Scattershooting: Recruiting intensifies for Knueppel, more hoops news, lots of golden nuggets

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo by Jon Golden

Scattershooting around Wahoo World with a collection of golden nuggets to keep Cavaliers fans up to date on what’s going on out there …

Let’s start with basketball recruiting. Virginia is beginning to wrap up the July evaluation period and Tony Bennett & staff have been criss-crossing the country in search of future Wahoos. Bennett is extremely focused on winning one of the hottest recruiting battles in the country, hoping to land Kon Knueppel of Milwaukee.

Knueppel, arguably the best shooter in the recruiting class of 2024, has already announced a scheduled second visit to Charlottesville in mid-September, when he will take trips to Alabama, UVA and Duke on consecutive weekends. Some recruiting analysts believe the sharpshooter is down to those three, while others insist that hometown Marquette and home-state Wisconsin are also in the running.

Bennett has invested some major time in scouting Knueppel this month, first at Orlando’s NBA Top 100 Camp, then in Cincinnati a week ago and this past weekend in Milwaukee. It doesn’t get much more serious than that for a head coach of Bennett’s stature to follow a player over the course of a month. You can find related stories on Knueppel on this site, plus a chart of all players offered from the next three recruiting classes at the end of each basketball recruiting story constructed by our Scott Ratcliffe, who also has an excellent feature on Virginia’s Jacob Groves, a grad transfer from Oklahoma.

While Bennett’s focus has been on Knueppel, he has still taken out some time to observe a few other players at the sites he has visited. Meanwhile, Virginia assistants have been spotted all over the country checking out these prospects:

Ron Sanchez was in Las Vegas to see Johnny Furphy, a wing from Australia, and Angelo Ciaravino of Mount Carmel, Ill. While in Vegas, the new UVA associate head coach watched Charlottesville native Chance Mallory, a point guard from St. Anne’s-Belfield, play in some games. Sanchez was also in Southern California taking in games by power forward Jacob Cofie, who UVA offered last week.

Jason Williford was in Atlanta taking in class of ‘25 prospects Colt Langdon and guard Jackson Keith (from South Durham (NC).

Vandross watched Isaiah Johnson-Arigu, a wing from Minnesota, last week at the Adidas Championships.

UVA has been in contact with Eric Reibe, a 7-foot, 3-star from ‘25, along with Purdue, Maryland, Michigan State, Michigan, Miami, Indiana, Xavier and a host of others.

Golden nuggets time …

  • Speaking of nuggets, two former Virginia hoopsters, Jay Huff and Braxton Key, have agreed to deals with the Denver Nuggets. Key now has a two-way contract with Denver. Huff, who was the G League’s Defensive Player of the Year this past season, has also signed a two-way deal with the Nuggets.
  • Former Wahoo Kyle Guy, who was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers’ new summer league team, has agreed to terms with Panathinaikos in the Euroleague.
  • Hall of Famer Brian O’Connor’s baseball program finished 13th in the nation in attendance, drawing 154,507 fans to Disharoon Park. That is second in the ACC only to Clemson, which drew 157,814 (with better weather, we might add). The Tigers were 12th. Eight of the top 15 in the country were SEC schools, led by LSU (447,527).
  • According to D1 Baseball, these players have left the UVA program via the transfer portal: Ryan Bhojwani, Evan Dobias, John Ormsby, Colin Tuft (to Tulane), Chris Baker and Juan De La Cruz.
  • Meanwhile, Indiana outfielder Bobby Whalen announced that he has transferred to Virginia for his final year of baseball. During his three years with the Hoosiers, Whalen posted a .274 batting average (.277 this past season to help lead IU to the NCAA Regionals). He hit three home runs and produced a career-high in RBI (39), doubles (16) and runs scored (58). He was also fourth on the team in hits (70).
  • In terms of returning scoring by percentage in ACC hoops, Virginia is 14th out of 15 teams with only 28.8 percent of its scoring coming back. Still, this Cavalier team could be better than last year’s squad.
  • Former UVA player Jeremy Farrell is assistant director of player development for the Cincinnati Reds.
  • Kyle Teel was the 10th Wahoo taken in the first round of the MLB Draft in the last 10 years. Only Vanderbilt has had more.
  • Frankie Allen, who grew up in Charlottesville and went on to a great playing career at Roanoke College, then coached four different college programs, has been named to the 2023 Induction Class for the Small College Basketball Hall of Fame. He’s going in as a player after starring for the Maroons from 1967-68 to 1970-71, and is Roanoke’s all-time leading scorer (2,780 points) and rebounder (1,758). He averaged 24.3 points and 15.3 rebounds per game, and still holds 18 school records.
  • Blanca Pico Navarro of Spain has signed with UVA women’s tennis according to Parsa Bombs. The 17-year-old will join the Cavalier program this fall. She has an ITF juniors career-high ranking of No. 271.
  • There have been 61 coaching changes in men’s college basketball this season.
  • Oakland A’s manager Mark Kotsay on Virginia’s Zack Gelof’s Major League Baseball debut, with an RBI-double off the outfield wall: “Shows his power. Comes as advertised. Zack made a nice play on a double-play ball to get us out of the inning. I think it was a good start.” Gelof is starting at second base and leading off for the A’s. He has since had a stand-up triple. Kotsay believes Gelof is in the big leagues for the rest of the season.
  • We’ll be announcing some big news this week, so stay tuned to