Home Expect one, maybe two impact transfers to be committing to Virginia in the next week

Expect one, maybe two impact transfers to be committing to Virginia in the next week

Chris Graham
uva basketball team
Photo: Mike Ingalls/AFP

It was looking last week that Virginia wasn’t going to have much if anything in the way of activity from the transfer portal, but that changed over the weekend with the announcement that redshirt freshman guard Leon Bond had entered the portal.

Word is that Bond’s entry into the portal is the result of coach Tony Bennett wanting to be straight-up with his guys about the efforts to add pieces to the roster to address needs ahead of the 2024-2025 season, and wanting to tell them, one-on-one, about possible incoming transfers that could impact their playing time.

Bond, in his first season on the court after redshirting in 2022-2023, didn’t get a lot of run, averaging 12.3 minutes per game, with the bulk of that coming in the November-December portion of the schedule.

Once the calendar flipped to Jan. 1, Bond got a total of 80 minutes of playing time in 11 games, with 10 Did Not Play-Coach’s Decisions.

It would be a stretch, then, to assume that Bond was in line for a bump up in minutes going into next season, assuming, as has been the case to this point, that Bennett will have among the returning guys in his backcourt Isaac McKneely, Andrew Rohde, Dante Harris, Taine Murray and Elijah Gertrude, with redshirt freshman Christian Bliss and incoming freshman Ishan Sharma also in the mix.

Before the Bond transfer announcement, Bennett was looking to have just one scholarship available for 2024-2025, and that was assuming that Reece Beekman, a four-year starter at point guard, foregoes his last year of eligibility to take his shot at playing at the next level.

Beekman hasn’t indicated formally what his plans are, though he’s widely expected to be on his way out.

The biggest roster need for Bennett going into the summer is for a guy with shooting touch who can play at the four or five, in the mold of Ben Vander Plas or Jake Groves.

Virginia has been in contact with a former UVA recruit, Igor Milicic, who spent his freshman season at UVA before transferring to Charlotte, where he blossomed as a 6’10” shooter and rebounder (12.5 ppg, 8.5 rebounds/g, 37.6% 3FG in 2023-2024 at Charlotte).

Milicic, to me, is a must-get for Bennett, given that Milicic could be a plug-and-play with his experience in Bennett’s offense and defense.

The word I’m getting about Bennett being up-front with his kids about transfers who could impact his current guys’ minutes wouldn’t seem to apply to Bond with respect to Milicic or a Milicic-type coming in, just because Bond, at 6’5”, slots more as a big guard size-wise than he would as a post guy.

What I’m hearing is that we should be expecting news on one or two incoming impact transfers in the next 7-10 days, most likely mid- to late-next week.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].