Virginia lands highest-ranked recruit since '16

Virginia landed a commitment from top-50 senior Reece Beekman on Thursday morning, he told ESPN's Paul Biancardi.

Beekman, a 6-foot-2 point guard, visited the campus in November and returned to Charlottesville, Virginia, this week for the NBPA Top 100 camp. He ultimately chose the Cavaliers over Marquette and Alabama, among other schools.

"[Coach] Tony Bennett is a straightforward guy, and they win big," Beekman told Biancardi. "I like his calmness in big moments, and he definitely lets his guards play."

Beekman, a Wisconsin native who plays at Scotlandville Magnet High School in Louisiana, is ranked No. 44 overall in the ESPN 60 for the 2020 class, slotting in as the No. 8 point guard. He had a strong spring playing for the Phenom University grassroots program on the Nike EYBL circuit, averaging 10.8 points and 4.2 rebounds while ranking sixth in the league with 6.9 assists per game.

"Both of us are from Wisconsin," Beekman's mother, Julie Jackson, told Biancardi of Bennett. "The more I did my research, the more I found out we had some mutual acquaintances. Everyone said the same thing: Tony Bennett is a great person and coach. The respect for Tony and the program is remarkable."

"The process was overwhelming," Jackson added. "But UVa got involved in an organic way. After a close loss to Woodz Elite 16s last year at the Peach Jam, assistant coach Orlando Vandross started recruiting Reece. He said after watching him play [that] we can take him anywhere in the ACC. He will compete to the end. Ever since that game, UVa has been extremely genuine and consistent in their approach."

Beekman is Bennett's highest-ranked commitment since the 2016 class, when Virginia landed five-star guard Kyle Guy, top-50 guard Ty Jerome and ESPN 100 forward De'Andre Hunter -- the nucleus of the Cavaliers' national championship team last season. Beekman is also the fifth top-50 prospect to commit to Virginia since Bennett took over in 2009, joining Guy, Jerome, Mamadi Diakite and Justin Anderson.

Virginia now has two commitments in the 2020 class, with Beekman and four-star guard Carson McCorkle.