Virginia was named as a finalist for a pair of 2023 recruits last week. The latest with those guys. And with only about six weeks left before the early signing period, the coaching staff is eyeing potential new targets as well.
Virginia is attempting to do something they haven’t often done under Bennett. In the last 10 years, only once have they gotten a Fall commitment from a senior after September. That came from Kihei Clark, who wasn’t offered until October. With the early signing period only about 6 weeks away now, they’re trying to break that trend.
Typically, there hasn’t even been much activity involving seniors past mid-September. It’s impacting early 2024 recruiting to an extent, as juniors haven’t yet been the main focus for Bennett. Not in a way that will matter in the long run, but just more in terms of how we look at things. The activity so far isn’t as meaningful as we’re used to. I’ll get into that further down.
Two Left on the Board
With Davin Cosby Jr. committing to Alabama on Saturday, there are only two 2023 recruits left with current scholarship offers.
South Kent (CT) point guard Elmarko Jackson released his top 7 last week. Virginia made the list along with Kansas, UCLA, Miami, Villanova, Texas, and Notre Dame. He’s taken recent official visits to Miami and Kansas. Texas gets their turn this weekend, then he has a late October visit set for Notre Dame. UVA is supposed to get the last remaining visit, but the date hasn’t been set yet.
I do expect he’ll use all five official visits, including a trip to UVA, before this is over. Texas has come on strong. Miami is a very real contender. Those are probably the top two right now. But even if that is the case, it’s not firm at all. I would put UVA next. Assuming they get him on grounds as expected, they’ll have a real shot.
UVA’s angle with him is all about opportunity. He would have a great chance at starting his first year, then would inherit the lead guard role in his second year. .Not everyone is recruiting him as their future point guard like that. They’ll need to overcome concerns about style of play. And NIL could be a factor too. Texas and Miami are major players in that arena.
There hasn’t been anything new on the Andrej Stojakovic front for a while. The Jesuit (CA) wing has visited all the relevant finalists except UVA now. UCLA remains as the perceived favorite. He’s planning to decide in October. There’s still hope of getting him to visit, but time is starting to run short.
Eyeing Other Guards
This has been the story of the last couple weeks, as coaches have gone back out on the road. They’re looking around at available 2023 recruits, specifically guys that can play the point if things don’t turn in their favor with Elmarko Jackson.
GW III Fading
Chaminade Julienne (OH) combo guard George Washington III named Virginia to his top five last week. The other finalists are Dayton, Wake Forest, Louisville, and Michigan. UVA coaches have been to see the former Ohio State commit twice in recent weeks, including Bennett once.
Despite being named as a finalist, they haven’t offered him a scholarship yet. That may change, and I wouldn’t write him off, but I’ve heard it seems unlikely that he’ll end up at UVA. I think it’s mostly a hangup with the roster and what his role would be long term. The other finalists have fewer young guards to compete with.
We’ll keep monitoring, as things could change. He’s set his first visit to Michigan for October 8th.
Renewed Interest in DeMary
Combine Academy (NC) point guard Silas DeMary Jr. is reemerging as a player of interest. He was heavily evaluated over the summer. Now they’re back for another look. Bennett has been down there for an open gym, and then Coach Williford last week. .
The reason new schools are coming to see DeMary is because there’s an opportunity. NC State, considered the favorite, hasn’t been able to close the deal yet. Southern Cal, VCU, and Wake Forest are the other main contenders. It seems like a situation where the right newcomer could pull it off, which is unusual this time of year with a player of his status.
DeMary is a true point guard Great with the ball, solid decision-maker, and terrific defensively. The concern is perimeter shooting. He shot really well from three-point range with his high school team, but poorly in AAU. it’s all on low-volume though, as he hasn’t needed to rely on his jumper that much. That would change in college.
Again, no scholarship offer yet. If they’re going to move on him, it’ll need to be very soon. They won’t have the luxury of waiting on a verdict from Elmarko. .
Carr Grabs Attention
A Virginia assistant stopped by Link Academy in Missouri last week. They’re interested in a couple 2024 players there, but the main draw was 2023 combo guard Cameron Carr. He recently visited Northwestern and has an upcoming trip scheduled to his hometown school Kansas State. Those seem to be the two main contenders right now. There are reports of other new interests too though, including Tennessee.
He’s a long and very thin 6’4 or so. This summer, he was a role player on a stacked AAU team that won the Peach Jam championship. Virginia coaches saw him play several times while recruiting his teammate Trey Green. He’s a good athlete, shoots it at a solid clip, and he’s comfortable running the point. I think coaches see a versatile guy with long-term potential.
Things aren’t as far along with Carr, but he does seem to be the one they intend on following up on further.
2024 Names to Know
Virginia hasn’t dived fully into 2024 recruiting yet. Even the few recruits Bennett has gone to see in recent weeks were convenient stops while in the area for seniors. Usually by now, it’s clear who the priority recruits are based on that activity. It’ll take a little bit longer than we’re used to for the early table to be set.
Jarin Stevenson PF Seaforth (NC). Coach Williford was down to see him last week. It’s telling that Bennett hasn’t yet though. Unless something happens to change things, like UNC snagging a top 2023 forward recruit, he’ll almost surely end up a Tar Heel.
Caleb Williams SF Sidwell (DC). UVA is in good shape with him early. Villanova looks like the top competition. The field is pretty well set too. I expect he’ll choose someone from the current list, maybe by next Spring. Williford was there to see him on opening day.
Dedan Thomas Jr PG Liberty (NV). Reclass candidate. UVA is trying to pick things up with him in hopes of getting a visit this Fall or Winter. Coach Getter has been out to see him. .Gonzaga, Arizona, and UCLA are all after him.
Jaeden Mustaf SG Carmel Christian (NC). The talk is that Georgetown is the favorite for the Maryland native, and they’re trying to close him out early… Bennett stopped by his school recently.
Jayden Harris SG Salisbury (NC). Bennett also saw him while in the area. Too early to have much of a read. Tennessee and Houston will be seriously involved.
Isaiah Abraham SF Paul VI (VA). I think UVA is the early favorite. But his list will probably continue to grow. Williford has been up to see him.
Rakease Passmore SF Combine (NC). Most recent offer after Benentt attended their open gym. It looks like he’ll be a very longshot.
Ty Davis PG Mountain Brook (AL) Was heavily watched by Bennett this summer. Seems to be the most likely PG recruit in the class. No one on staff has gone that far south yet, but they’ll get to him.
Travis Perry PG Lyon County (KY) Another potential PG target in waiting. They’ve been watching him since two summers ago. Coach Getter went to his golf tournament recently, an all-time recruiting move.
Daniel Freitag PG Jefferson (MN). Two-sport star is also a top football recruit. Getter was in to see him last week. Along with the two above, those are the ‘point guards to watch.
Nick Janowski CG Pewaukee (WI). UVA is really more involved with him than the guards they’ve offered. Could be hard to get away from the midwest though. Getter was in for him last week.
Kon Knueppel SF Lutheran (WI). Tremendously skilled wing player figures to be one UVA goes after. Getter saw him last week too.
Tyler Betsey SF St. Thomas More (CT). UVA saw a lot of him this summer. Coach Vandross was in to check him out last week. He’s already very popular, and getting blue-blood interest.
Raleigh Burgess PF Sycamore (OH). Bennett stopped in to see him while in Ohio last week. True big man is a popular Big Ten target.