With the Virginia Cavaliers’ men’s basketball team back in town and the team’s highly touted freshmen class officially moved in, summer workouts have started in earnest for a squad looking to bounce back from a relatively down year this past season.
And, as practice has started and UVA’s five new faces — Ohio transfer Ben Vander Plas and incoming freshmen Isaac McKneely, Isaac Traudt, Leon Bond, and Ryan Dunn — are now donning the orange and blue, the team has released brief practice footage. While it’s just a 53 second clip, there are a few things that are worth mentioning.
Obviously, as this is just a practice highlight reel, there’s naturally going to be a lot of three-point shooting. Regardless, seeing Isaac McKneely, Isaac Traudt, and Ben Vander Plas in particular all take and make long balls reminds us that this 2022-2023 team ought to be a better shooting team from beyond the arc with those three in particular adding more perimeter shot-making ability to the roster.
Additionally, again while practice clips are nothing to write home about, the clip of Jayden Gardner hitting a three-ball is indicative of how valuable his progression as a jump shooter could be for Virginia. Gardner has perfected his shooting game from within roughly 16 feet, but adding the element of a three-pointer would make him an even more complete offensive weapon.
There’s also Armaan Franklin and his hopes of a resurgent second season at UVA. After shooting 29.6% from deep in his first year on Grounds, the Indiana transfer spent time this summer working with former Wahoo Justin Anderson who actually shot 29.4% from three in his sophomore season before revamping his shot and exploding to hit threes at a ridiculous 45.2% success rate in his junior year before being drafted in the first round of the NBA draft just after that season. If Franklin could have any improvement similar to that it would be a godsend for what was a sometimes anemic UVA offense.
We have a ways to go to see the new guys and action and to find out if these question marks are answered. But, it’s always fun to get a glimpse at a team transitioning towards a new season with a number of new faces coming along.