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UVA basketball’s Reece Beekman is the 2022-2023 ACC Defensive Player of the Year

Beekman is the fifth Wahoo to win ACC DPOY in nine seasons, doing so after a stellar junior season.

Virginia v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

In a correction of the injustice of losing the award to Mark Williams last season, the Virginia Cavaliers’ Reece Beekman has officially won 2022-2023 ACC Defensive Player of the Year. A junior, Beekman is now the fifth Wahoo to win the award in the last nine seasons.

Joining the elite company of De’Andre Hunter, Isaiah Wilkins, Malcolm Brogdon, and Darion Atkins as winners of the award, Beekman led the ACC’s best defense by points allowed per game and adjusted defensive rating. On the season, he averaged 1.6 steals and 0.5 blocks per game. His 3.21% steal rate was third in the ACC while his 2.13% block rate was fourth among players shorter than 6’5”.

Beyond the statistics, Beekman was and is a game changer for the UVA defense. He can completely neutralize an opponent’s best guard while also playing the passing lanes like a playmaking cornerback, always alert and ready to jump any pass that he can get a hand on. His ability as an off-ball defender makes Virginia’s post-trap strategy particularly effective as he can defend two opposing players on the backside and constantly generates turnovers off unwise passes out of the post.

Beekman’s physical gifts with a disruptive wingspan, quick and agile footwork, and a general shifty-ness that helps him navigate screens combined with his incredibly high defensive-IQ make him one of the premier perimeter defenders in the country, even at 6’3”.

Beekman received 29 votes for ACC DPOY with North Carolina’s Leaky Black (18) and Jesse Edwards (13) the only other two players to hit double digits. The Wahoo lead guard also made ACC All-Defensive Team with fellow UVA point guard Kihei Clark joining him as the second guard of the five player team.

ACC Defensive Player of the Year

Reece Beekman, Virginia, 29 votes

Leaky Black, North Carolina, 18

Jesse Edwards, Syracuse, 13

Dereck Lively II, Duke, 6

Federiko Federiko, Pitt, 3

Ja’von Franklin, Georgia Tech, 3

Justyn Mutts, Virginia Tech, 2

Norchad Omier, Miami, 1

All-Defensive Team

Reece Beekman, Virginia, 63 votes

Jesse Edwards, Syracuse, 56

Leaky Black, North Carolina, 55

Dereck Lively II, Duke, 45

Kihei Clark, Virginia, 26