Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Comings and goings Part IV: Virginia

Mone' Jones is a top 100 ESPN recruit 
We continue our series of Comings and goings with Part IV: Virginia.

Comings and Goings: Old Dominion
Comings and Goings: Richmond
Comings and Goings: George Mason

Who's going

- Sarah Beth Barnette: 6-2 F, Lexington, Ky.; lone career start was on Senior Day for the Kentucky transfer, who had her career-high 10 in her first game as a Cavalier against James Madison; member of the 2015 NCAA Good Works Team given her numerous volunteer efforts

- Tiffany Suarez, 5-11 G, Miami; appeared in 50 games over two seasons (10.8 minutes per game); transferred to Fordham, has two years of eligibility starting in 2016-17

- Sarah Imovbioh, 6-2 C, Abuja, Nigeria (St. Anne's Belfield); transferred to South Carolina, has one year of instant eligibility (2015-16) as she graduated from Virginia in May. Scored 1,028 points and grabbed 793 rebounds in three seasons; was ACC's leading rebounder last year (10.8 rpg). Had 22 points and 17 rebounds vs. Louisville; 18 points and 24 rebounds vs. Ohio State.

Virginia's huge loss in Imovbioh is Dawn Staley's big-time gain at South Carolina, which was a point away from advancing to the national championship a year ago. The Nigerian is the third transfer Gamecock Nation has snagged, as Staley has also added guard Kaela Davis (Georgia Tech) and Allisha Gray (North Carolina). Her loss and the transfer of Suarez are indicative of the difficult season the Cavs endured punctuated by a disappointing effort against Old Dominion in the first round of the WNIT, their final game.

Who's coming

- Debra Ferguson, 6-4 C, Madison Heights, Va. (Amherst County H.S.); power post who can shoot the 3 and anchor the defense

- Mone' Jones, 6-3 F, Durham, N.C. (Riverside H.S.); No. 61 on the ESPNW 100 recruiting rankings; averaged 23 points and 7.5 rebounds. Third team all-state pick by the North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association

- Shakyna Payne, 6-3 F, Acworth, Ga. (Southwest Atlanta Christian); played first three years of high school ball at Etowah High; athletic post with tremendous upside who needs to develop on offense

- J'Kyra Brown, 5-11 G, Rocky Mount, N.C. (Rocky Mount High); transfer from East Carolina; sat out last season and has three years of eligibility beginning in 2015-16.; averaged 5.9 ppg at ECU as a freshman in 2012-13

Talent hasn't been the problem at Virginia under Joanne Boyle, and 2015-16 continues the trend of solid recruits -- and in this case, recruits with size -- to the program that is looking to return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010. Boyle has lamented Virginia's inability to attract top post players, and signing three players 6-3 or taller makes up for that. But while the Cavs have bodies, developing players in the post time, so asking one of the freshmen to contribute big numbers in the ACC from the tip is a tall order. Ideally, Imovbioh would have carried the load, but without her, questions remain in the post for Virginia. In addition to the freshmen, Brown has shined in workouts.

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