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Jabri Abdur-Rahim enters transfer portal: More movement for Virginia hoops

uva athleticsVirginia freshman guard Jabri Abdur-Rahim, a four-star recruit and the centerpiece of the 2020 recruiting class, has entered the transfer portal.

Abdur-Rahim, a 6’7” wing, is the second Cavalier to enter the transfer portal, joining sophomore guard Casey Morsell, who had been the centerpiece of the 2019 recruiting class.

The highly-touted Abdur-Rahim, a consensus Top 50 recruit, never did crack the rotation for Tony Bennett in his lone season in Charlottesville.

Abdur-Rahim had seen his senior season in high school limited to two games, but word in the preseason was that he was considered fully recovered and a full go.

He got four minutes in garbage time in UVA’s season-opening 83-45 win over Towson, and garbage time would be all he’d get in terms of minutes thereafter – 10 minutes in the blowout win over St. Francis, five in a 76-40 win over William & Mary, eight in the lopsided loss to Gonzaga the day after Christmas, and a total of nine minutes spread out over four ACC games.

Don’t expect this to be the final name from the current roster to end up on the transfer portal. This isn’t informed speculation, just speculation, but Justin McKoy, an athletic 6’8” forward, whose minutes yo-yo’d all season long, didn’t look all that happy as the season wore on, from a read of body language, and probably deserved more minutes.

You’ll see some wondering aloud about pretty much everybody else on the periphery of the rotation from 2020-2021 – guards Kody Stattmann and Carson McCorkle, bigs Kadin Shedrick and Francisco Caffaro.

As it stands now, with three seniors – Jay Huff, Sam Hauser and Tomas Woldetensae – expected to be moving on, and who even knows there, given the grace year granted by the NCAA for the COVID season, but still, let’s presume they’re gone, the pending departures of Morsell and Abdur-Rahim would leave five scholarships open.

One goes to the one prep recruit in the Class of 2021, Taine Murray, a 6’5”, four-star guard from New Zealand.

So, four left. Anyone else leaves, obviously more.

Bennett and his staff are already in the market for some of the top names from among the literally 977 that have entered the transfer portal as of this writing – including 6’5” Davidson guard Kellan Grady, who scored 17.4 points per game in 2020-2021, 6’3” Penn State junior guard Myreon Jones, who put in 15.3 points per game this past season for the Nittany Lions.

Virginia has done reasonably well on the transfer market in recent years – landing Hauser and Woldetensae for this year’s run, and most memorably, power forward Anthony Gill, who anchored the post for a three-year stretch that saw UVA win two ACC regular-season titles and one ACC Tournament championship.

The hard part to the transfer market for Virginia is the need for guys to have time to develop in the Pack Line defense and mover-blocker offense sets that Bennett prefers.

Both can take time and reps to get down. Even Hauser, a first-team All-ACC player this past season, had noticeable issues picking up the defense.

But then, this is where we are in college basketball in 2021. Gotta work around it.

Story by Chris Graham


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