Sacha Killeya-Jones: Junior Primer

The four position appears solid in the 2016 class, and Sacha Killeya-Jones is on his way toward becoming one of its leading lights.

How he got here

Sacha Killeya-Jones has been a grassroots presence for still less than one year. The skinny power forward spent his first couple years nestled at academic powerhouse Woodberry Forest near the University of Virginia, so it wasn’t until the 2014 spring that he fully broke out as a high-major prospect.

Killeya-Jones actually played football initially. He reached 6-7 and it became apparent he was outgrowing the sport, however, and thus he turned his focus to hoops. He played with the Team Felton program in 2013, drawing initial interest from select colleges but not generating widespread scouting attention.

Killeya-Jones seems to improve with each passing month

His time with 2017 star Jalek Felton clearly benefited him, but by last summer he no longer required assistance. I watched Killeya-Jones for the first time at the Scouts Focus event that ran parallel to the NBPA Top 100 Camp (both on campus at UVa) in June, and he clearly possessed big league talent.

Albeit far from where he’d have to get physically (we first clocked him at 6-10, 190 pounds; he now weighs roughly 205), his face-up shooting ability and overall mobility clearly earmarked him as a top 100 prospect.

He transferred to Lynchburg (Va.) Virginia Episcopal for his junior year, a squad that also features talented guard Justice Kithcart. Killeya-Jones has thrived at his new locale, outplaying another high-major prospect, Mamadi Diakite, in an early season contest. He also put together some outstanding moments at December’s HSOT Invitational.

Killeya-Jones ultimately drew serious interest from Virginia, Wake Forest, George Washington, Georgetown, North Carolina, Duke, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Alabama and others, but he pledged to Tony Bennett’s increasingly prominent Cavalier program early this month.

To 2015. …

Strength obviously looms as a priority. Killeya-Jones already has packed on some muscle, which was evident to me — and we discussed it briefly in December — at the HSOT. The more weight and power he can add prior to his matriculation to Charlottesville, the better.

Along with fine-tuning his physique, he continues to build an offensive identity. Killeya-Jones certainly can face the basket and knock down jumpers from the elbow, and along with increased mass he’s able to set up more deeply in the post and deliver soft, smooth jump hooks.

Defensively, he blocks some shots and is a very alert positional defender who should develop into a stalwart within Bennett’s somewhat intricate system.

At this juncture I don’t predict him to light up the scoreboard as a freshman, but he certainly should contribute meaningfully and then be prepared for a big jump as a sophomore.

Evaluating Killeya-Jones for the longer term, he clearly possesses some of the traits required to play in the NBA. While not an elite athlete, he’s above-average in that regard and also should continue to develop his skill level thanks to good hands and a proven desire and ability to improve.

He’s relatively new to the game on a full-time basis, after all, and his progress even over the past eight months has been eye-catching. He currently sits at No. 61 in the class and likely will hold steady in our impending 2016 update.

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