Inside the Numbers: How UVA Basketball could come out on top this offseason

Funny thing, how a few weeks ago, aglow in the program’s first national title, UVA basketball fans couldn’t get over fretting how everybody was leaving.

Ty Jerome, first. Then De’Andre Hunter. Then, Kyle Guy and Mamadi Diakite.

It seemed that Guy would maybe come back, but, good news for him, he’s getting second-round love in mock drafts.

It seemed that Diakite would maybe come back, and …

Who knows now.

The fretting intensified as Virginia was noticeably quiet as other top programs were snatching up the top grad transfers, though, OK, let’s be honest.

UNC, for example, gets Justin Pierce, from William & Mary. Are we really missing out not getting a third-team All-CAA unathletic small forward?

So, business picked up this week. First, the commitment of Tomas Woldetensae, whose name none of us can pronounce, though, to be fair, I never did get London Perrantes down, and that one is pretty easy.

(The London, I could handle. I heard Perrantes done about 10 different ways. How about, just LP?)

Woldetensae seems like the real deal. He comes to UVA after two years of JUCO ball, and he was a first-team JUCO All-America as a sophomore.

Kid can shoot: he hit 47.6 percent of his threes in 2018-2019.

And he can score: he poured in 17.3 points per game.

His JUCO coach says he will have to work on defense, but, everybody has to work on defense. From looking at him on tape, he seems to have the athleticism to be able to be a good defender, and he has two years to get there.

There’s one of the holes from the departures, filled.

Next up: the Hausers. Sam and Joey. Visiting today, as I’m writing this column, the brothers are transferring out of Marquette, where they were the team’s second- and third-leading scorers in 2018-2019.

Sam, a 6’8” junior, averaged 14.9 points and 7.2 rebounds, and shot 40.2 percent from three.

Joey, a 6’9” freshman, averaged 9.7 points and 5.3 rebounds, and shot 42.5 percent from three.

They’d both have to sit out a year, per NCAA transfer rules.

But, dang, look at those guys. Bigs who rebound and shoot threes.

You get Sam for one year, and Joey for three, starting in 2020-2021.

I’m thinking more Mike Scott than Anthony Gill with each of those guys, with what they can do offensively in the mover-blocker sets that Tony Bennett uses as a foundation to his offense.

We don’t have them yet, but, they could do worse.

A fourth spot could go to a five-star prep recruit, Johnny Juzang, that you might have heard of.

I don’t know that I’m buying the idea that Bennett can land a five-star who is getting one-and-done buzz, when the other main suitor is Kentucky, but Juzang is set to announce his intentions on Friday, and, for the moment, UVA is in the running.

Imagine, then, you get maybe the best JUCO transfer on the market, talented brothers who give you a total of four years after their transfer years, and a five-star one-and-done.

Which gets us back to Diakite. Might need that scholarship, if the Hausers and Juzang are ready to come aboard.

When you’re doing succession planning, you look at that and say, OK, we put Juzang in for Diakite, a one-year guy for a one-year guy.

You get two years out of Juzang, bonus.

Then, you’re flipping Jerome’s and Guy’s last year each of eligibility into a year for Sam Hauser and three years for Joey Hauser.

A lot has to happen, but, I’d argue that Bennett comes out on top, if that’s how it would all work out.

And, this is only Thursday, and as far as we know right now, it will.

Column by Chris Graham




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uva basketball team of destiny

Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable run

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

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