STL: Curious Case of UVA Recruiting

I’m going to post this here because it’s drawn a firestorm on twitter. :laughing:

I don’t understand why people are so angry about the article because I don’t know what the author’s point is. He’s basically just stating facts, granted with a negative spin. We didn’t get higher ranked recruits, boo! lol There are also comments praising it…and I’m like which insight do you like because I can’t find any. I don’t know. It’s just sort of depressing to me that this is the level of discourse on the subject from most fans. Serves as s reminder to me that we have a long way to go.


STL has never been a place to find good insight. They’re good at finding fun tweets but that’s about it.


I’m not trying to bash STL at all. They’re a fun site with some good writers. It’s not the place you look for deep stuff. I’m just surprised at the all the reaction to this.


Saw the article too. The title makes you think is gonna be some insightful shit but as you said is just facts. To be fair I glanced over it as it wasnt nearly as interesting or insightful as here


I don’t understand the vitriol and either. That said, these sorts of articles always seem to suggest that coaches misjudged the 2017 and 2018 recruits. Did anyone ever pause to think that we “settled” because higher ranked recruits weren’t buying? Hard to sell top-75 guys if they are looking up and seeing studs ahead of them that will be obstacles to playing time.


The rankings thing is hindsight stuff in a way. Players are found at each stage. Kadin Shedrick for example was unknown until his final July, and ended up highly ranked. So yeah we got a Top 70 or whatever ranked player but we didn’t recruit one.

In 2018, they were mostly focused on finding a PG. That recruitment is the perfect example. Bennett zeroed in on Jahvon Quinerly early. As always we get them by July or never, and that’s Tony’s gamble. He depends on July to find someone new, and just about always does. That new guy became Jared Butler, now one of the best players in the country at Baylor. Unknown then, later highly ranked. Didn’t get him and had to take the Fall settle of Kihei. No disrespect to Clark, but that’s how it was.

Now it’s fair to criticize that process (which the article doesn’t even recognize). You could argue that they should spread attention around more instead of focusing in on one player. The counter? Well focusing in is how we got players like Kyle Guy Ty Jerome Reece Beekman etc.

The other fair criticism is to argue that Bennett needs to read situations and cut bait sooner, in the Spring. Use all three stages, not just two. Basically settle early when choices are better. The counter? You never get the full summer to find gems like Malcolm Brogdon or DeAndre Hunter. In other words, he never would have had the chance for Jared Butler.

it’s all pretty simple. Tony is a high risk recruiter, and pretty good at it. If not for that general strategy, we never would have had most of our recent stars. But it’s going to result in some lows too. Process wise, 2018 was the ultimate strikeout. They’ve tweaked some things since then, but I’ve said it before I hope Tony never quits his gambling ways. We’d be Clemson with a better coach if he did.


Do other programs, say Duke, UNC, Kentucky, etc. extend more offers than CTB? Anecdotally it seems like they do. Also it seems that CTB rarely recruits over “his guys” once in the program, unlike other programs. Maybe that is the propensity for other programs to go after one and dones.

I’m not trying to harp on one player but I wonder if this article gets written if Casey was playing even remotely well.

I’d wager not.

If he was, it might not change our record or outlook but it might make this seem more like the down year it is, and a bump in the road, rather than an indicator that the sky is falling.


Well that’s one of the things that’s been tweaked since '18. They’ve stopped “offering” players that they aren’t prepared to invest their time in. Not many people maker fewer offers than UVA right now.

I think the not recruiting over thing speaks to his model, the “roles” being filled every 2-3 years. As long as the player progresses as expected, he easily stays ahead of the next guy.


You know they’re catching hell when Anna piles on.

this isn’t allowed to be your pinned tweet if you’re going to publish critical articles!! making REAL fans look bad

— anna but call me ab (@ambennett25) January 18, 2020

Seemed like a pretty negative, and maybe accusatory, tone to the article. We won the National Championship less than a year ago and all it took was 3 losses to MMQB the coach that got us there? Feels like CTB should have more goodwill in the bank than that, especially from a site like STL. It wasn’t that long ago (maybe 10-15 years ago) that this current season and the 17/18 recruiting classes would be viewed as above average. Was just looking - think we had 3 separate losing streaks of 3+ games in Leitao’s last year (including a 7 game L drought).

Thomas Rogers made the point as well that the recruiting rankings for the 17/18 classes are in the same ballpark as Joe, Akil, Darion and London. Maybe a few of them didn’t work out as well, but I think CTB has earned the benefit of the doubt.

The article was factual, and no doubt the 17 class could have turned out better in hindsight. But the article just felt dramatic and premature given what’s just happened and who’s coming through next year.


uva b-ball Twitter is something else :joy:


I have to admit back at the time that stuff was going on, umm I was pretty critical myself. In a macro strategic sense, I completely support their plan. But the detailed process in 2018 was a mess. We could see disaster coming. They did too. There was some panic. It got off the rails from the typically very patterned Bennett norm. I felt like Kevin Bacon in the final scene of Animal House a few times.

But yeah to write this now with that tone is sketchy.


Well we can blame recruiting and maybe that’s a part. It still boils down to this. We lost 3 studs off last years team.2 of whom we more or less expected to be back this year. It’s really that simple to me. We’re a Kyle Guy away from a legitimate Final Four contender this year

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The margin for all of this is so razor thin- I think it is incredibly short sighted to evaluate during a transition year when the Hoos are 11-5. Not even at a UNC level! Let’s talk at the end of February.

Again, reaching the ultimate goal in some ways created the current challenge. If the title run doesn’t happen, it is very likely at least Kyle Guy comes back. KG slotted as the second guard on the current squad is a top 3 team. Easily. The top 4 on this squad are all elite role guys.

@HoozGotNext references the near miss of Jared Butler- within the reasonable range of hidden gems CTB has molded over the years. If he commits- also a top 5 team right now as well. The roster at the time showed limited opportunities for immediate PT, with a veteran core- making recruiting challenging. It’s the reality.

The criticism I would levy- though not for lack of effort- is not getting an immediately eligible combo guard transfer this spring. Given the system demands, this is always going to be a challenge. Those types of guys are typically looking for a spot to put up numbers and shine, which the Hoos don’t normally present. This year may have been unique. A Jahaad Proctor, Ryan Woolridge, Admon Gilder type would have been great- though they all had competition and ended up in great spots.

This time next year, we as fans will likely be long past this stretch of angst…


I’ve been rolling this one around in my head for a while. I know the STL team and the author of this article as well. And I have to say I wasnt impressed by it. The whole thing came off as too simplistic and unjustly negative. The digital marketer in me says well done. Its getting clicks and views and Skip Bayless and Stephen A would be proud.

Overall the backlash the team is feeling right now reminds me of what happen to Gary Williams at UMd after their title. He whiffed on a class as well and everyone seemingly forgot the 20 or so yrs of work he put in. 1 i hope we are better than UMd fans (cole fieldhouse was brutal) moreever we need to keep prospective and look big picture.

Risk were taken in recruiting those risk yielded success and some failures. The early departures hurt. It was going to be tough to replace those guys no matter what. Recruiting for all the work is a bit of luck. No one say Casey losing his shot over the fall. If he connects thats enough to change this whole season around. A few pts agaisnt SC BC and Cuse would have gone a long way

As it stands right now things aren’t great in the moment but we are a far cry from the Dave Leito years. Take the lumps on the chin and move on.


Most of the recruiting process for the 2018 class takes place in 2016 and 2017, with most recruits signing early in November of 2017. At that time, we were just beginning a magical season. Dre hadn’t even played a game yet! Kyle and Ty were stepping into much bigger roles, but neither one was pegged as an early NBA draft entrant at the time, so the 2018 class that gets so much heat, in my view, wasn’t really meant to replace those even if they showed out in practice the year before.

Fast forward one year to November 2018 and Dre is showing up on mock drafts. You need to have someone who fills his role. Enter Braxton Key. Combo forward, guards anyone on the floor. The plan to replace Dre was there, even if only for one year. Neither Ty nor Kyle were remotely thought of as early entrants. With the idea that those 2 were coming back, guys that both played 80% of minutes, there isn’t much playing time for guards to step on the floor, so the guard recruiting was light because I think Tony wanted a player that he knew could step on the floor right away and compliment Ty and Kyle the way Kihei does, which turned out to be Casey.

He knew all along that 2020 needed to be a home run and was the time to find ”replacements” for Ty and Kyle as well as a long term forward with scoring punch.

As far as the 2021 class, the roster dictates the need for immediate impact bigs due to the fact that the only remaining bigs on the roster are so far unproven in McKoy (is he even a big?), Caffaro, and Shedrick.

I think in the long run this is just the ebb and flow of the college basketball landscape. You create a plan for what is going to happen, then adjust when things don’t go according to that plan. Relying on experience and “old guys” more often requires the plan to go accordingly or we will hit times when the roster isn’t perfect. With Ty and Kyle, the current roster would be perfect. With one of them, it would be dang close to perfect. With neither of them, it isn’t, and that’s ok. Enjoy the growth and when Kihei becomes a 4th year stud we can look back at this year and how he took on much more than was planned for him to ever take on and how much better he got because of it.


Its a typical news article by todays standards that exaggerates. For instance the first line is this:

“To say the 2019-20 basketball season has gone off the rails and been frustrating to UVA fans would likely be a gross understatement.”

So we are 11-5 and it is a “GROSS UNDERSTATEMENT” that the season has “GONE OFF THE RAILS”. I guess this means we are a total train wreck then… This is a typical news line playing towards insecure fans emotions.

I also take issue with this statement:

“Most of the Bennett apologists will point to the 2016 class that ultimately led to UVa’s national title as the reason for the rough 2017 class. But this only works in hindsight, and recruiting is part of—a critical part of—Bennett’s job.”

Basically the author is implying with this statement that it is Tony Bennett’s who is responsible for our troubles now and the author points to CTB’s failures in recruiting in 2017 and 2018.

So other than those two lines, I largely do agree with the authors facts. Our 2017 and 2018 recruiting classes were our two worst in ratings over the past 10 years. Sure this article lacks the details that you guys have filled in.

Overall, Not everything in it is trash, I do like that he says at the end:

“you can’t look at this year’s team, say “boy they should just score more points,” and not take a critical look at how we ended up with the current roster.”

For me personally, I do see our two down years of recruiting as the primary explanation on why we are 11-5 right now and you guys did a great job of fully explaining why we had those down years.

I am very passionate about UVA Basketball. The administration is running a great program. And for me its free entertainment that other people work very hard to provide me. In no way am I going become bitter or angry about our recruiting misses. Its a crapshoot, sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. But either way, I as a fan am not entitled in a manner that UVA must deliver perfection so that I am always happy. They are allowed to strike out, and I will still love and support the team.


lol I overlooked that part, just assumed he was ignorant of the details honestly. Maybe I’m giving him a pass.


Man people need to just be grateful. This is one of the best programs in the country… teams simply don’t win championships every year lol. There will be fat years and lean years in recruiting. Gotta ride the ups and downs with grace.

One thing from this article tho @HoozGotNext maybe you can shed a little light on - any credence to the claims re: Unite the Right and deterring players from visiting or committing? Did that come up in any examples of recruits who went the other way that you know of? That feels like a bit of a stretch from my POV and maybe taking some undue liberties by the author. Cville is not some racist town.