The Virginia Cavaliers have just landed their first transfer of the 2022 offseason in Ohio grad Ben Vander Plas. A Wisconsin native, the 6’8” forward was named Bennett after Dick Bennett (Tony’s father) since Vander Plas’ father played for Dick at Wisconsin Green Bay.
Earlier this week, I wrote this on Vander Plas and what he’d bring to the table for the Wahoos:
As a player, Vander Plas is an interesting prospect. Standing at 6’8” and weighing 232 pounds, he’s a skilled big man who can shoot the ball from deep and play out on the perimeter. He’s capable as a passer and is tough on the defensive boards. He also has sneaky good hands defensively, posting a 3.5% steal rate which was good for second in the MAC in the 2021-2022 season.
The knock on Vander Plas would be his mobility, particularly defensively particularly in the packline defense. Hedging out on ball-screens would likely be a bit foreign for him and a front-court of him and Jayden Gardner would be a questionable fit.
That also begs the question of how he’d fit into UVA’s rotation. Gardner will have a firm grasp on the starting minutes at power forward, and both Kadin Shedrick and Francisco Caffaro had stretches of game-changing play this season. Vander Plas would be a bit of an odd-ball to throw into the mix, but Virginia is looking to add depth in the front-court and the shooting that Vander Plas could add would be a welcomed relief. He’d undoubtedly be a good get, it may just take time for him to grow comfortable in the Wahoo system.
As stated above, Vander Plas is a quality player who will add to UVA’s floor for this coming season. His fit is admittedly questionable and it’s a bit curious that UVA was so set on adding more depth to the roster when the 2022 class is so stacked.
That said, lineups with Vander Plas and Gardner could be an interesting prospect and do add the type of lineup flexibility and mobility that Bennett likes to have. Vander Plas could even challenge for a starting spot depending on the continued development of Kadin Shedrick and Francisco Caffaro.
Vander Plas will add a new element to the offense as a potential playmaking and shooting small-ball five. His defense is an uncertainty, but there’s nobody like Tony Bennett and the UVA system to improve a player’s defense over one season.
All in all, it’s good to see the ‘Hoos nab Vander Plas. He’s a talented player who fills in some holes for Virginia. That said, there will be bigger picture questions as to what this means for the young guys on this roster.