With UVA football sitting at 2-4 and looking like one of the worst if not the worst teams in the ACC, we will be stepping away from football this week to focus on Virginia CavaliersThe men’s basketball team officially named Tony Bennett is less than a month into the 2022-2023 season. First, we take a look at the entire team roster and how returning players and new faces will fit together in the rotation.
Here’s a quick look at an approximate projected depth chart for ‘Hoos’ heading into season:
UVA Basketball Depth Chart 2022-2023
|guard point||Shoot the guard||small forward||forward force||center|
|guard point||Shoot the guard||small forward||forward force||center|
|R. Beckman||K. Clark||a. Franklin||c. Gardner||K. Shedrick|
|I’m McNeely||T. Murray||B. Van der Plas||F. Caffaro|
|R. Dunn||L Bund||I fawned|
Clarke and Beckman will apparently be sharing point guard duties with each able to play the lead guard when the other is not on the ground. Then after that, the only important differentiation in positions is really between the three guard points and the two front-court positions. For example, McKneely can play a small forward as well as the shooting guard due to this team’s typical immobilizer system which specifies three guards playing in the perimeter and two big players playing indoors.
Expected starting lineup
With UVA all but Kody Stattmann returning from last season’s cycle, the starting lineup should start the season exactly as it ended last year with Reece Beekman, Kihei Clark, Armaan Franklin, Jayden Gardner and Kadin Shedrick the first five on the ground for Tony Bennett’s team.
Now in his third season in Charlottesville, Beckman should be the captain of this team on both ends of the floor. He will enter the expected year as the best defender in the ACC, and with the expected development offensively as he begins to get more aggressive hunting with his own look, he should start to thrive more on the other side of the ball as well. He has always been an accomplished key goalkeeper with the ability to engage his teammates as a playmaker. Now, he needs to take on more responsibility as a goalscorer while hopefully he will be able to use his skills more effectively as a dealer with better shooting in the 2022-2023 roster.
Clark fits in with Beckman as the most experienced player on this team. He’s back for his fifth season in what is likely to be an additionally smaller role as his younger teammate continues to grab the reins of attack and the team as a whole. Clarke’s presence remains extremely valuable to this team, and his presence as an improved wrestler, occasional playmaker and defensive scourge, as ever, would be intangible for this team.
Of course, another season in Charlottesville with young players nominated should mean that Clarke’s role and the amount of offensive responsibility have to be scaled back to make room for up-and-coming players. But, at the end of the day, he’s still a crucial component of this team.
Retaining the third guard position, the former Indiana move to Armand Franklin is entering his second year in Charlottesville hoping for more consistency, particularly from behind the three-point line. Franklin, who was shooting 32.3% from depth, was 29.6% last season in 5.1 attempts per competition, the shooter was incredibly sweaty in the 2021-2022 season and spent time training with ex-Wahoo Justin Anderson this off season as he appears to be The most reliable pick-and-shoot option on the ocean. If not, there are a few guys out there who can challenge him for minutes so he doesn’t have the same leash he used last season.
UVA’s top scorer and last year’s best player, Jayden Gardner is back for his fifth year in college basketball and sophomore year with ‘Hoos ready to pick up where he left off. An absolute bucket from the midrange and on the inside finish, Gardner scored 15.3 points per game for Virginia last season – and more importantly – he grew as an individual defender and as part of the larger puzzle of Packline’s defense.
His physical limits lower his bar as a defender, but he has proven himself as a strong and backed defender against the right opponent. Similar to Clarke, the team’s reliance on him offensively is likely to decline with the continued development of his younger teammates. But he must remain the team’s top scorer and will be crucial to its success.
A potential fifth player for Whous this season will be Kaden Sheedrick in the center. While the split primarily began with Francisco Cavaro last season, Shedrick is the player with the most potential and the North Carolina native’s third breakout year is quite on the table, Especially after he played well on the team’s trip to Italy.
If Shedrick can create a mediocre jumper who is committed to his off-season development, reduce the missteps that have plagued him last year, and be more consistent as a leader when passing the ball indoors, he could wreak absolute chaos for the ‘Hoos. He is already a very good blocker and can be a closed defender from the top competitors. Combine a growing offensive game, and you’ve got a player set to blast into his fourth year (after two active seasons and one red cap) in Charlottesville—which usually happens when the Wahoo seniors emerge from their cocoons.
With those five starting, the almost guaranteed sixth man for UVA for this upcoming season should be Ohio’s Ben Vander Place. A versatile offensive weapon, Vander Plas will provide Tony Bennett and the staff with more variety in the squad than on the team last season. He’s a legit playmaker as a 6’8″ striker. He’s got a range of depth, isn’t afraid to let him fly, and should add a new element to Virginia’s offense as he can spread the floor as an off-ball option or as a pick-and-roll sifter. Vander Plas will force the opponent’s defenses to adapt to him as he enters the game, and that will be meaningful to an attacker who struggled to find multiple ways to attack opponents last season.
Admittedly, how Vander Plas fits into positional rotation is still a little unknown especially considering that last season’s UVA player of the year – Jayden Gardner – plays Vander Plas’s favorite position in the power forward. I’ll get to what that means for the UVA squad in another story this week, but how Bennett gets his BVP on the ground consistently should determine how much the Wisconsin native can help this team win.
After Vander Plas, Francisco Cavaro is probably the next most famous lot for ‘Hoos. He’s understated the 2021-2022 season as his defense has improved dramatically, given good insider physique, and even added a punch in the low post at times. The Argentine is likely to lose in minutes with the rise of Chedrick and the arrival of Vander Place, but he provides stability on the bench if the front court tackles a foul issue and can play heavy minutes against certain opponents that require more fitness on the boards. .
The last remaining returnee on the scholarship is sophomore Kiwi student Tyne Murray. A 6’5 guard best suited for a ‘three and a D’ role, the New Zealand national was UVA’s eighth man outside of the seven men’s rotation in 2021-2022. When he got minutes, they were usually a small four-ball because the staff didn’t seem comfortable with him playing and dealing with the ocean.
However, his physique and defensive ability were impressive especially when guarding the larger players, and he added a four stretch element to the attack that the team lacked as he shot 34.8% (8-23) of his three balls. He has a pure deep ball that can be, at times, oddly ineffective. But if Murray handles the ball better and can hit from a three, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be a part of this team’s rotation.
Now we get to the new students. Starting with the player with the best penetrating spinning shot, Isaac McKneely could be exactly the player this team needs between deep in their backcourt. With expertise in the Packline and Mover Blocker schemes that form the basis of the UVA system, McKneely also boasts a DI ready frame. He brings elite three-point shooting, serious rebounding and athleticism, and goal-scoring ability that may not be on full display in year one, but can be very good. If someone like Franklin or Clark isn’t performing, McNeely can snatch minutes from them along the lines of what Kyle Jay did in the 2016-17 season from Darius Thompson and Mariul Chayuk.
The next freshman to get a real chance to play this year is Isaac McNeely’s classmate and roommate, Isaac Traudt. A 6’10” striker who can strike from within a few feet of the three-point line, has perimeter playmaking skills, and is a killer in pick-and-roll, the Nebraska native will need to answer questions about how he displays defensively and how well he continues to perform on both ends. floor. He has good hands defensively and averaged a surprising 2.3 steals per game in his three competitions during UVA’s trip to Italy.
However, the learning curve for a senior Wahoo is quite steep, so his ability and speed will be tested and should determine the amount of time he spends in his first year. Of course, he also enters the season with four top-tier men ahead of him on the front-court depth chart, so it’s little more than a hill for McNeely to climb.
That leaves us with two real strangers to have a meaningful time this season: Ryan Dunn and Leon Bond. The two new student wings come to Charlottesville in somewhat similar boats.
Starting with the 6’5″ striker Bond, the rough plan when he originally committed was for him to stick to the red jersey in his first season. This doesn’t seem to be set in stone yet, but either way his way into the minutes is tough. He doesn’t have the skills to play as a mover, so he’s stuck behind five players on the front courts including two strikers at Vander Place and Gardner who will occupy the minutes in the four.
This should not diminish Bond’s potential nor his skill set. He’ll be impressive defensively with amazing height, footwork and IQ. He’s also got a nice jump shot because he’s extending his range beyond the three-point line and can be an effective slash for ‘Hoos’ once he’s comfortable. It’s not out of the question for Bond to play his way up the rotation this season especially if older players are struggling. But it is unlikely.
Arguably the player with the highest cap in the 2022 class, Ryan Dunn will be special in the long run, particularly offensively. He’s coming out on his lower leg (I think) towards the end of his first year which has hampered him a bit. Dunn is still a bit of a prospect, especially with his handle and in terms of looking after the ball.
But oh my gosh, this kid could be so special. He has a set of skills that could show him as an absolute bulldozer winger, and at 6’8″, he has great height and leaps. This poster from Italy’s first match is proof enough of that:
He’s still a bit skinny, so that, combined with some messing around with his game, probably means he’s not getting real chances this season and that maybe he could be late. But if he finds a way to hack this team, it will be something worth watching.
That’s it for our list and rotation details for ‘Hoos’. Stay tuned for more pre-season basketball content on Streaking the Lawn this week. We have a bball mailbag podcast coming out later today with additional analytical stories growing as the week progresses.