As we head down a crucial stretch of games, I thought it would be a good idea to power rank the players on the UVA basketball squad. Comments and suggestions are welcomed! Here goes nothing...
1. Joe Harris
Joey Hoops is the single most important player for the Cavalier basketball program. He is the most underrated player in the ACC this year and is the heart and soul of this UVA squad. He is averaging 15.9 points per game, including a recent 26-point outburst against the hated Hokies. If Harris can continue to make big shots with regularity, then UVA will pull off an upset or two against Miami or Duke and waltz into the NCAA tournament.
2. Jontel Evans
The senior leadership, ball-handling skills, and defensive tenacity Evans brings to the court are unmatched on this team. While he may not contribute much to the stat sheet, Evans is a reliable performer who is very difficult to replace on the court. His leadership and defense are way more than any stat sheet can measure, and for that he checks in at #2 on this list.
With Mike Tobey now out indefinitely with mono, the post presence provided by Akil Mitchell is even more important to the success of the team. He has developed since very nice post moves (most notably his spin move) and a somewhat reliable mid-range jumpshot. He is also a much improved rebounder.
Anderson is really coming into his own lately (ex: Maryland game) and that is great news for Tony Bennett and the Cavs. His athleticism creates mismatches all over the court. While his 3-point shooting could use some work, his passing, defense, and energy are all infectious when he's on the court. My only concern about his game is the fact that he settles for too many jump shots instead of driving to the hoop, where he can either kick it out for an open shot or finish and draw the foul.
I consider Jesperson to be the "glue guy" for this team. He never really stands out, but he makes a ton of hustle plays that don't show up on the stat sheet. He is a dangerous shooter, a good rebounder, and a terrific on-ball defender.
6. Mike Tobey
Before the got mono, he was on fire. He was making most of his shots from short-medium range and he was getting a lot of tough rebounds. Hopefully he can return before the ACC tournament, because his contributions were unexpected but very welcomed. Tobey has great touch around the rim and provides another big body for the Cavs to put in the low post.
Atkins is currently playing with a leg injury, demonstrating his toughness. Before the injury, he was the Hoos' best shot blocker and a bouncy rebounder. He is a bit raw offensively, but there's always the exciting possibility of a highlight reel play when he's on the court.
8. Evan Nolte
Nolte has cooled down a bit from the bonusphere, but he's still one of the best shooters on this team and a big body that will cause problems for defenses in the future. He's a good rebounder, and while his defense could use a little work, he doesn't really hurt the team there either. His specialty is definitely 3-point shooting, but he also takes the occasional charge and is a solid overall player.
9. Teven Jones
Jones provides more offensively than Jontel Evans does, but he's still learning the nuances of the Pack Line defense. He's very athletic, which helps, but he still makes some mental mistakes and the occasional dumb foul. His potential is through the roof though, especially if he can learn to take care of the basketball and if he can convert on a higher percentage of his shots.
10. Taylor Barnette
Barnette is purely a shooter right now, as his athleticism isn't quite at the level of the other guards on the roster. He can make a few 3's, but he's not counted on to contribute every game. His ball-handling is average, and his defense needs some work, but he's a solid player off the bench.
11. Doug Browman
He is the epitome of a hard-worker, as he walked on and has now earned himself a scholarship for his senior year. He isn't a good shooter, but he makes good decisions with the ball and doesn't turn it over. He has the respect of his teammates and coaching staff, and he's an intelligent player.
12. Thomas Rogers
He only comes in for the garbage minutes, but he gets a loud ovation from the fans whenever he touches the ball. that has to count for something, right?!
13. Caid Kirven
14. Justin Miller
I don't think he's played a minute, but we'll continue to monitor his progress and see if he gets into a game. He's possibly a redshirt player.
** Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill are not included on this list. Brogdon has taken a redshirt year to recover from a nagging foot injury that required extensive surgery, and Gill is sitting out due to the NCAA transfer rules. Both are exciting pieces for next year's squad with a lot of potential. Gill and Mitchell will form a lethal combination in the post while Brogdon offers another shooter who can handle the ball as well. Both are also known as smart players with good defensive ability.