At ACC Basketball Tipoff today, Virginia Cavaliers point guard Reece Beekman made some interesting comments when he and Ryan Dunn sat down with the ACC Network crew. When asked about teammate Leon Bond and the growth he’s achieved since redshirting, Beekman noted that he expects big things from the wing this season.
“He put a lot of work in,” said Beekman. “I’m excited for him this season. I feel like he’s really gonna show what he can do.”
After that, though, Beekman went on to add that, among the team’s eight (yes, 8!) newcomers this year, true freshman center Blake Buchanan is the guy who he thinks will come in and play a big role early in the year for the Wahoos.
“We’re going to need him this year,” he noted. “We don’t have too many guys at that position, so I feel like he’s going to step into that role early and be able to be a contributor for us.”
It’s notable that Beekman believes that Buchanan will be an immediate contributor for the ‘Hoos. Considering that true freshman big men rarely see consistent minutes because of how demanding Tony Bennett’s defense is on his bigs, Buchanan being up for that challenge early is a sign that he could break the mold for the typical Virginia center.
Buchanan being ready from the jump is also critical for this roster. As Beekman said, the ‘Hoos are literally short in the frontcourt with Buchanan likely to be the only active player taller than 6’9” (assuming Anthony Robinson redshirts).
Although veteran transfers Jordan Minor and Jake Groves provide experience and have their own set of strengths, Buchanan provides the most size and the most rim protection potential. If Reece is correct that the former Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year is set up for early minutes for the Cavaliers, that bodes extremely well for Virginia’s ceiling this season.