Transfer portal update: two guards visited, now a power forward

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: UVA Athletics

It has been an interesting week for Virginia and the transfer portal, as a pair of star guards made official visits, while one power forward did not show up and another is scheduled to officially visit on Friday.

Xavier Amos, a 6-foot-8 forward from Northern Illinois, is set to come in Friday as UVA hopes to stock its frontcourt deficiencies.

With Jordan Minor’s eligibility used up, Ryan Dunn headed to the NBA and Leon Bond having transferred out of the program, it is imperative that the Cavaliers sign at least one big man out of the portal to increase the depth at that position, where only Blake Buchanan and redshirt freshman Anthony Robinson return.

UVA also has 6-9 Jacob Cofie coming in as a true freshman, so it would be helpful to add another frontcourt player with college experience. Amos could be that guy.

Amos, a sophomore, averaged 14 points, 6 rebounds and 1 blocked shot per game last season for the Huskies in 25 starts. He shot 50 percent from the field and made 57 percent of his 2-point attempts. He is also an effective 3-point shooter, having made 39 percent of his triple attempts last season. Virginia’s staff likes his versatility and ability to spread the floor.

Also pursued by Texas, Nebraska, Illinois and Xavier, Amos is considered one of the most versatile forwards in the nation. Virginia was on him early, and there are indicators the Cavaliers are frontrunners for his services.

Meanwhile, Toby Okani, who was scheduled to arrive in Charlottesville on Tuesday, was a no-show. Okani, a transfer from Illinois-Chicago, is a grad student with one year of eligibility remaining. Another big man who did visit the week before, 6-8 Joshua Jefferson of St. Mary’s, is signing with Iowa State.

Two big-time guards did officially visit, as McDonald’s All-American Trent Perry from Los Angeles visited UVA last weekend and was spotted at both the Charlottesville Airport, where he was greeted by the entire coaching staff, and later that night at Vivace restaurant, where he had dinner with Tony Bennett.

It is assumed that Perry would be given an NIL deal with the area McDonald’s franchises since he posed in a Virginia uniform while holding a Happy Meal and a carton of fries. McDonald’s had a similar deal with Kihei Clark and quarterback Brennan Armstrong.

Perry, who would be the highest-ranked recruit to sign with UVA during the Bennett era, had not visited any other schools since decommitting from Southern Cal after Andy Enfield exited as Trojans’ coach to accept the job at SMU.

At this point, there is no confirmation of Perry agreeing to any other visits, although Gonzaga has expressed strong interest, and there is a rumor that Duke may try to get involved.

Jefferson’s former teammate at St. Mary’s, 6-3 combo guard Aiden Mahaney, also visited UVA earlier in the week. The two-time, All-WCC first-teamer was spotted walking the Grounds with Bennett.

With two years of eligibility remaining, Mahaney would also be a great “get,” with college experience and leadership on a team that lacks both at guard. Mahaney was the Gaels’ leading scorer last season with 13.9 points per game, including 35.5 percent from the arc on 6.9 attempts per game.

Mahaney is rated the No. 2 combo guard in the portal. He is visiting UConn today and has already visited Creighton. He may also visit Kentucky this weekend.

The Cavaliers would prefer to land both Perry and Mahaney along with Amos, which would be a magnificent recruiting coup if Bennett can pull this off against some pretty heavy odds.