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Former Virginia forward Isaiah Wilkins returning to program as graduate assistant
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Former Virginia forward Isaiah Wilkins returning to program as graduate assistant

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Virginia forward Isaiah Wilkins dunks the ball during the first half of the 2018 ACC Tournament championship game in Brooklyn, N.Y.

After a standout college career at Virginia and a three-year stint in professional basketball that took him around the world, Isaiah Wilkins is ready to transition into a new phase of his life.

That transition will begin in a familiar place.

Wilkins is joining Tony Bennett’s staff at Virginia as a graduate assistant, the school announced Tuesday.

“I’m so excited to bring back a guy that’s played here,” Bennett said in a release announcing Wilkins’ addition. “There’s a handful of guys that I’ve coached in our time here where I say, ‘If they want to coach, they’re going to be terrific.’ And Isaiah is one of those. He’s right up at the top of the list.”

Wilkins endeared himself to both Bennett and the Virginia fan base as a player with his tenacious defense and tireless effort on the court. He was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2018 and was a two-time All-ACC defensive team honoree. Wilkins also ranks fifth on UVa’s career blocked shots list with 141.

During Wilkins’ four seasons in Charlottesville (2015-2018), Virginia posted a 113-26 record, won two ACC regular-season championships and one ACC Tournament title and earned four NCAA Tournament berths.

After his college career was complete, Wilkins, who earned his undergraduate degree in African American and African studies in 2018, played professionally for three seasons in the NBA G League and abroad.

Wilkins played for Ratiopharm Ulm in Germany’s top league, the BBL, during the 2020-21 season. He played in Poland in 2019-20 and earned Defensive Player of the Year honors for Canterbury (New Zealand) of the NBL in 2019. Wilkins also competed for the Greensboro Swarm of the NBA G League in 2018-19.

Now he returns to Charlottesville to begin his post-playing career learning under Bennett and his staff.

“Charlottesville is a place that I love and a place that I developed and grew a lot,” Wilkins said. “So just to have the opportunity to go back, I was going to jump on it. But I’m also super hyped to work with the coaches. Those guys have seriously impacted the way that I am today and the way that I’ll continue to keep living.”

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