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UVA assistant Kyle Getter dishes on promotion, recruiting, outlook for 2021-2022

uva athleticsKyle Getter has coached on staffs across the Commonwealth, and it was his sort of outsider perspective that attracted Tony Bennett to him in 2018.

“I’d always admired the program from afar, and had an opportunity to come here in 2018 and jumped at it, just because of the type of people that are affiliated with this program that I’d come in contact with. It was something I really wanted to be a part of, and I’m really appreciative of the opportunity to be a full-time assistant here at UVA moving forward,” said Getter, who was promoted to a full-time assistant position on the staff last month after serving for three years as the director of recruiting and player development.

Getter is still getting set in his new role, in which he has essentially changed places with Brad Soderberg, who will take over as director of scouting after six years as an assistant on Bennett’s staff.

“This promotion just happened, so, yeah, I’m still learning, I’m sort of still learning what all is going to go into my bucket,” Getter said.

Getter’s stops on the college hoops coaching road include stints at Dayton, where he worked under Oliver Purnell, Wright State, where he worked under Paul Biancardi, VCU, where he worked under Shaka Smart, and two different stops at Liberty under Ritchie McKay.

Think about all of the different approaches to basketball represented in his 23 years on the sidelines.

The big thing that he learned: “I’ve always had the mentality, I’m going to really just try to serve the needs of our coaches and our players the best I can, and whatever is asked or needed of me, I’m willing to do, and I’m going to do it to the best of my ability to help us to win,” Getter said.

“I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity at the University of Virginia with Coach Bennett, with this program. I’m ready to hit the ground running, for sure,” Getter said.

Recruiting: An everyday thing

“There was an old saying when I first got into coaching. They said, recruiting is like shaving. You don’t do it every day, you look like a bum. And that couldn’t be more true. Recruiting is non-stop. It’s hard to turn off the switch,” said Getter, who described his previous post as recruiting coordinator as having been a sort of “air traffic control for the staff.”

Now that he’s a full-time assistant, Getter can go out on the road and put what he was doing behind the scenes to work on the front lines.

The approach for the UVA staff is focused on the soft touch.

“We don’t bombard guys. We are politely persistent, as I like to put it,” Getter said. “Obviously, you want to recruit a circle of that particular prospect, in terms of family, coaches, some stuff like that.”

After a year of having to recruit via Zoom because of COVID-19, basketball coaches will have a normal summer recruiting season, with in-person visits and AAU tournaments to take in.

The summer isn’t so much about finding guys for the coming season, but for down the road – evaluating rising sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Virginia, the memories of the 2019 national title still fresh, has access to a higher level of athlete than maybe Bennett did back when he took over in 2009.

That isn’t translating to a new way of thinking in terms of the kinds of guys that Bennett wants on Grounds.

“We’re going to continue to recruit the way we have. I think Coach Bennett’s formula speaks for itself, and we’re going to recruit to the pillars. We want guys that fit our program. We’re going to look for fits, the humility, passion, unity, servanthood, thankfulness,” Getter said. “Obviously, there’s a baseline of talent and athleticism that goes with that. Coach Bennett said it in maybe his first press conference when he got hired as a head coach, he wants to build a program that lasts. And we’re not going to stray from that formula at all.”

Outlook for 2021-2022

Virginia had an up-and-down 2020-2021 season, which is an odd thing to say about a program that won its fifth ACC regular-season title in eight seasons, but it’s true.

There’s a lot to replace looking ahead to 2021-2022 – certainly Sam Hauser (16.0 ppg, 6.8 rebounds/g) and Jay Huff (13.0 ppg, 7.1 rebounds/g), and perhaps also Trey Murphy III (11.3 ppg, 3.4 rebounds/g), who has entered the NBA Draft portal, though TM3 has left open the option of returning depending on what he hears back from scouts and front-office execs.

The building blocks are three-year starting point guard Kihei Clark (9.5 ppg, 4.5 assists/g) and rising sophomore combo guard Reece Beekman (4.7 ppg, 3.0 assists/g) – with rotation guys Kody Stattmann and Carson McCorkle competing for backcourt minutes, and big guys Kadin Shedrick and Francisco Caffaro fighting for floor time in the post.

UVA was busy in the transfer portal in the offseason – adding power forward Jayden Gardner (18.3 ppg, 8.3 rebounds/g at ECU in 2020-2021) and shooting guard Armaan Franklin (11.4 ppg at Indiana in 2020-21), both of whom are expected to be step in as frontline guys next season.

Getter, who as director of recruiting was busy refreshing his browser on the transfer portal every few minutes there for several weeks, offered his insights on the big pickups.

“I got to know Jayden when he was in high school. I helped recruit one of his AAU teammates to Liberty, Darius McGhee, so I probably saw Jayden Garner play almost all of his (AAU) games,” Getter said. “He is a physical presence, and he knows who he is. He’s not afraid to get in there and mix it up. I think he likes the physicality. And he has a knack for scoring and rebounding.

“You know, he’s 6’7”, 6’8”, but he’s got a knack. I mean, anytime a guy can have 15-plus rebounds in the American Athletic Conference in games against high-level competition, I think his production speaks for itself. A veteran guy that can play with his back to the basket and face up, and he’s a mature player.

“He’s played three years. So, really excited about him. I think he adds a dimension that maybe we don’t quite have, quite honestly. So, couldn’t be more excited about him,” Getter said.

On Franklin, “his ability to score and just be a complete guard, and when I say complete guard, he can do really everything and everything,” Getter said.

“He was the second-leading scorer on a good Indiana team, a Big 10 team, has been battle-tested in the Big 10, and comes from a great high school program in Cathedral High School in Indianapolis. He’s another guy that’s been battle tested and proven at a high level. And we’re excited to add him to our returning guys,” Getter said.

There are also two incoming freshmen to be on the lookout for – New Zealand shooting guard Taine Murray and Croatian small forward Igor Milicic Jr.

Murray, Getter said, is “a rugged wing.”

“I don’t know how much you guys know anything about rugby. His dad was a rugby guy over New Zealand. So, in New Zealand, where it’s a big deal to be rugby, there’s nothing soft about that,” Murray said.

“He can really catch and shoot. He’s played against grown men. We’re very excited about him,” Getter said. “He’s got a strong body, for a first-year guy will have a strong body. Obviously, there’s going to be an adjustment period with any first-year guy just kind of translating from basketball in New Zealand, especially in college game in the ACC, but I think his physicality and his motor will allow him to compete at an early stage.”

Milicic, Getter said, is “deceptively athletic, long, 6’8”, 6’9”, has perimeter skills, very skilled, coach’s son, so he checks a lot of boxes in terms of guys that maybe possess the intangibles.”

“And again, he’s played with grown men, played against pros a lot. So, another guy that’s going to be a first-year guy, there’s going to be some adjustment period, but certainly excited about him,” Getter said.

The uncertainty of TM3 being what it is – this is just a hunch, but too many mock drafts have him late second round or undrafted, so I’m assuming he’ll be leaning toward returning – there’s a lot to look forward to next fall and winter.

“We have a mix of returning guys who have a lot of experience, we have some guys returning that maybe don’t have as much experience, and then we have the newcomers that I mentioned, and two of those newcomers, being transfers, they have experience, they just don’t have experience in our system,” Getter said.

“I think there’s going to be an adjustment period just in terms of developing that chemistry, because we do we have 11 guys on scholarship currently. So, a little over a third of your roster is going to be new players learning the system and things like that, but man, we couldn’t be more excited about our group, quite honestly,” Getter said.

The one thing you can probably point to that might have held back the 2020-2021 group was the lack of time for TM3, Hauser and Beekman to get acclimated to the Pack Line defense and mover-blocker offense.

Because the world is back to normal now, that won’t be an issue in terms of getting the new incoming guys familiar with what they need to do.

“We’ll have our guys here in June, and that’s going to be just such a huge advantage, to be able to immerse the incoming guys with the returning guys and get them acclimated,” Getter said. “One thing that I’ve noticed here is UVA basketball, we have good chemistry, and I think that speaks to our culture.

“The sooner we can get the incoming guys and the returning guys and kind of get that cohesiveness going, the better,” Getter said. “We can’t wait to get everybody here in June hit the ground running with workouts and get them work with Mike Curtis and the whole bit.”

Story by Chris Graham

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