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Virginia could strike gold by landing CJ Bryce

 

Just when it seemed like Virginia was done working the transfer circuit, UNCW’s C.J. Bryce came on the market.

UVA is among a long list of suitors for the All-CAA guard. As a sophomore this past season, Bryce averaged 17.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.

Virginia will be in solid shape with or without Bryce, who will have to sit out next season. But with two years of eligibility remaining starting with the 2018-19 season, he’s also exactly the kind of scoring guard who could propel the Cavs back to the top of the ACC standings.

Bryce isn’t the first sophomore shooting guard Virginia has pursued this spring. The Cavaliers didn’t get too far in the process with Marcus Evans, a product of the Hampton Roads area who led Rice in scoring during the 2016-17 season before committing to VCU. They later lost out to Pitt in a battle for St. John’s transfer Malik Ellison.

Bryce made a considerable leap before his sophomore season to become UNCW’s best player. He is arguably better than both Evans and Ellison. At UVA, he could join a junior class that presumably will include Ty Jerome, Kyle Guy and Mamadi Diakite.

That’s a potential combination of talent and experience few teams are going to match. However, there is plenty of competition to land Bryce.

Wake Forest, Miami, Georgia Tech and NC State are among the schools after Bryce. And that’s just from the ACC.

Bryce is from Charlotte, N.C., so the Wolfpack has the advantage of being in his home state. New NC State head coach Kevin Keatts also recruited and coached Bryce at UNCW.

But NCSU doesn’t hold every advantage. Virginia and Gonzaga, both of which are pursuing Bryce, have won consistently in recent years, while Keatts faces a rebuilding job in Raleigh.

Bryce said in an email exchange this week he has yet to narrow his list. He did, however, acknowledge the allure of playing for Keatts in other published reports.

But after offensive struggles sunk the Cavaliers this season, expect Virginia to make a strong push. The Cavaliers will need to replace Devon Hall and Rutgers transfer Nigel Johnson after the upcoming season.

It’s too early to tell if Virginia has much of a chance, but don’t be surprised if the Cavs work as hard as any team to land the best player left on the transfer list.

 

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