The first commit for the Virginia Cavaliers men’s basketball team out of the 2023 transfer portal, Merrimack graduate transfer Jordan Minor has announced his commitment to join Tony Bennett’s program for the 2023-2024 college basketball season. A 6’8, 240-pound forward, Minor has a relatively well-rounded game which projects well to fill a need for the Wahoos in the front-court next season as he utilizes his extra year of COVID-19 eligibility in the 2023-2024 season.
Especially with the fairly unexpected transfer departures of big men Kadin Shedrick and Isaac Traudt, UVA was in desperate need of adding experience in the front-court. In Minor, the ‘Hoos get a capable, athletic defender who can impact games with his physicality while avoiding foul trouble. While not particularly polished offensively, Minor is a heady player who knows how to utilize his size and strength and can be a headache for opponents to handle.
Right now, Minor projects to start as a slightly undersized center for UVA next year. As a player with an 8.3% block rate (36th nationally) and a 2.6% steal rate (358th), he can be a disruptive player within the Packline defense. One can quite easily envision him hard hedging ball screens and rapidly recovering back into the paint while also being able to manage his individual matchups in the paint. He’s got the requisite strength, quickness, and agility to be a plus defender in the Virginia defense given that his experience allows him to pick up the schemes quick enough. Considering he was the NEC Defensive Player of the Year (and Player of the Year), Minor should be able to learn on the fly.
Offensively is where more questions loom regarding Minor’s adaptations to the level of play in the ACC. In the NEC, Minor was able to dominate with his superior physicality in order to score 17.4 points per game. His offense repertoire essentially consists of post touches where he bullies players weaker or smaller than him. Minor isn’t the best of shooters — he was just 1-9 on triples last season while converting on just 57.9% of his 190 free throws. But he does have a relatively solid pull-up jumper around the basket as he’s able to create separation against bigger but slower players and score with a touchy floater.
Of course, how that translates to major conference competition is a big unknown. At the very least, Minor will be a good on and off ball screener for the Wahoos as he knows how to pick effectively. Additionally, his athleticism makes him a reasonable lob threat and he is a capable passer out of a short roll.
Should Virginia return Reece Beekman along with a back-court of capable passers such as Georgetown transfer Dante Harris and Isaac McKneely, Minor will be able to benefit off playing with other threatening players. His conference-leading usage rate at Merrimack meant he wasn’t the most efficient player, but he should be able to improve on that with less asked of him on offense in Charlottesville.
As for how this impacts recruiting for the ‘Hoos moving forward, they’ll want to add at least one more front-court piece for next season. Ideally, Bennett and company would look at adding a more pure center to provide a counter for the slightly undersized Minor. But wings have been a priority thus far and the staff could even try to leverage the lack of bodies in the front-court in order to bring in a stud high school recruit as a late addition to Virginia’s 2023 class.
For now, though, Minor is exactly the type of tough big UVA needed. His experience will be worth its weight in gold and, while he doesn’t have the highest offensive ceiling, he pairs well with Ryan Dunn (the team’s only returning big) on the defensive side of the ball. Also, Minor doesn’t clog up the future roster, thereby allowing the ‘Hoos to add more guys this offseason.