With the offseason now in full bloom for the Virginia Cavaliers, it is time to start looking to the future to see what the team could look like next season and in the seasons beyond that.
As a refresher, the NCAA has placed a maximum scholarship limit of 13 full scholarships to be given out by any team.
Due to COVID-19 having such a strong impact on the NCAA sporting landscape over the last year, the NCAA has granted an extra year of eligibility to any player. If a player comes back for their extra year after their senior year, their scholarship is not counted against the school’s 13. This is going to wreak havoc on anyone trying to project what a team might look like going forward (Ts and Ps, please).
The other thing to remember is the NCAA is beginning to institute a one-time transfer policy allowing any player to transfer from one school to another and not have to sit out a year. The ACC has even gotten behind this and eliminated its intraconference transfer rule, allowing players to transfer from one ACC school to another without having to sit out a season.
In all, this means any article or information you read about a team could be irrelevant within 24 hours.
Here’s how UVA’s basketball team breaks down:
Seniors - Jay Huff, Sam Hauser, Tomas Woldetensae
Jay Huff, Sam Hauser, and Tomas Woldetensae were all viewed in this 2020-2021 season as seniors. All could come back and compete for UVA again if they wish and if the school and staff will allow them. However, Huff has already been in Charlottesville for five years, while Hauser and Woldetensae could be ready to move on to pursue a pro career. It’s possible one or all of them return for another year, but it is more likely that they have all played their final days for UVA.
Juniors - Kihei Clark, Kody Stattmann, Trey Murphy III, Francisco Caffaro
Kihei has obviously been a mainstay in the UVA rotation since he arrived on grounds a few years ago and Murphy was immediately inserted into the starting lineup this season after arriving from Rice. Stattmann missed most of this past season with a lingering illness that kept him off the floor, and Caffaro only played a small role in relieving Huff.
It is nearly certain Kihei will return to UVA next season. He has been the starting point guard for three seasons now and it would seem likely for him to keep that role moving forward.
There have been rumblings of Murphy being a possible NBA draft choice given his potential and shooting prowess. It’s possible, but doesn’t seem likely.
If there were to be transfers from this group it would seem to come from Stattmann or Cafarro. The two international players on the roster saw their roles diminish this past season for one reason or another and with other players in their same roles behind them, it would not surprise anyone if they pursued other opportunities.
Sophomores - Justin McKoy, Kadin Shedrick, Casey Morsell
Perhaps no group was hit harder by the lack of offseason workouts than this. Morsell and McKoy showed minor flashes their freshmen seasons and bigger flashes this season, but it seemed something was missing and it was likely the lack of the offseason. Most expected Shedrick to take a big step forward this past season and be dynamic coming off the bench to replace Huff. A lingering illness kept him off the floor most of the season and he did not play at all after the Florida State game in mid-February.
All three seem to have bright futures and large roles to play starting next season. This offseason could be huge for all three and could produce big results for UVA moving forward.
Freshmen - Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Reece Beekman, Carson McCorkle
Abdur-Rahim is considered one of the highest recruits in the Bennett era, but coming off an injury his senior year of high school, even he said he was expecting this to be an improvement year. Likely another player who suffered due to the lack of offseason workouts and the ability to fully grasp the complex Pack Line defense, he ended up only playing 32 minutes on the season, only nine of which came during ACC play.
McCorkle also only played nine minutes during ACC play this season, but most expected a redshirt season for the Freshman. Hopefully he can become the knock down shooter to replace Kyle Guy the team has lacked the last two years.
Beekman came in and stepped right into a starting guard role. He played lockdown defense, which gets you on the court at UVA. He appeared timid with his shot most of the year and only shot 25% from three. If he is able to take a more aggressive role moving forward, it could allow UVA to open the offense up more.
2021 Recruiting Class - Taine Murray
The 6’5 shooting guard from New Zealand committed to UVA over offers from Creighton, Maryland, Purdue, and others. Currently ranked 83 in the 247 Composite for the Class of ‘21, he could step into the Hauser role next year if he can comprehend the defense and knock down shots many expect him to.
UVA is also involved in other players, namely 5* shooting guard from Fairfax, Trevor Keels who will announce his commitment next month. UVA has recruited Keels for years now, but many feel he is destined for Villanova or Duke.
The other players to come in next year will likely be by way of the transfer portal. UVA has grown accustomed to welcoming in players from other schools (Murphy and Hauser), and with the unrestricted transfer rules coming into play, UVA could be even more active.
2022 Recruiting Class - Isaac McKneely
McKneely chose UVA over a plethora of Big Ten suiters and home-state team, West Virginia. The 6’4 combo guard is currently ranked 51st in the 247 Composite for the 2022 class and he could help Beekman run the floor when he gets to Charlottesville.
UVA is also involved in countless other players given the time between now and when they will graduate. Hopefully the grassroots circuit is back on this summer allowing UVA to watch and recruit players in person.
One name to keep an eye on is 6’9 PF Isaac Traudt, from Nebraska. UVA has been recruiting Traudt hard the last few months and hoping to make the 2022 class the Isaac x 2 class.
Here is what the scholarship projections look like currently:
|Trey Murphy III||X||X|