Although it is the middle of June, and the Virginia Cavaliers are a long way away from tip-off in November, it’s time to start thinking about college basketball and the 2016-17 season.
In the upcoming weeks, the members of the 2016 recruiting class will be making their way to Grounds to begin their journeys under the tutelage of Tony Bennett. Next season, fans will be welcoming in four new promising players; forward Jay Huff, wing DeAndre Hunter, and point guards Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome. 2016 was a masterful year for Tony Bennett; not only did he lead the Hoos to the Elite 8, but also brought in what could be considered his best recruiting class at UVA, which included early enrollee, Mamadi Diakite.
All four incoming players finished ranked in ESPN’s Top 100 (Guy #27, Jerome #43, Hunter #72, Huff #73) and should help fill the holes left in the program by the departures of Malcolm Brogdon, Anthony Gill, Mike Tobey, and Evan Nolte. For the first time since Bennett took over as head coach, UVA will have a recruiting class where all incoming players finished ranked in the Top 100. Coach Bennett will also have his first McDonald’s All-American in Kyle Guy.
The new recruiting class is in position to make instant contributions to the program, as it continues to rise. With the addition of transfer player Austin Nichols, and redshirt freshman Mamadi Diakite, the Hoos should be ACC contenders and an NCAA lock yet again.
With a large recruiting class and two players gaining eligibility, the team will look a lot different than in years past. For the first time in 3 years the Hoos leading scorer will not be named Malcolm Brogdon, but do not be surprised if one of the newcomers fills his spot. The sky is the limit next season for the Cavaliers, with the mix of new faces, an experienced core group led by point guard London Perrantes, and a strong schedule. Expect big things from the Cavaliers this upcoming season and expect big things from the four new guys for years to come.