In his tenure at Virginia, Tony Bennett has been known for finding hidden talent and turning that talent into a premier ACC player. These players usually come out of high school as a three star recruit, sometimes even a two star.
In the past few years, Bennett has begun to recruit some bigger names, going after four stars and even some five stars. However, despite Virginia’s past success, many high school stars are hesitant to join Bennett’s program due to the emphasis on development over multiple years. In addition, many players who plan on staying just one year want to win in their short college career, and prior to last season, the Cavaliers missed the Final Four every year in the Bennett era.
Since Virginia won the National Championship, Tony Bennett has already seen two elite players commit to his school. First, 2019 forward Justin McKoy recently announced his decision, picking Virginia over UNC, despite growing up in North Carolina. Shortly after, 2020 Jabri Abdul-Rahim decided to take his talents to Virginia, which could wind up capping off Bennetts beet recruiting class ever. Not to mention he picked up the 2019 JUCO player of the year in Tomas Woldentensae.
These three pickups could be a sign of something to come for Virginia. Tony Bennett has not only shown he can win, but he has also shown that players can go to Virginia and leave in less than four years as a better player. De’Andre Hunter played only two years with the Wahoos, and he went from the 72 ranked player in his class to the fourth overall draft pick.
Tony Bennett will not become a one and done recruiter. He will continue to recruit diamond in the rough type players. However, the four star players that usually pick blue bloods over UVA quite possibly will begin to pick Virginia now, and that’s mainly due to the Cavaliers National Championship run.