UVA lands Florida State point guard Jalen Warley

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: FSU Athletics

It took a while, but Virginia finally landed its first player from the transfer portal on Saturday when Florida State point guard Jalen Warley announced he had committed to Tony Bennett’s program.

The 6-foot-7, 205-pound guard brings exactly what Bennett was looking for in a point guard — size, a feel for the game, a good basketball IQ and versatility on both ends of the floor.

As a big, experienced guard with three years of experience in the ACC, Warley can guard multiple positions, anything from an opposing point guard to some power forwards.

A McDonald’s All-American nominee out of high school in Philadelphia back in the 2021 class, Warley strongly considered UVA, but ultimately chose the Seminoles over Virginia and a host of other schools. His recruitment was hindered by the no in-person contact during that Covid year.

Warley has one year of eligibility remaining, which should give redshirt freshman Christian Bliss time to develop, along with possibly McDonald’s All-American point guard Trent Perry, who decommitted from Southern Cal and is believed to be deciding this week between Virginia and UCLA.

Appearing in 96 career games for Leonard Hamilton’s Seminoles, Warley started 32 of 33 FSU games this past season, averaging 24 minutes per contest. He averaged 7.5 points per game, 2.8 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals. Like UVA’s departed Reece Beekman, Warley owns an exceptional assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.6-to-1.

The only chink in Warley’s repertoire would be his outside shot. He was a career 29 percent 3-point shooter for FSU, attempting only 7 all of last season.

In high school, he was rated the No. 43 overall prospect in the nation and was one of the highest-rated recruits in Florida State history, actually ranked as the No. 3 combo guard in the country. He started at point guard the past two seasons in Tallahassee, and as a sophomore, averaged 6.8 points per game, 2.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

His father, Jason, played at St. Joseph’s in Philly and his grandfather, Ben Warley, played at Tennessee State before enjoying a healthy career in the old ABA.