Klay Thompson, Joe Harris and Kyle Guy are three of the best shooters ever coached by Tony Bennett.
Expecting Virginia signee Carson McCorkle to reach that level of shooting prowess might not be realistic, but the North Carolina native will arrive in Charlottesville with a reputation of being a sharpshooter. A popular YouTube highlight video of McCorkle dubs the shooter as “UVa’s next Kyle Guy.”
He hopes he can become the latest shooter under Bennett to blossom into an NBA player.
“I think Tony Bennett does the best job in the country at developing professional players,” McCorkle said. “I think the Duke’s and Carolina’s and Kentucky’s get kids who are more just ready for the NBA, ready for pros and they’re not doing as much of the developing. I think Coach Bennett can take guys and turn them into professional players better than anybody in the country, which is something that spoke to me.”
To eventually reach those goals, the incoming freshman needs to put in the work. He’s excited to arrive in Charlottesville and begin working under the coaching staff to become a top-tier ACC talent.
McCorkle’s exact arrival date is unknown, given everything surrounding COVID-19, but he’s eagerly awaiting his arrival on grounds. When he enters UVa’s training and practice programs, he hopes to develop defensively while also building his body to be ready for Division I basketball.
Despite being known as a shooter, McCorkle does more on the court than just shoot. He attacks the rim well and can score in numerous ways outside of shooting jumpers. Added muscle might only improve his presence at the rim.
“I think I’m an underrated athlete,” McCorkle said. “I think I’m more athletic around the rim than people realize, and part of that is I don’t use it as much as I should, which is something I’m still trying to work on.”
As McCorkle works on adding weight and developing his game, he’ll have time before he’s needed to fill a major role on Bennett’s roster. The Wahoos return Tomas Woldetensae, Casey Morsell and Kody Stattmann at the shooting guard spot. All three players hold meaningful game experience.
Woldetensae is the current sharpshooter of the group, but with Sam Hauser added into the mix and Jay Huff likely returning alongside point guard Kihei Clark, shooting should not be an issue for the Cavaliers. That gives McCorkle the time needed to grow into his game at the Division I level.
Guy, for example, averaged 18.6 minutes in his first season before moving into a starting role later in his Virginia career. McCorkle should have similar time to work on his game.
Currently, McCorkle is working his way back to 100% after a foot injury. He isn’t playing pick-up basketball yet, but he’s working his way back with a few workouts. He uses pain as his guide to determine what he can and can’t do as he inches closer to being fully healthy.
McCorkle was the first member of UVa’s 2020 recruiting class, which is one of the best signed by Bennett, according to recruiting sites. The three-member freshman class also includes the addition of Rice transfer Trey Murphy III, who has two years of eligibility remaining and is expected to sit out the 2020-21 season as a redshirt.
In terms of incoming freshmen, McCorkle joins star point guard and triple-double machine Reece Beekman as well as small forward Jabri Abdur-Rahim. Beekman spreads the floor and passes exceptionally well, while the other two find ways to score consistently.
“Carson’s gonna bring some added shooting, stretch the floor,” UVa associate head coach Jason Williford said, “and Jabri, he does it all. He’s a three-level scorer.”
UVa’s recruiting class is the second-best group of the Bennett era, according to recruiting rankings, falling behind only the 2016 class of Guy, De’Andre Hunter, Ty Jerome and Huff.
The quartet helped Virginia win its first national championship. The 2020 class is far from a guarantee to bring a title to town, but the group brings with it exceptional talent and a willingness to work.
McCorkle dreams of becoming a pro, but first, he wants to win in a Virginia uniform.
“I think that we all fit the Virginia basketball program very well, and we’re all excited to get up there and we all want to win,” McCorkle said. “We’re not a bunch of selfish guys. We want to do what we can for the team to help us win.”