Home UVA picks up PG Dai Dai Ames from the portal; what this tells us about Elijah Gertrude

UVA picks up PG Dai Dai Ames from the portal; what this tells us about Elijah Gertrude

Chris Graham
uva basketball
Photo: Mike Ingalls/AFP

Virginia coach Tony Bennett is using his last open scholarship on a point guard, Kansas State freshman Dai Dai Ames, which probably tells us something about the rumors that have been flying around the past few days.

Mike Barber of the Times-Dispatch broke the seal, writing in his story about the Ames commitment today about how rising sophomore point guard Elijah Gertrude suffered a non-basketball injury last month and may be lost for the season, according to sources.

So, there it is, that’s the story involving a rumored scooter accident that we’ve all been dancing around for the past few days.

I’ve got separate public-records requests in with the Charlottesville PD and the University of Virginia to try to pin down the details on that one.

Given the nature of how public-records requests are handled, I’m not expecting to hear back from either until next week.

What I don’t like reporting here is that the news involving Ames suggests that what I’ve been hearing from sources about the nature of Gertrude’s injury – that it may be more like career-threatening – might be true.

The reason I go there is that Ames, like Gertrude, is a rising sophomore, who has three years of eligibility remaining.

And it wouldn’t be like Bennett to recruit over a guy in Gertrude who, as a Top 50 national recruit in the Class of 2023, would seem to be a foundational program piece.

Ames was a four-star from the Class of 2023 and was also listed as a four-star portal recruit, despite his modest counting numbers from his freshman season – 5.2 points per game, 2.0 assists per game, 35.3 percent shooting from the field, 32.9 percent shooting from three, 69.8 percent shooting at the free-throw line.

Ames averaged 20.6 minutes per game at K-State in 2023-2024, with 16 starts, the bulk of those coming in the final two months of the season.

In his last five games, Ames went for double-digits three times, and averaged 8.2 points and 3.4 assists in 27.0 minutes per game, shooting 46.9 percent from the floor and 40.0 percent from three.

The deep dive, per Synergy Sports, tells us that Ames is solid on the defensive end, holding opponents to 36.8 percent shooting and 0.820 points per possession, which Synergy rates as “very good.”

On offense, eh, there is work to do – Ames was 30.2 percent on jumpshots, including 9-of-33 (27.3 percent) on unguarded jumpers, and he was 21-of-50 (42.0 percent) on shots at the rim.

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].