UVA’s Beekman, Dunn on Naismith Defensive Player of Year list

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo by Josie Drumheller, Virginia Athletics

Two Virginia stars are included on the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year watch list, as UVA is one of only two schools in the country with two players on the list.

Senior Reece Beekman and sophomore Ryan Dunn represent the Cavaliers on the Naismith list. Kansas also has two players on the list.

Beekman ranks at the top of the list in three statistical categories in the ACC: No. 1 in steals (2.39 per game); No. 1 in assists (6.13) and No. 1 in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.13). He’s also No. 14 in field-goal percentage (44.7).

Dunn leads the ACC in blocked shots (50; 2.17 per game), and is ninth in steals (1.61) and ninth in rebounding (7.3).

Beekman earned a shoutout from legendary ESPN hoops analyst Dick Vitale during Monday night’s UVA win over Miami:

“Yes, Reece Beekman has been a terrific PTPER offensively and defensively,” Vitale tweeted. “Once again tonight he sparks UVA to their seventh straight win as they routed (Miami) 60-38. They’re now playing Tony Bennett basketball – control tempo & defend as a team unit.”

According to the “No Ceilings” 2024 NBA Draft Big Board, both of the Cavaliers are projected as draft choices this spring.

Dunn is No. 16 on that list, while Beekman is No. 58. The only ACC player rated ahead of Dunn is Duke’s Kyle Filipowski at No. 12.