not as ready to play immediately unless his defense is really really stellar.

Cosby also seems like the build type that would really really thrive with the uva strength and conditioning program

What’s the knock on Cosby? Why is he borderline top 100 and not higher? I haven’t seen a real scouting report on him. I know he’s a great shooter with size and defensive ability.

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I don’t think he’s very explosive

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Not explosive, not a crazy shot creator. But he fits so perfectly with Virginia because he can sit in the corner and get plenty of nice open 3s and on the other end be a versatile defensive stopper at the 2-4

He reminds me of Brice Sensabaugh who I was really hoping w w would go after harder

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Not really a knock IMO, but doesn’t have anything that lifts him to the top 50-75 or so. Not an elite athlete, not TMIII like size, etc. Agree with those that say he could fit very well here, but there aren’t a lot of wow moments in his highlights, IMO. Just seems like a very solid player. (Caveat: I’m no scout, of course, just a guy who’s watched some hudl and AAU highlights)

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Cosby more than likely gives us a bigger immediate impact in 2023 as the better fit for our system on paper. But Gertrude has the upside that pays off in his 2nd and 3rd years, if things go well he’s the kind of player TB can develop into a 1st round pick.

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I do think Cosby has a shot to be better than Kaiser, who I think is ranked in that higher tier. But Kaiser has popped in some more obvious ways. @AnonymooseHoo I thought Sensabaugh had a rep as a bucket getter in volume, and I haven’t heard that rep for Cosby.

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My Cosby assessment from like 10 minutes of tape.

Positives:

  • Big guard that can catch & shoot from three
  • Good decision maker and protects the ball
  • Has a chance to be disruptive on defense given size and IQ

Questions:

  • Exaggerated dip in his shooting form may need to be adjusted
  • Lacks the athleticism and handling to beat defenses off the dribble
  • Takes a lot of deep threes early in the shot clock - the game that I watched, they were mostly bad misses (5 -11 from 3P, 4 of the makes were catch & shoot).

I think there is limited upside (thought the same of Kaiser tbh) in taking him. Not an impact player and would certainly sit his first couple of years with our depth and easily replaceable in future classes…

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Cosby is Taine +

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Hope our staff isn’t overly optimistic on Power and Gertrude in terms of where they stand for each. Sounds like next 2 weeks will tell the story

Yeah, the optimism on Cosby that HGN was questioning gave me pause about how good their gauge is on where they stand with other recruits more generally.

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I’ve gotten the sense over the years that they (the staff) generally have an optimistic take on their position with a lot guys. That’s why it’s nice when HGN throws in what he hears from sources outside the program

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