Has Beekman played his way into the NBA Draft conversation?

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: UVA Athletics

Virginia’s Reece Beekman played his way into the NBA Draft conversation during his second scrimmage at the NBA Combine in Chicago on Thursday.

After a decent showing in the first scrimmage with 8 points and 5 assists in 21 minutes on Wednesday, Beekman came back with a more impressive performance on Thursday when he posted 15 points, shooting 6 of 11 from the field and hitting his only 3-point attempt. He was the second-leading scorer in the second scrimmage, plus played smothering defense against former NC State guard Terquavian Smith, who was only 3 of 16 shooting.

Beekman also had five rebounds, four assists and a steal.

The Virginia guard, who has until May 31 to decide whether to return to school or stay in the draft, was officially measured at 6-foot-1.5 inches, instead of the 6-3 listed on UVA’s roster. However, he does have a 6-7 wingspan, which has helped him become one of the nation’s elite defenders the past two seasons.

Beekman told 247Sports national writer Isaac Trotter that he will make a decision after the Combine on whether or not to return to Virginia, after he gets more feedback from NBA personnel attending the event.

“I have a couple of more workouts after,” Beekman said. “I’ll value those and kind of go from there. Just taking in a lot of information and kind of going with it. Just trying to find the right fit and try to get the right information to make the right decision. I’ve been working out [with teams] a lot, so just focused on that and the Combine stuff. But just trying to hear the information needed to make the right decision.”

Should he return to UVA for his senior season, it will be a team filled with new faces after several players left the program via graduation or the transfer portal. That hasn’t prevented Beekman from considering a return.

“It feels good ro know I have a great team to go back to. At the end of the season, we lost like seven or eight people. But we got freshmen coming in, we’ve added some new people and that’s a good thing to see.”

One of those people who left created a stir over comments directed at Tony Bennett and his coaching staff. Kadin Shedrick, who entered the portal and signed with Texas, was critical of the staff for benching him without an explanation.

Beekman was asked about Shedrick’s comments and actually sided with his former teammate.

“I feel like he spoke his mind,” Beekman said of Shedrick. “Anything he said, he was justified for. I will back him up 100 percent because I agree with what he said. I’m happy for him. I’m happy to see him in a new situation.”

Shedrick said he wanted to go play somewhere that he didn’t have a “short leash,” and added, “I was starting at the beginning of the season and everything was great, and then going from that starting role to less than five minutes per game and some DNPs (did not play) here and there, it wasn’t easy. Especially not being told why that was happening.”

There were hints from players that the addition of Ben Vander Plas caused some dissension among the ranks, particularly when Bennett went to a smaller lineup, relegating Shedrick to the bench. Bennett played college ball with Vander Plas’ father at Green Bay.

“At the end of the day, I just didn’t think Virginia was the best place for me anymore, given what happened at the end of the season,” Shedrick said.

Click on the video below to see Beekman in action at the NBA Combine (he’s wearing No. 20 in white).