On the last possible day to withdraw from the NBA Draft, Virginia Cavaliers point guard Reece Beekman is officially returning to Charlottesville for his fourth and likely final season with the Wahoos. The 2023 ACC Defensive Player of the Year will be leading a team full of talented youth in the 2023-2024 season in hopes of replicating the regular season success he’s experienced while also making a run in March.
In ESPN’s story detailing Beekman’s return, he was quoted as saying that “I’ve decided to go back to UVA to work towards being a first-round draft pick next year and finish my degree.”
While Reece is undoubtedly a special defensive player with elite traits on offense, his draft stock absolutely could take a big jump next year if he can be more successful and prominent as a scorer and shooter in year four. Additionally, the 2024 draft class is widely considered to be weaker relative to this year’s, indicating that Beekman’s quality could be of better value next year.
With UVA losing major contributors Kihei Clark, Jayden Gardner, Armaan Franklin, and Ben Vander Plas due to graduation, Beekman returning provides necessary veteran leadership and experience for a group of talented young guys. Isaac McKneely, Ryan Dunn, Leon Bond, Andrew Rohde, Dante Harris, Elijah Gertrude, and Blake Buchanan will all notably benefit from Beekman’s return both on and off the court.
We’ll have further analysis of Virginia’s roster with Beekman soon. But the bottom line is that him coming back makes UVA a serious contender in the ACC once again with the potential to splash on the national stage if the right guys around him improve as would be projected. It’s been impressive to see Tony Bennett and his staff fill needs for the 2023-2024 roster and, with Beekman back, that last big hole is filled.