With a wild and crazy basketball season behind us, who else would you rather hear from than Virginia's head coach, Tony Bennett? The bad news: our attempts to contact Virginia basketball head coach Tony Bennett were unsuccessful, and there's now a restraining order against us. The good news: His hilarious alter-ego, Phony Bennett, who tweets over at @IfTonyTweeted (follow him!), was more than happy to answer some of our questions about the year. Take a look:
Streaking The Lawn: The freshmen made big contributions this year. Talk to me about what they brought to the team and their plans for next year.
Phony Bennett: Mike Tobey has star potential. He has moves like Jagger, if Jagger were a future All ACC player with silky smooth post moves, as opposed to an aging rock star with a bad hip and a drug habit. So really, that's a terrible analogy and I'm sorry I brought it up.
Taylor Barnette is an expert sharpshooter with an unorthodox release. Actually, everything about him is unorthodox. I once saw him wash down some baked salmon with a big glass of milk. His defense was lax at times, which is funny because this year our lax team isn't playing defense.
Justin Anderson is like having a Disney superhero on the team. He's strong, energetic and extremely humble. He even wears Captain America underoos underneath his uniform. I promised I wouldn't tell anyone that, so you and the six people that read this need to keep that under your hat.
Evan Nolte made great contributions this year, but was stymied by the fact that he gets more uncalled for whistles than a pretty girl at a construction site. I'm pretty sure he once got called for a charge while shooting a free throw.
Teven Jones was a bit of an enigma this year. He didn't play at all through a couple of stretches, but apparently that was my decision. Who knew. Anyway, he was playing really solid ball at the end of the season, and if he can match Bub's 50% mark from beyond 3 point range* next season we'll be in good shape.
*That's a true stat. It was on 1 of 2 shooting, but still.
STL: Virginia was picked to finish 7th in conference, but ended up 4th in the ACC, earning a first round ACC tournament bye and one-seed in the NIT. How pleased are you with the group's outperforming media expectations this season.
PB: According to the media, we put together a team that simultaneously exceeded expectations yet also didn't live up to our potential. I'm not even sure how that happens. What I will say is that although the media picked us 7th, I picked us 3rd, which means I know more than you. And that's an important takeaway here. Really, if you were to rank people who know what they're talking about when it comes to college basketball, it would go Coaches>fake coaches>bloggers>columnists>that guy that sees your UVa sweatshirt and feels the need to give you his opinion on the current state of the program. Notice I put bloggers above columnists, because I know where my bread is buttered.
STL: What would you say was the highlight of the 2012-2013 season? What about a lowlight?
PB: Our highlight had to be the upset win that wasn't really an upset apparently against Duke. Not so much the game itself, but the way fans rallied after the game to delay Coach K's exit by several seconds, causing him no small amount of stress. We had several dozen security guards there, but listening to K talk after the game, you'd think our security consisted of a few stabby Hells Angels. That's an Altamont reference, by the way. Ask your parents.
There are several candidates for the lowlight spot. Delaware, ODU, various ACC road games...but I'm going with the time Red Panda dropped her bowls at half time. Seriously, if you can't ride a 10 foot unicycle and flip bowls onto your head without dropping them, find a new gig. Buy a Frisbee dog or something.
STL: Joe Harris struggled down the stretch this year after scoring 36 points versus Duke. You have insisted in the past that he was just a bit worn down after a grinding year. Is that really the full story?
PB: Now that the season is over, I can tell you that during our stretch run, Joe was suffering from anemia, mono, lupus, a pulled hammy, and something called "Venezuelan badger flu." So he was understandably tired. We couldn't reveal that during the season, because teams would have tried to take advantage of that by distracting him with red meat or I don't know waving badger signs or something. But I expect a full recovery and an ACC POY award for him next season.
STL: During the team's season-ending loss to Iowa, ESPN's Dan Dakich remarked "That's a good-looking coach. Tony Bennett is a good-looking guy. Really good-looking." Do you have a comment?
PB: I appreciated Dan's comments, I really did. What I didn't appreciate was all the texts, tweets, instagrammed photos, Vine posts, and flower arrangements he's sent me since then. It's one thing to say someone is attractive, but it's an entirely different thing to send them a picture of the two of you photoshopped together and surrounded by a sparkly heart. Let it go, Dan. I'm just not that into you.
STL: Suddenly, your team is more than seven months away from its next game. What are your priorities for yourself and your players during the offseason?
PB: For most of the guys, it's a matter of adding size in the offseason. Take Mike Tobey. Dude is 7 feet tall, yet only weighs 135lbs. I'm pretty sure I saw him stumble once from the draft caused by fans doing the wave. So we're going to help him bulk up, which will come from a combination of weight room time, nutritional program, and hanging out with Luke Bowanko. Luke's a center too, and he weighs like 300 pounds, so he's doing something right. Maybe in return, Mike can help Luke be taller.
As for me, I believe in taking care of myself and a balanced diet and rigorous exercise routine. In the morning, if my face is a little puffy, I'll put on an ice pack while doing stomach crunches. I can do a thousand now. After I remove the ice pack I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower I use a water activated gel cleanser, then a honey almond body scrub, and on the face an exfoliating gel scrub. Then I apply an herb-mint facial mask which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine. I always use an after shave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturizer, then an anti-aging eye balm followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion.
Thanks again to @IfTonyTweeted for taking time out of his busy schedule of fake coaching and tweeting about it to answer our questions! If you want to look at some of his earlier work, Coach Bennett did fill out a preseason ACC ballotand did a preseason Q&A right here at Streaking the Lawn!