Xavier. Louisville. Indiana. Florida. Wisconsin. Those are just a few of the high profile programs to offer North Carolina big man Kadin Shedrick since he started blowing up a month and a half ago. And in very short order, Tony Bennett and staff swooped in and made Kadin the second member of the 2019 class.
Kadin is a 6-10 combo big. The beneficiary of "the mother of all high school growth spurts," he started high school as a 6-2 guard and in three years just blossomed. Of course, when a kid grows vertically like this, it usually comes at the expense of adding much relative mass, so he's like a ton of HS big men who need to add bulk to hang at the P5 level. But the flip side is he developed a lot of guard skill set in the interim that make him incredibly well rounded: he can run, pass, and shoot at a plus level for his position. In that way he reminds us of Akil Mitchell, who was a wing until he grew a couple inches late and became an agile post for UVA.
Shedrick will slot in as a versatile 4/5 in that Akil/Darion/Wilkins/Mamadi (and ostensibly Baddochi) role, with the versatility to defend a variety of big men. He's a little longer than most of those; we'll see how bouncy he is.
His path to early playing time may wind up being predicated on Mamadi's NBA decision next year. There's an element of the timing aspect of this that smells of Kadin being insurance in case Mamadi, a former five star recruit by some services, one who could be wrapping up a degree this coming spring, finally plays consistent enough ball that an NBA front office is willing to invest in his otherworldly athleticism. With Salt graduating, Kadin will enter a front court rotation that potentially includes Diakite (Sr), Huff (Jr), Baddochi (So), and Caffaro (So or RS Fr), to say nothing of Braxton Key (Sr or Jr) as a small ball 4. But given his physical development needs (Mike Curtis is licking his chops as we speak), I'm sure part of the appeal of UVA to Shedrick is the ability to soak and grow for a year prior to really being thrown into the deep end.
Looking at this as part of the overall recruiting picture, Kadin's commitment effectively shuts down 2019 until the spring, no more scholarships available next year if there's no attrition. That is, unless Coach Bennett has solid information that someone will be leaving after this season, and he decides to stay after Chase Hunter. Looking at the rosters going forward, the Hoos will be awful thin at guard if one is not added in 2019. It gives Bennett a tough decision between his usual principles and the needs of the current situation.
(Aside: usually I'd post a graphic here with the scholarship picture projected out over a couple of seasons, but with Key's waiver still in adjudication, and Caffaro and Stattmann redshirt question marks, it's too much guesswork right now to post anything. I'll do one come October once those questions are answered.)
"No attrition," you ask? Yes, we're probably losing players early to the pros next summer, most likely Hunter but I consider Mamadi, Guy, and Jerome to be early entry threats to varying degrees as well. But I just don't see Tony over-signing come November, and I don't see any currently targeted recruits agreeing to wait around until Spring to commit and/or sign. So let's consider 2019 done for now. Onto the big, important 2020 class with needs and early playing time available at multiple position groups.
My last point is that this punctuates a nice turnaround with recruiting this spring and summer. Between the commitment of Hunter in late 2015 and this past April, UVA's four commitments were all lower rated and less sought after by rival colleges. This isn't to deny the potential in any of those players, but UVA fans weren't entirely wrong to stress after a disastrous summer last year that saw Bennett and company fail to close on a large number of well rated and highly prioritized targets.
But over the last four months, we've seen the staff get four commitments that swung the momentum positive once again. Casey Morsell and Kadin are both Top 75 2019 players. Francisco Caffaro wound up being a consensus 4-star after exploding at FIBA Americas U18. And transfer Braxton Key was a Top 75 recruit and former all-SEC freshman. For all those who say Tony's recruiting "sweet spot" should be players in that 35-125 ranking range, you're getting your wish.
This commitment is a really positive development for the program, and Tony no longer needs to waste energy playing recruiting whack a mole through September and October like he did last year. Instead, he can devote himself to a lower-pressure, lower-profile 2020 recruiting effort and actually preparing his current roster for the upcoming 2018-19 season, defending our ACC crown yet again.
We will have a full scouting report with video later this week, as Seattle Hoo puts the football preview to bed and has time to sit with the Garner Road AAU games he downloaded. Until then, here are some highlights put together by an Indiana publication.
Congratulations to Coach Bennett and to Kadin Shedrick. Welcome to the family!