Mailbag: Projected Starters, backup PG, recruiting etc


Tiny Bennett Pack Line :joy:


UVA is playing catch up to Villanova for George School ¶ point guard Christian Bliss. The hope is to get him back for a visit next month.

The whole “catch up” thing with Bliss. @HoozGotNext - do you think we made a mistake here? Or is this playing out according to plan?

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Oh I don’t know. My view is if you recruit good players who you have a shot at and keep doing it in each phase, it works out. I think he’s really good and it’s pretty clear Bennett is very serious about him, I would say more than any other recruit on the board, so they should have a reasonable shot.

If we gave up every time a recruit didn’t look great a week after offering, it’d be a short list of players.


Thanks, that’s a fair answer.

I guess a more constructive question would have been - “What do you mean by we have catching up to do?” What I mean by that is - why do we need to catch up and what do we need to do to catch up? Maybe the second part of that is really the only part that matters.


Catching up is probably not the best way to say it. Villanova put their work in early when he wasn’t so highly regarded. Partly because he goes to school in their backyard so it was easier for them. In a month or so it will have been equal opportunity.


Ok that’s helpful. It’s not so much that we dropped the ball or something (which is what “catching up” implied to me), and hopefully he can tell what was going on with Nova early work.

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Thoughtful and informative as always. @HoozGotNext is the best in the business.


I think the only perceived drop of the ball was not offering sooner. But that doesnt mean we werent very involved for a long time.

Hopefully Bliss and his bro appreciate the way UVa did things. I think they will


I love the group they’ve put together, especially the core of young talent. We’ll have eight players next season with 3+ years of eligibility left. It should be a fun year watching them grow.

This is where I’m at right now. The first and second years form a core that has a good balance of complementary skills. My hopes are that they can grow as much as possible; obviously I’d love for them to win as much as I can but I don’t have a specific expectation on what number of wins would make for a good season.


For me, off the cuff:

  • with Reece, a good season would be good enough in the regular season to make the tourney, and win one game in the tourney. I think that, given where we have had success (ACC) and where we haven’t (tourney), over the last 3 seasons, winning a game in the tourney is a very important goal. And in 3 of the 4 past seasons, we’ve been out of the top 50 on offense (KenPom), after being always top 50 (mostly top 30) from 2014-19. I’d like to reverse that.
  • without Reece, I agree with you that a good season probably has more to do with individual growth and flashes of what we can expect from the younger guys than with any win or efficiency or postseason metrics.

I have a really hard time seeing us getting back to a top-50 offense with the floor spacing

Biggest factors that will determine this imo:

  • McKneely turning into an all-ACC level player (medium to high confidence of this)
  • Dunn becoming a reliable enough 3-point shooter (medium to low confidence of this)
  • Rohde developing into a “very good” ACC level player (medium to high confidence of this, just not sure it’s by next year)

Yeah, after I typed that, I think top 10 defense is probably a more realistic goal in the near term than top 50 offense. Top 50 offense would require a lot of things to go right.

Re: Dunn - There has been a lot of ink spilled on how Danny Hurley schemed around Andre Jackson Jr being a non-shooter. I wonder if there’s something there, even if RD doesn’t make the leap as a shooter…


Hurley really leveraged Jackson’s driving and passing ability, as well as having dangerous shooters to come off dribble handoffs with Jackson. Making smart cuts is another way they got offensive value from him. Dunn will need to make a step as a ballhandler and passer to be able to do some of that, though he’s already shown some good feel for cutting. I’d like him to also have free rein to crash the offensive glass; I know transition defense will always be a bedrock of our team identity (and I largely think that tradeoff is worth it), but Dunn has really good timing to pair with his athletic gifts to get some offensive rebounds.


Thank you

I was just starting to read the article that the Athletic wrote on this, and I loved this part:

In UConn’s first loss of the season on New Year’s Eve, the Musketeers decided to sag off junior wing Andre Jackson Jr.

This strategy — called dorking — can be unsettling for an offensive player.

I had never heard it called dorking. I love it!


Will be an interesting next 13 days waiting on Reece’s decision.

I’m fine with the team’s prospects either way, but feel like he would be a huge stabilizing factor early on that could prevent 1-2 early season OOC duds that are more likely to happen without him. Would hate for a bad loss or two in Nov/Dec to hurt us in March, but it’s happened before.


Come on down Ty Davis!

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We need *new schemes I think. I believe someone on the board also mentioned hiring new assistant coaches, with new ideas as being a major coup we could use.