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Names to watch for UVA Basketball to replace Kadin Shedrick through the transfer portal

Bennett, Hoos need rim protector with Shedrick leaving

Furman v Virginia Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

The Virginia Cavaliers’ frontcourt took another blow with Kadin Shedrick reportedly departing from Charlottesville close on the heels of redshirt freshman Isaac Traudt.

Like we did for Traudt leaving, let’s dive into the available names in the transfer portal to see who Tony Bennett may pursue as options to fill the hole left by Shedrick’s absence.

There are two overarching characteristics that Shedrick brought to UVA’s lineup: height, and shot blocking. Unlike with Traudt, Shedrick was a known quantity and was probably expected to play a major role going into his fourth season for the Hoos—which means a replacement needs to be ready to do the same. Less development projects here, and more immediate impact guys.

Putting all that into numerical terms:

  • Height of at least 6-foot-10 (Shedrick listed at 6-foot-11)
  • Block rate of 5% or better (Shedrick had a career block rate of 10.5%)
  • Minutes percentage of 25% or better (Shedrick registered 39.7% of available minutes, even with his late-season benching)

Torvik doesn’t track “blows to the face taken per 40 minutes,” unfortunately, so numbers won’t lead us to a true clone.

The moon shot: Kel’el Ware (Oregon)

A former 5-star recruit and top-10 player nationally in the class of 2022, Ware entered the portal with 3 years of eligibility remaining. His recruiting profile on 247 Sports opens by raving that he “oozes with natural talent and elite upside.” It’s easy to see why: he was a block machine for the Ducks, registering a block rate north of 8%, while committing only 2.5 fouls per 40 minutes. Away from the rim, Ware also posted 27% from three on 55 shots—not quite a sniper, but not bad for a big man (listed at 7 feet).

It’s highly unlikely Ware ends up in Charlottesville: UVA wasn’t in on him as a recruit and players of Ware’s caliber entering the transfer portal these days generally are looking for a situation where they can be the centerpiece of a high-profile team. Despite those caveats, he’s the kind of player in the portal that would represent not just a Shedrick replacement but a potential upgrade. So let’s keep the dream alive for now.

The local(ish) product: Andre Screen (Bucknell)

Screen is more typical of the other type of player to enter the portal: guys who were lightly recruited coming out of high school but have produced at the college level and are looking for opportunities to play at the highest level. Coming out of St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes in Alexandria, Screen mostly drew interest from the Patriot League, Ivy League, and D.C.-area mid majors (American and George Washington) before landing at Bucknell. So he’s probably got the academic chops and interest to succeed at UVA. With his freshman season being 2020-21, he should have the extra COVID year and still have two years of eligibility remaining.

On the court, the 7-footer was a defensive presence for the Bison. His defensive rebounding rate actually exceeded Shedrick’s (21.9% to Shedrick’s 18.7%), with a block rate just north of 6%. Screen was featured heavily on the offensive end as well, putting up more than 200 field goal attempts (Shedrick registered 97 FGA for the season). Screen’s profile on Bucknell’s site describes him as an “adept shot-blocker and rebounder” with “a soft touch around the basket as well as shooting range that extends beyond the 3-point arc.”

Besides—what better name for a blocker in the mover-blocker offense than “Screen?”

The offensive upgrade: Aly Khalifa (Charlotte)

Could Ron Sanchez do his old team a solid and help steer a big man north?

Khalifa came to Charlotte through the NBA Global Academy. The Egyptian prospect played in Australia before enrolling with Sanchez and the 49ers, where he redshirted the 2020-21 season. But he exploded onto the scene in 2021-22, earning CUSA Freshman of the Year honors (and six Freshman of the Week awards along the way).

This would be sort of a “two birds with one stone” recruit for Bennett—giving the Hoos a strong rebounding presence and offense at the rim while also adding a “stretch four”/perimeter option that they lost with Traudt leaving. At 6-foot-11 and 230 pounds, Khalifa shot 38 percent from three on 126 attempts in 2022-23. That’s Isaac McKneely’s three-point shooting in Kadin Shedrick’s body. Khalifa is nowhere near the shot blocker that Shedrick is—Khalifa’s career block rate is only about a quarter of Shedrick’s, and his presence on this list breaks my “5% or better” parameter above—but he’s a comparable rebounder with a lower foul rate.

Whatever the option or philosophy, Bennett will need to be active in the portal to fill out a frontcourt that, right now, looks to be UVA’s biggest weakness heading into 2023-24.