Given the fact that his father recently became an assistant coach at Old Dominion, B.J. Stith was asked if he had ever given even a fraction of a thought to joining him there.
“No way, no way,” said Stith, smiling. “Not a fraction, not a doubt.
“Wahoo for life. Go Hoos!”
Now, if only Stith could convince a few other players on hand at this week’s NBPA Top 100 Camp to have a similar mindset.
Stith, a rising high school senior who committed to Virginia early in his sophomore season, looked good at John Paul Jones Arena on Thursday.
The son of UVa legend Bryant Stith showed a silky smooth jumper that was falling from various distances. And on one occasion, Stith showed his athleticism when he attempted to take off from the middle of the paint and dunk on a taller defender. Stith missed the dunk, but drew a foul.
“I was kidding with Bryant out there — I said, ‘Well, we know who got all the athleticism,’” joked former Virginia center Olden Polynice, who was coaching B.J.’s team. “He is really solid. You can tell he has a lot of his dad’s skill sets, but with this new generation man, these kids — they learn quicker. He can shoot the ball, he can put it on the ground. He has great vision. He’s a solid, solid player.”
Stith, who has been working out with ODU players and former Virginia star Mike Scott lately, says running track at Brunswick High has helped him improve his athleticism. This spring, he won the Group AA state championship in the 300-meter hurdles and was also part of a victorious 4x400 relay squad.
“I actually hate track,” said Stith, smiling, “but my dad said you ought to run track because it’s good cross training. It really helped me in the long run.”
While Stith was originally recruited by Virginia as a combo guard, some recruiting analysts now see him — due to the way he is filling out — as strictly a wing.
“He has a pretty consistent mid-range jump shot,” said FOXSports recruiting analyst Evan Daniels. “He’s still working on the consistency from 3. He’s a good athlete. He can handle the ball some.
“But I see him as a scoring guard.”
Daniels added: “I think he has the potential to be a pretty good defender. He has good length and moves his feet pretty well laterally.”
Brad Franklin, the managing editor at CavsCorner.com, isn’t ruling out Stith as a point guard.
“I do think that ultimately B.J. will be more comfortable on the wing and that Virginia will probably use him there because of the guys they have on the roster,” Franklin said, “but I do think because he can use either hand, because he’s used to being a floor general for his dad that he could [see minutes at point guard].”
Right now, Stith says he sees himself as a shooting guard.
“I’m definitely a 2 — 2 is probably my main position,” he said. “But I have been working hard in the weight room, doing pushups with my dad, so hopefully when I get to the ACC, I’ll be able to play against those bigger guards.”
Polynice believes Stith, if he continues on his current trajectory, could wind up being better than his dad.
“I think there is a higher ceiling for him — just because of his athleticism,” said Polynice, who wasn’t a teammate of Bryant's at Virginia, but played against him in the NBA. “At the same time, what made Bryant so special was the mental part. I think there’s some of that in B.J., but he’s still young, so I don’t know how that’s going to develop for him.
“But I think if he gets on the right program, I can see the same path for him to the NBA.”
Stith, who will play at Oak Hill Academy this season, says he doesn’t mind the lofty expectations.
“I’ve always [had] expectations ever since I was born,” he said, “so I embrace expectations.”
This week, Stith has put on his own assistant coaching shoes in trying to help Virginia land fellow 2014 prospect Angel Delgado — a 6-foot-8 post player from Troy, N.Y., via the Dominican Republic, who is known for his tenacious rebounding.
“I’ve been talking to him non-stop for the past two days,” Stith said. “We’ve established a close bond and we hang out a lot. I told him maybe we could meet and tour the campus.”
Stith, a frequent visitor himself to JPJ this past season, says he can’t wait to start his college career.
“I loved watching the team," he said, "and the great thing about this team is that we’re so young, we have so many pieces coming in.
"The future is so bright for UVa.”