Scattershooting: J-Willy talks Beekman, trash talking, recruiting and beards, plus more

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo by Jon Golden

Scattershooting around the ACC, while fighting through this terrible pandemic shutdown …

We caught up with Reece Beekman the other day on our radio show for ESPN-Charlottesville and he gave us the scoop on his amazing high school career at Scotlandville Magnet in Baton Rouge, La.

If you missed the show, we hope to have it podcasted on this website sometime over the weekend.

The 6-foot-3, 4-star point guard, who will be wearing a Virginia uniform this season, led his team to four consecutive state championships and recorded a triple-double in the championship game with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists en route to winning the Most Outstanding Player Award.

UVA associate head coach Jason Williford, affectionately referred to by most everyone as “J-Willy,” talked briefly about Beekman during his regular podcast, “The JWILLY Show,” recently (you can find those on the Locker Room Access website).

“I think [Beekman] will be able to come in and play and give us good minutes,” Williford said of the incoming freshman star. “Tony’s not afraid to play two point guards. We hope [Beekman] can do that. We’re anticipating him being able to come in and be on the floor, and at times along with Kihei (Clark).”

We’ll have more on Beekman with a link to our interview with him over the weekend.

While on the Locker Room podcast, Williford appeared with a full beard, which he said his wife was begging him to shave off. J-Willy said he planned to wait until he sees all the UVA players in person before he shaves.

According to sources, the players should be returning to Charlottesville sometime next month.

Mark Jerome, Ty’s dad, and Doug “Fresh” Smith, a former UVA player, were asking Williford about trash talking. He said that Akil Mitchell was one of the best during his time on Tony Bennett’s coaching staff, but added that when it comes to practice, that J-Willy himself wasn’t opposed to talking it up.

“I talk more trash in practice than anybody,” Williford said. “Ty used to talk — not in games, but in practice. I would start it and Ty would finish it. Most guys wouldn’t talk trash.”

Williford said he spent several hours on the phone on June 15, when the NCAA permitted schools to contact prospects. He said he made seven or eight calls but contacted about 35 prospects, mostly with texts.

We don’t know exactly who Williford talked to, but we do know that Virginia has been in contact with the No. 1 recruit in the country in the 2022 class, Mark Mitchell, a 6-7, 5-star swingman from Bishop Miege in Roeland Park, Kan. Mitchell has been offered by Kansas, Arkansas and Wake Forest.

The Wahoos have also contacted sophomore Grady Dick, rated No. 28 in his class, and 6-6 forward Noah Batchelor.

Seminoles on Warpath

In a time of protest, Florida State’s football players have signed a petition to change the name of the school’s football stadium, named after Doak S. Campbell, for the past 70 years.

Campbell was the school’s first president in 1950, when the institution transitioned from Florida State College for Women to simply Florida State. The Seminole players started the petition over Campbell’s pro-segregation stance during his time at FSU.

The petition calls for the school to remove Campbell’s name and rename it Bobby Bowden Stadium. Presently it’s Doak Campbell Stadium and Bobby Bowden Field. The players want the field to now be renamed for Charlie Ward, recently polled as the greatest Seminole of all time, which is essentially a no-brainer.

Staying in the Sunshine State

Remember the rogue booster that got Miami placed on probation by giving Hurricane players more than $170,000 in gifts and favors, special benefits if you will?

Miami placed a two-year bowl ban on itself, voluntarily cut its recruiting visits, but the NCAA put the ‘Canes on a three-year probation and took away nine football scholarships and three basketball scholarships in addition to UM’s own self-imposed penalties.

The booster, Nevin Shapiro, who was convicted of a Ponzi scheme, has been released from federal prison and confined to home where he will be monitored while serving the rest of his 20-year sentence.

He was ordered to home confirement due to being an at-risk inmate due to the spread of Covid-19. Shapiro is 51. He was scheduled for release in 2027 after serving time for ripping off investors for $930 million.

His beneficial treatment of Miami athletes led to the Hurricanes’ problems with the NCAA.

Corona Clemson

Clemson’s athletic department has announced that 28 student-athletes and staff have tested positive for coronavirus.

The 28 positives have come from 315 tests administered. According to Clemson reports, the majority of the cases are asymptomatic and no one has been hospitalized.

Covering all the bases …

  • Georgia Tech is installing artificial turf at Bobby Dodd Stadium, replacing the Jackets’ grass field.
  • If a chart I saw about AD salaries in the ACC is accurate, and that Virginia’s Carla Williams is ranked 11th out of 12 schools at $683,500 a year, then someone at UVA needs to pay the lady. She’s better than at least half of the people ranked ahead of her in salary.
  • Our Twitter pal Danny Neckel (@DNeckel19) came up with an interesting factoid the other day: Active college basketball coaches under 55 years old with at least a .700 winning percentage (minimum 200 games) — Sean Miller & Tony Bennett. And Tony won’t be accused of cheating! Active college football coaches under 55 with at least a .600 winning percentage (minimum 100 games) — Dabo Swinney, Jimbo Fisher, Mike Gundy, Bronco Mendenhall.
  • Another gem from Mr. Neckel … most wins in men’s college basketball against top-10 ranked teams at home in the past seven seasons: Virginia 12; UNC 9; Iowa State 8; West Virginia 8; Oklahoma State 7; Duke 7.
  • And another … most wins in men’s college basketball in the past seven seasons: Gonzaga 225; Villanova 215; Kentucky 207; Virginia 201; Kansas 201.


  1. Frank says:

    What a great Father’s Day gift to read beside the biscuits this morning! Thanks Hooty!

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