Welcome to another edition of Recruiting Roundup! Today, we will take an in-depth look at the recently-completed UVa basketball class of 2016, and talk about a key member of the football class.
On Saturday night, 2016 wing DeAndre Hunter brought a little cheer to an utterly depressed Wahoo nation. Following an official visit to grounds, Hunter ended his recruitment a little bit earlier than many expected, and committed to the Orange and Blue. The four-star small forward had several more official visits lined up, including one to Oklahoma State this month, but decided to make the call for the reigning two-time defending ACC Regular Season Champions.
With Hunter on board, the door is now closed for the class of 2016. Barring any late attrition, Virginia has no more scholarships to offer for the 2016-17 roster.
Including Memphis transfer Austin Nichols, and recently reclassified big man Mamadi Diakite, the 2016-17 squad will feature six newcomers. Four-star/top 100 commits, Hunter, Ty Jerome, and Kyle Guy, along with three-star Jay Huff will look to make an impact in their first seasons in Charlottesville. That is five former or current Top 100 players, to go along with a senior point guard, and loaded core of juniors.
While Virginia will bring in an abundance of talent, only Nichols will likely see a significant role from the get go.
With Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey graduating following this season, Nichols is a virtual lock to slide into the starting lineup. Diakite will likely be coming off of a redshirt season, and will bring new level of athleticism to the front court. However, Diakite will be battling Isaiah Wilkins for playing time. Wilkins will be in his third year in the program, and is a good bet to take a big step forward this upcoming season. In addition, center Jack Salt and power forward Jared Reuter will be battling for minutes in the front court. At 6-11, 190 pounds, Huff will be a nightmare matchup on the perimeter in the future, but the lanky forward will almost certainly redshirt in 2016-17.
The front court is loaded with talent, but the backcourt is even more stocked. London Perrantes will be the team's lone senior, and will be in his fourth-year running the offense. Jerome has been a scoring machine on the AAU circuit this summer, and is two inches taller than Perrantes. Give the New York native a year to learn behind Perrantes and some time with Mike Curtis, and Jerome will be ready to lead the offense come 2017-18.
The wing position is where it gets complicated. The 2/3 positions are basically interchangeable in Tony Bennett's system, and the Wahoos have enough wings to sink a ship. Guy enter the program as arguably the best pure shooter on the roster, but Devon Hall and Darius Thompson will be tough to beat out for minutes. The aforementioned pair will be entering their respective fourth years playing college basketball, and will have a major edge in experience. Hunter's athleticism will make him an attractive option at the '3', but Marial Shayok will likely get the lion's share of the minutes. Shayok will be entering his third year in Bennett's system, and will likely become one of the team's leading scorers this season.
As you can see, this Virginia basketball program is absolutely loaded with talent. The class of 2016 is one of the best in the entire country, and many of the talented prospects will have a chance to learn behind some talented veterans before being relied upon to carry the torch.
While the Hoos came up short against Notre Dame on Saturday, a key member of the class of 2016 seemed to have a great time in his first trip to Charlottesville. Shelby (NC) running back Tre Harbison made the trip to Virginia for the close defeat, and could return to grounds for good much sooner than most expected.
Reports began to circulate that the three-star running back would enroll at UVa in January. On Tuesday night, Harbison tweeted out that he has less than 100 days of high school remaining. With the coaching situation up in the air, the Wahoos would be wise to welcome as many early enrollees as possible. Virginia was able to pry Harbison away from several other FBS suitors, and getting him here in January would be huge for the program.
With place-kicker Holland Corbbett's commitment on Monday, the Hoos are up to 23 pledges for the class of 2016. College programs are only allowed to bring in 25 commits per class, but a potential January enrollment would allow Harbison to count against last year's total.
Not Done at Running Back?
Harbison was not the only running back in the house on Saturday. Florida native LaDerrien Wilson made the trek up north to Scott Stadium. Wilson has offers from Miami and Florida State, but has taken quite a liking to the Wahoos over the past couple of months.
According to the Crystal Ball on 247.com, all six predictions point to Wilson eventually ending up in Charlottesville. The 5-10, 205-pound Wilson left grounds without committing to UVa, but the Hoos are in excellent shape with the three-star 'back.
It is still early, but a Harbison-Wilson one-two punch at running back would be quite a combination for the class of 2016. The Cavaliers added Olamide Zaccheaus and Chris Sharp last year, and appear to be in great shape for years to come at the running back position.
That will do it for this week's edition of Recruiting Roundup. See ya!