Home Must-get: Former Virginia big Igor Milicic back on the transfer portal

Must-get: Former Virginia big Igor Milicic back on the transfer portal

Chris Graham
igor milicic
Photo: UVA Athletics

Boy, could Virginia use them some Igor Milicic.

Milicic left Virginia in 2022 after being basically unused as a freshman, headed to Charlotte, where he played for one year under former UVA assistant Ron Sanchez, who then left the head job there to return to an assistant position under Tony Bennett.

After a second year at Charlotte, in which Milicic, a 6’10”, 225-pound power forward, averaged 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, the big fella went back to the transfer portal, and I’m hearing that Milicic is visiting Virginia this week, so, fingers crossed.

A couple of things working in Virginia’s favor: his best friend, Taine Murray, another of the Three M’s from the 2021-2022 UVA roster (the other: Carson McCorkle), is around to help recruit Milicic; and we know already that Milicic won’t have any problems with admissions.

Word from the admissions folks is that it’s easier to get kids into UVA as grad transfers, given that they’ve already shown themselves to be good students, because they’ve got a degree.

Getting undergrads in is tougher, particularly with older undergrads, because of the need to make sure that their credits can make the transfer with the kid.

Because Milicic would already have at least a year of credits at UVA, should be no issue there.

Now, to the basketball part of this: Igor Milicic is an absolute must-get for Tony Bennett.

I wrote about him earlier this year in one of my midseason updates on former UVA kids who had transferred out, and how there was undue attention on the likes of Kadin Shedrick and Isaac Traudt, two bigs who had moved on to Texas and Creighton, when it was Milicic was the one, to me, that we should think of as the one who got away.

Milicic, in the Bennett system, would be an excellent pick-and-pop guy – think: Jake Groves, but can rebound and defend in the post.

As a junior, Milicic shot 37.6 percent from three, on decent volume (4.8 three-point attempts per game).

His profile, from Synergy Sports, suggests that he gets how the game is supposed to be played: 55.8 percent of his shot attempts last season were threes, and 34.5 percent were at the rim.

Milicic shot just seven midrange jumpers all season, which is good – you should never shoot midrange jumpers, for any reason.

At the rim, Milicic is a solid finisher – connecting on 69.6 percent of his layups, dunks and tips.

On the defensive end, Synergy Sports rates Milicic as “excellent.” He limited opponents to 5.0 points per game on 31.9 percent shooting in 2022-2023, and he was second in the AAC in defensive rebounds, averaging 7.0 per game.

Slot him at the five alongside 6’8” defensive stopper Ryan Dunn at the four, with 6’11” rising sophomore Blake Buchanan, 6’10” redshirt freshman Anthony Robinson and 6’9” incoming freshman Jacob Cofie providing minutes in the post off the bench, and you’re good to go.

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].