The Virginia Cavaliers men’s basketball team played its annual Blue-White scrimmage this afternoon, so we’ve got five takeaways from the matchup along with the full stats down below. The final score was 64-54, Blue team. But with players changing teams throughout the contest, that doesn’t mean much. For a full play-by-play from the game, check out our game story here.
These guys can shoot
On the entire game, UVA combined to shoot 15-32 (46.8%) from three-point range. After the ‘Hoos made just 32.3% of its long balls last year, that’s marked improvement and a sign of the impact of Isaac McKneely (3-7), Isaac Traudt (4-5), and Ben Vander Plas (3-4) joining the team. Frankly, that number could’ve been a lot higher as McKneely and Traudt in particular had a few threes go in and out.
Additionally, Armaan Franklin was far better from the perimeter in this game than he was last season as he went 4-6 from deep. After spending part of the summer with former Wahoo Justin Anderson down in Miami working on his game, Franklin will be hoping for more consistency this season as a shooter. In this contest, he looked much better as a catch-and-shoot shooter which is what he specifically struggled with in 2021-2022.
Traudt, McKneely, and Vander Plas each provide real threats as catch and shoot guys as well. Assuming they each get meaningful minutes this season, this team is going to be much better at spreading the floor. Taine Murray is another guy to watch as, while he went 1-4 in the scrimmage from deep, he’s got the potential to make shots as well.
Freshmen make an immediate impact
All four of Virginia’s incoming freshmen flashed their potential in the Blue-White scrimmage, making it obvious why this class has been touted as Virginia’s best in over half a decade.
Isaac McKneely started hot, knocking down two early triples. He may be the best set shooter on the team, and looked confident with his handle when asked to playmaker as a secondary ball-handler. He finished the game with 9 points on 3-10 shooting (3-7 from three).
Meanwhile, Isaac Traudt couldn’t miss from beyond the arc. The Nebraska product knocked down four of his five attempts from beyond the arc en route to his 12 points, with the only miss coming off a tough step-back triple as the shot clock expired. Traudt exited the game early with what appeared to be a lower left leg injury, but while on the floor looked like an incredibly valuable offensive weapon.
Ryan Dunn showcased the two-way potential and athleticism that he’ll bring to the squad. Dunn came up with a nice block on an Isaac McKneely drive in the first half and a steal in the second. On offense, he excelled as a finisher in transition, picking up 10 points on 5-7 shooting from the field. His lone three-point attempt didn’t fall, but he looked confident taking it — a great sign for the future.
Leon Bond’s 10 points were another encouraging sign for the freshmen. He was particularly good in transition and connected with Reece Beekman for a number of scores. He’s smooth when he’s got space to operate and, while he’ll need to be better at limiting turnovers when handling in settled offense, there were a few eyebrow-raising plays for him as a midrange jump-shooter and as a passer as he found a few lanes which typically would only be exploited by point guards. It’s TBD if he redshirts this season or not and the depth this team has means he’d have to beat out a lot of guys for minutes. But there’s potential that he could break his way into the rotation in his first season.
Wing scoring looks much-improved
Out of Virginia’s standard continuity offense, the “movers” occasionally get opportunities to run pick-and-rolls on the wing. Last season, these chances usually resulted in nothing, with the ball being swung back around to the top of the key and the offense reset.
Things looked a lot different at the Blue-White scrimmage, with much more aggressive play on the wings by the ‘Hoos. One possession in the third quarter stuck out: Isaac McKneely received a screen from Ben Vander Plas, drove assertively towards the center of the lane, and swung the ball to a popping BVP for an open three, which he knocked down.
It was a microcosm of a game where Virginia’s wings — returnees and newcomers alike — looked to attack. Armaan Franklin finished with 14 points, Taine Murray added 12, and the freshman trio of McKneely, Dunn, and Bond combined for another 29.
Kihei Clark and Reece Beekman create for others, struggle to score
Kihei Clark looked the part of a veteran entering his fifth season in the Blue-White scrimmage, totally controlling the pace of the game for the Blue team. While he didn’t make a shot from the field, he wasn’t really looking to score; instead, he got his teammates involved to the tune of 12 assists, and easily could’ve had more if a few wide open looks had gone down.
When the Blue team moved to a switch-everything small-ball lineup late in the fourth quarter, Clark immediately snagged two heads-up passing lane steals, a great example of why the coaching staff wants him on the floor in big spots. The fifth-year point guard will be a stabilizing force for the ‘Hoos while on the court this year, though when the regular season begins he’ll hopefully be more assertive seeking his own shot.
Similarly to how Clark played, Reece Beekman finished with just four points on 2-10 shooting, but he still found other ways to impact the game with seven assists, two steals, and a block.
This stat-line probably looks a bit too familiar for Wahoo fans. Granted, it was good to see Beekman be aggressive looking for his own shot a bit, but going 2-10 from the floor isn’t what he would’ve been hoping before the scrimmage. He wasn’t exactly blowing by guys offensively when he was driving the lane and struggled to finish through contact.
Granted, this is just one random preseason intra-squad scrimmage. But if you were looking for signs of a Beekman emergence from this game, there weren’t too many that indicated a big jump from last season.
Kadin Shedrick continues to look like a new player
Leading the ‘Hoos in scoring just as he did on UVA’s trip to Italy, Kadin Shedrick finished the contest with 15 points on 5-9 shooting from the field and 5-7 from the free throw line. He looked aggressive in the post and effective as a finisher offensively. While he’s still a bit awkward occasionally when trying to score with bodies around him, he still looks more comfortable as a decision maker. He even made a few nice cross-court passes out of the post and showed an ability to deal with the double team fairly well.
Defensively, Shedrick continued to be effective as a shot-eraser with a block. He probably finished with just a foul or two despite playing the majority of the game, so he was at the very least more under control.
The North Carolina native continues to show signs of serious improvement heading into his third active season with UVA and fourth year on Grounds. Should he make the leap many are projecting, he could seriously raise this team’s ceiling.
Kihei Clark: 4 points, 12 assists, 3 steals, 0-3 FG (0-1 3PT), 4-4 FT
Reece Beekman: 4 points, 7 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 2-10 FG (0-3 3PT)
Jayden Gardner: 13 points, 6-12 FG, 1-4 FT
Armaan Franklin: 14 points, 1 assist, 5-9 FG (4-6 3PT)
Ben Vander Plas: 13 points, 3 assists, 5-9 FG (3-4 3PT)
Taine Murray: 12 points, 3-7 FG (1-4 3PT), 5-5 FT
Isaac McKneely: 9 points, 1 assist, 3-10 FG (3-7 3PT)
Isaac Traudt: 12 points, 4-5 FG (4-5 3PT)
Chase Coleman: 2 points, 1 assist, 1-1 FG
Ryan Dunn: 10 points, 1 steal, 1 block, 5-7 FG (0-1 3PT)
Kadin Shedrick: 15 points, 1 block, 5-9 FG, 5-7 FT
Leon Bond: 10 points, 1 assist, 5-9 FG (0-1 3PT)