Where does UVA go from here in the transfer portal?

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: UVA Athletics

As of midnight Wednesday, Virginia was one of five ACC schools that did not have any players entered into the NCAA’s basketball transfer portal. However, the Cavaliers have been actively reaching out to players who have entered the portal in hopes of improving the UVA roster for next season.

With playmaker Reece Beekman and post player Jordan Minor leaving, Virginia is in the market for a high-volume scorer(s) and a physical big man with experience.

The Cavaliers’ coaching staff has reached out to several players in the portal, as more players put their names in daily. The portal opened March 18 and closes on May 1, a total of 45 days, which is 15 days less than a year ago.

Virginia has made contact with one of the top 10 players in the portal in former Iowa guard Tony Perkins. The 6-foot-4 guard would be a good fit for UVA and would add another scorer/playmaker with experience to the mix.

Perkins, who has one year of eligibility remaining, played in 126 games for the Hawkeyes and started 81. This past season, as Iowa’s second-leading scorer, he averaged 14 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 43 percent from the field and 30 percent from the 3-point line.

Originally from Indianapolis, Perkins has drawn a huge amount of attention from basketball power programs, including two of his home-state schools, Purdue and Indiana.

The Cavaliers have also contacted junior guard Jordan Sears of UT-Martin, a 5-11 playmaker who averaged 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, and shot 43.2 percent from the 3-point arc. He’s a dynamic guard who was among the finalists for the Lou Henson Award, and who also led the Ohio Valley Conference in scoring.

Sears, from Daytona, Fla., scored 692 total points, the third-highest, single-season figure in school history. He’s also a good free-throw shooter, breaking Martin’s 38-year-old mark for foul shots made.

Virginia lost out on Belmont transfer Ja’Kobi Gillespie, a 6-1, sophomore guard who chose Maryland over the Cavaliers, Florida and Oklahoma. He averaged 17 points and 4 rebounds per game.

Here is a list of other players in the portal that Virginia has reached out to thus far:

  • Malik Dia, Belmont, 6-9 sophomore, 16.9 ppg
  • Michael Ajayi, Pepperdine
  • Michael Nwoko, Miami, 6-10, 245, 2.2 ppg., 0.8 rpg. He is physical, used on ballscreens and roll to the basket. Would be good in mover-blocker offense
  • Maximus Edwards, George Washington, guard, two years of eligibility, 12.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg.
  • Jerry Deng, Hampton U., 6-9. Shot 39 percent from 3-point range as a freshman
  • Jhamir Brickus, LaSalle, 5-11 guard, 13.9 ppg, 4.8 assists, 41 percent from 3-point line
  • Jalen Leach, Fairfield
  • Mikeal Brown-Jones, UNCG, grad transfer, forward, originally played at VCU in 2021

Others will be added to this list once known.

Virginia joins North Carolina, Duke, Clemson and SMU among the 17 ACC schools that did not have a player in the portal as of midnight Wednesday. Here is a list of ACC schools and the number of players who have indicated they have or intend to place their names in the portal:

  • California – 5
  • Clemson – 0
  • Duke – 0
  • Florida State – 2
  • Georgia Tech – 2
  • Louisville – 10
  • Miami – 5
  • North Carolina – 0
  • NC State – 1
  • Notre Dame – 2
  • Pitt – 2
  • SMU – 0
  • Stanford – 4
  • Syracuse – 4
  • Virginia – 0
  • Virginia Tech – 6
  • Wake Forest – 3