CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- The Virginia team Reece Beekman returned to this summer looks a lot different than the one he walked off the court with in Orlando.

"It's a new team so just getting to know everybody, getting familiar with everyone's game, it's basically like a reset a little bit," Beekman said, "It's been fun just to hoop with everybody again and just be back here with my guys."

Ever since the season ended in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Beekman has been on a grind testing the NBA Draft waters from training in Miami to the combine and eight individual workouts with teams.

"For like a month straight, it was just a grind, working out every morning, lifting weights every day just getting extra shots up," Beekman said, "It all worked out for me even with me coming back cause that's just a great offseason of work that I got. It was very beneficial."

The decision to return to UVA was far from easy for the reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Beekman was at home in Milwaukee with his mom, waking up the morning of the deadline still unsure.

"It's a lot of nerves, It's the future basically," Beekman said, "She just kind of put it like, 'how do you want to spend your next 8 months? Do you wanna grind it going through the draft process and staying in the league or do you wanna graduate at school?' I felt like it was a win-win in each situation, but coming back I felt like I would be more prepared for next year."

Beekman was largely expected to be a second round pick in this year's draft, but was projected as a first round pick at No. 30 in ESPN's 2024 NBA mock draft. The UVA coaching staff was left on pins and needles waiting for Beekman's decision the night of the deadline.

"Stressful, but I've said this before, Reece earned that opportunity to go to the combine, test the waters and see of he could do, chase his dream," UVA associate head coach Jason Williford, "And we were 100% behind him, but we also knew what he meant to this program and this particular team. We wanted what was best for him. But when he decided to come back, it was a weight off our shoulders for sure."

Tony Bennett and assistant Orlando Vandross kept Beekman up to date on the roster movement with transfers Jordan Minor, Jake Groves and fellow Milwaukee native Andrew Rohde, who played in the same AAU program as Beekman, joining the Cavaliers. The senior returns as the Cavaliers lead guard and most experienced player, going on his fourth season in Charlottesville, after Virginia said goodbye to Kihei Clark, Armaan Franklin, Jayden Gardner and Ben Vander Plas along with transfers Kadin Shedrick, Francisco Caffaro and Isaac Traudt.

"I think it's something he's been looking forward to," Williford said, "Little different, we're a different group without Kihei [Clark] and without some of those other guys, a lot of new pieces, and he's so far has embraced that role as leader. He's a little more vocal, which I think will help him moving forward."

For the last three seasons, Beekman has shared ball-handling duties with Clark starting more than 80 games together in the backcourt. The feedback Beekman heard from NBA teams was being more vocal and leading the team at the point guard position with those opportunities opening up after Clark's departure.

"It is definitely weird. He's been with me since I first got here. I haven't played a single year without him," Beekman said, "I feel like the team looks to me more just as a leader but as that lead point guard just making decisions and making plays and when stuff breaks down just kind of lead the team where we need to be."

Beekman will have a chance to show NBA teams his ability to run the show, while guiding a Virginia team with a chip on their shoulder.

"I feel like everybody's locked in. Coming off last year, they way it ended wasn't the best scene, losing all those guys is kind of like a reset," Beekman said, "People might not think we might not perform as well, so I think we're going to use that as motivation."