Bundalo, one of nation’s fastest-rising big men, attracts offer from Virginia

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: Prep Hoops

One of the nation’s fastest-rising big man prospects announced Wednesday evening that he has a new offer from Tony Bennett’s Virginia program.

Nikola Bundalo, a 6-foot-9, 210-pound rising junior at Western Reserve High in Hudson, Ohio, has had a meteoric surge since his sophomore season ended at Uniontown Green H.S. in Green, Ohio. At that point, Bundalo had only two scholarship offers. Now, he has more than a dozen and mounting.

Virginia joins Purdue, Illinois, Iowa, Georgetown, Syracuse, Rutgers, Pitt, Seton Hall, Xavier, Nebraska, Penn State and others in pursuit of the Class of 2025 prospect.

Bundalo is a skilled big man who can run, pass, shoot (including 3-pointers), shoot off the dribble and physically mix it up in the paint. He has been described as a mismatch nightmare.

The 4-Star was unranked by recruiting services until spring/summer AAU basketball and various camps. Now, he is ranked the No. 21 overall recruit in the Class of ‘25 by 247Sports, the No. 6 power forward in the country in his class, and the No. 2 overall prospect in the state of Ohio.

Last season at Uniontown Green, he averaged 12.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. His numbers are expected to make a dramatic jump at his new school, Western Reserve, where he will be playing with two Marquette commits to the Class of 2024.

He posted a 30-point, 10-rebound game in June, stood out at the Top 100 Camp, the Crossroads Camp in Indianapolis and the Peach Jam, places where Virginia recruiters spotted him.

While Ohio State — the first school to offer him — had a head start, new offers are turning Bundalo’s head. In fact, after getting an offer from Syracuse, Bundalo was quoted to say: “Syracuse was crazy because of the ACC … I mean, obviously a lot of people want to play [in the ACC].”

On Tuesday, Virginia offered wing Jacob Wilkins, the 6-8 son of nine-time NBA All-Star Dominique Wilkins (see related story on this site).