Welcome to a BUSY edition of Recruiting Roundup! Plenty of news regarding Virginia basketball recruiting came about in the last week… some good, some not. Let's get right to it.
Williams to North Carolina:
There's no way to spin it, this one stings if you're a fan of the Wahoos.
Shortly after arriving home from his UVa official visit, 2015 shooting guard Kenny Williams announced his commitment to the rival Tar Heels. Williams took an official to UNC last month, but made two separate trips to Charlottesville since, making those close to the Cavalier program feel very good about things. There was plenty of solid intel about UVa's position with the L.C. Bird standout, but it became clear that the source material came from those close to Williams, and not Williams himself.
Williams grew up a North Carolina fan, and the allure of playing for the blue blood program never faded, despite UVa's late push. While Williams was more a luxury than a need, this is a bitter pill to swallow. The fact that he committed so soon after visiting UVa and where he eventually ended up does not make it any easier. Virginia will host North Carolina at John Paul Jones Arena next winter, and that game will be, um, interesting to say the the least.
Not all the news from this weekend was bad.
In addition to Williams, Virginia welcomed 2016 Blue Ridge power forward Mamadi Diakite for his official visit as well. Diakite has been to grounds numerous times in the past year, but this time his parents made the trip to check out the Virginia program. Diakite's parents also accompanied him on official visits to USC and Washington last week, and were able to see Charlottesville before leaving the country. We cannot emphasize enough how big that component is for UVa's chances with the four-star big man.
As far as the visit itself goes, STL received word last night that the trip was a huge success. The visit lasted well into Sunday, and the Hoos showed the Diakites a fantastic time. So what does this mean for Virginia's chances to land the Blue Ridge standout? While there are not a lot of definitive answers on this one, we were told that this was likely Diakite's last official visit, and that process will speed up in a big way in the next month or so.
Official Visit Looming:
Speaking of a speedy process, things are moving extremely quickly with 2016 forward Sam Hauser. How quickly you might ask? Well, Hauser received a UVa offer on April 24th, and has already planned an official visit to the Hook this weekend. Talk about a quick turnaround.
The 6-6, 190 pound forward holds offers from Marquette, Iowa State, and Creighton among others. Hauser has been heavily linked to the home state Marquette program for a while now, but the offer from fellow Wisconsin native Tony Bennett may change things. We're not quite sure if it will head this way at all, but if Hauser does pull the trigger this weekend, it will be interesting to see if/how Virginia continues to persue small forwards for the class of 2016.
Top Five Living:
Even if Virginia eventually lands Hauser, the Cavaliers will obviously still pursue five-star wing V.J. King. While there will be plenty of competition for his majesty's services, King announced his top five schools last week, and the Wahoos made the cut.
King's top five consisted of UVa, UConn, Kentucky, Arizona, and Louisville. The biggest surprise was Ohio State's absence from the list. King formerly attended Akron's St. Vincent-St. Mary's, and the Buckeyes were the first school to extend an offer.
Louisville assistant coach Kenny Johnson has been recruiting the DMV area for years for Indiana, and now UL, making the Cards a formidable opponent in this one.
The Paul VI standout visited UVa last weekend, and the Wahoos have made a big-time surge in this recruitment, but once again, there is still plenty of competition here.
That is all for this week's edition of Recruiting Roundup! See ya!