Beekman playing with 'reckless abandon' as injury heals
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- For the first time since picking up an injury against Michigan, Reece Beekman rose up for dunk to charge up the John Paul Jones Arena crowd against North Carolina and could not help but crack a smile.
"It's been awhile," Beekman said about the dunk postgame.
Beekman looked like the player rising up NBA Draft boards at the beginning of the season against UNC. The junior scored 13 points and racked up five assists and five steals, while taking straight-line drives past Tar Heel defenders all night.
"He is extremely talented, he's quick," UNC men's basketball coach Hubert Davis said, "He has an ability to penetrate and get to the basket, he's an excellent finisher, but he can also distribute the basketball."
The month of December took a toll on Beekman, picking up an ankle injury against Michigan at the end of November before straining his right hamstring against JMU a week later. The hamstring injury slowed the explosive Beekman at times and caused Virginia to rest him for the Albany game, the first game he has missed in three years.
In recent weeks though, Beekman has scored in double figures in three-straight games and his confidence on the floor has caught the eye of Tony Bennett.
"I love seeing young men find their way and emerge and become more assertive and just trust their teammates, trust their own game and play with a sense of reckless abandon, so to speak, with soundness, I don't know if those go together," Bennett said, "But you want to be sort of fearless and stay within your game, but that sort of idea and I'm starting to see that."
The growing confidence extends to becoming more comfortable on his hamstring, which Beekman says is 'close' to 100 percent, but Virginia is still treating the injury on a day-to-day basis. But Beekman felt good enough again to deliver the knockout blow to the Tar Heels with his dunk late in the second half.
"I think part of it is just the confidence part in myself just knowing that I have the ability to do that," Beekman said, "Just doing extra work outside of practice just to get the strength and just be back as I was before. It's just a good feeling to have that back and over time just the confidence to grow with that as well."