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How Reece Beekman found his voice for Virginia basketball

How Reece Beekman found his voice for Virginia basketball
Reece Beekman is shooting 44.9% from 3-point range this season. (Credit: Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)
Andrew Florio

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (BVM) — Like a typical year, University of Virginia basketball has emerged as one of the best teams in the ACC. 

In a program that always has star talent, junior guard Reece Beekman stands out as a unique player for the Cavaliers.

When he has the ball, there is a sense of calmness over the rest of the team. Everyone on the court knows that Beekman will make the right play with the right sense of urgency to give them the best chance of success on every single possession.

The 6-foot-3 playmaker has turned into a beloved figure in the program and an important one on the court.

But before Beekman became so monumental in Charlottesville, he was just a kid trying to find a niche.

Growing up in the Milwaukee area, he would always head to the gym with his older brother. But Beekman would not play, just watch. 

During shootarounds, he would watch jump shot after jump shot. During the games, he would watch the movement of everyone on the court and basic plays being run. He was getting hooked on all of the simplicities that make the game of basketball so great.

“I was kind of nervous and kind of shy to get into the game at first, so it took a while,” Beekman said. 

Once Beekman did, there was no looking back.

His family moved to Baton Rouge when he was 13 and a couple of years later, he became a star at Scotlandville Magnet High School. As a senior, Beekman took home the Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year, while leading the Hornets to a fourth consecutive state title.

To no surprise, Beekman was a coveted recruit, being ranked as the No. 70 player in the country according to 247 Sports.

With the combination of a great basketball program and great athletics, Beekman knew that Virginia was the school for him.

“It’s one of the top schools in the United States,” Beekman said. “Having that is just a win-win situation that you can’t get at many places.”

Now in his third year at Virginia, Beekman is reaping the rewards of his decision.

While he has excelled on the court, he has also really gotten to enjoy the city and community of Charlottesville. Beekman, who arrived during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, has made up for lost time.

“I’m a big food guy, so it’s been nice finding places to eat,” Beekman said. “Just the people are really kind. They’re always giving me encouragement. With it being a college town, you can just feel the basketball vibe.”

But Beekman has not only gotten the attention of the Virginia fanbase but from NBA scouts as well. Throughout the year, he has been projected to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has previously slotted him going No. 28 to the Utah Jazz.

He is averaging 9.7 points with 5.1 assists to 1.7 turnovers. Beekman is also shooting at a 44.9% clip from 3.

“Coming into this year, I had people tell me I had the chance to be a prospect. I took that as a sign that I’m almost there, so I just worked this summer on things I need to play at the next level,” Beekman said. “It’s a great feeling and something I’ve dreamed about for a long time.”

With Beekman’s prospect status, it would be easy to overlook many things on his way to the NBA, but the thing that he is focused on the most is developing his leadership qualities even further.

“I just want to continue to be a leader on the team. As a point guard, that’s something you have to do as you run the team,” Beekman said.

As a kid who was too shy to try basketball at first, it’s a bit out of his comfort zone. But considering he has been the catalyst for a top-10 team in the country, Beekman is doing a fine job of leading his team.