Saturday's 63-47 win over Louisville was UVa's most complete game to date, and it also marked the halfway point in ACC play. At 6-3 in conference Virginia is tied for third in the ACC, half a game behind Louisville and 2.5 games behind league-leader North Carolina. The Hoos will need some luck over the final nine games to catch the Tar Heels, but before the second half of league play tips off we're taking a look back and handing out grades through the first nine games.
Note: All stats/grades are from ACC play only.
Malcolm Brogdon (Per Game Averages: 18.9 Points, 47% FG%, 4.6 Reb)
While Brogdon may no longer be the favorite for ACC Player of the Year (who likes Brice Johnson anyway?), his consistency and steady presence earn him the top grade. Brogdon leads the team in points and is second in rebounds while also playing lockdown defense. Whatever the Hoos have needed, he's done. Most impressively he's taken his scoring to another level of late, dropping 20, 21, and 28 points against Clemson, Syracuse, and Wake Forest respectively.
Anthony Gill (Per Game Averages: 15 Points, 63% FG%, 5.6 Reb)
It's difficult not to give Gill an A as well. He and Brogdon are the only two players to score in double figures in every game and Gill also leads the team in field goal percentage, rebounds, and three point percentage (he's 1-1!). Unfortunately, Gill's rebounding and defense hold him back. Gill has yet to corral double digit rebounds in a single conference game and his defensive intensity has ebbed at times. While these lapses keep him from an A, he remains a dominant interior scorer and one of the most efficient offensive players in the nation.
Devon Hall (Per Game Averages: 4.2 Points, 38% 3Pt%, 3.17 Ast:TO Ratio)
It's been a tale of two season for Hall. After failing to surpass five points during the first four ACC games, he's posted totals of 6, 11, 7, and 5 in four of the past five games. Moreover, Hall leads the team in assist-to-turnover ratio and has committed only two turnovers to 14 assists in the past seven contests. The slow start hurts his grade, but the offense comes alive when Hall plays aggressively and he remains a key to UVa's success going forward.
London Perrantes (Per Game Averages: 12.1 Points, 48% 3Pt%, 4.2 Ast)
Perrantes just misses out on an A due to his inconsistent scoring. Perrantes has three games with over 15 points, but he also has four games with fewer than 10. At his best Perrantes is a top-notch floor general with the ability to drive, distribute, and rain threes as well as anyone in the country. When he disappears, however, the offense stagnates and the Hoos struggle to find a rhythm. For UVa to have a chance at catching North Carolina for the ACC crown Perrantes simply can't afford to float in and out of games.
Jarred Reuter (Per Game Averages: 0.4 Points, 33% FG%, 0.3 Reb)
Reuter has appeared in only five of the nine ACC games so far and simply hasn't played enough to earn a true grade. At time he's shown a deft touch and the ability to provide a physical presence down low. Other times he appears a step slow on defense and it's easy to forget he's on the floor. This is all part of the growing process for the true freshman and hopefully Virginia can tally some blowouts over the final nine games to give Reuter a chance to see the floor.
Jack Salt (Per Game Averages: 0.9 Points, 50% FG%, 1.1 Reb)
While Salt has played in each of UVa's last seven games, and started a few, he still hasn't seen sufficient action to receive an accurate grade. When he does start, Salt tends to play the first five minutes of the game, then heads to the bench never to be heard from again. While his size and strength make him an intimidating force in the paint, Salt has a penchant for committing fouls at an unholy clip. His role seems to be diminishing as the season progresses, so we'll have to wait and see how many opportunities Salt gets to prove himself over the remainder of the ACC slate.
Marial Shayok (Per Game Averages: 2.4 Points, 53% FG%, 57% 3Pt%)
Truthfully Shayok should probably receive an incomplete as well, as it's difficult to tell how much of a factor his injured wrist played in his poor start to conference play. Through the first seven games, Shayok had been held scoreless four times, failed to see the court twice, and scored only six points in a loss to Georgia Tech. Over the last two games however, Shayok has come alive with 16 points on 6-8 shooting, including a perfect 3-3 from beyond the arc. If he can keep it up his grade will skyrocket and Virginia's offense will be borderline unguardable
Darius Thompson (Per Game Averages: 2.8 Points, 53% FG%, 0.6 Steals)
Yes, I know he hit the game-winner against Wake but hear me out here. That game-winner is Thompson's only made three-pointer of ACC play and he has eclipsed four points only once in conference play (seven against Notre Dame) while frequently appearing unsure of himself offensively. He deserves credit for being a solid defender and a strong finisher in the open-court, but when the game slows down Thompson looks lost.
Mike Tobey (Per Game Averages: 7.2 Points, 56% FG%, 4.4 Reb)
Unfortunately Tobey seems determined to tantalize UVa fans all year without consistently delivering on his full potential. Tobey is an incredibly skilled 7-footer, with a soft touch around the rim and the ability to shoot from 15 feet, and he's used his gifts effectively in games against Notre Dame (15 points, six rebounds) and Miami (12 points, seven rebounds). However, these revelations are few and far between as Tobey failed to surpass four points or three rebounds against Virginia Tech, Florida State, and Wake Forest. The talent is there, but the time remaining to tap into it is running out.
Isaiah Wilkins (Per Game Averages: 3.7 Points, 2.9 Rebs, 0.8 Blocks)
Of everyone on the Cavaliers, Wilkins may be the hardest to judge based purely off statistics. While he's certainly not Akil Mitchell or Darion Atkins (and expecting him to be was simply unfair), Wilkins' defense versatility is critical for UVa's success. When he's able to hedge, recover, and box out at his best, the defense looks almost as good as in past seasons. When WIlkins struggles, however, the defense can fall apart and the team on the floor appears unrecognizable. While he's not the cause of all of Virginia's defensive issues, Wilkins is the potential solution to many if he can provide consistent energy every night.
Bennett has seemingly faced more criticism and scrutiny this season than in any of his previous six in Charlottesville. Some of that criticism has been justified, Bennett has switched lineups and rotations seemingly ever game and the Hoos are still only 2-3 on the road in ACC play with bad losses to Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. Much of the time, however, Bennett seems to be a victim of his own success. After losing his two best defensive players from last season, there was simply no way this team would be as good from start to finish as the 2014 squad, despite what victories over West Virginia and Villanova had fans believing. Ultimately this team will be judged on how they perform in March, and as long as Bennett has them ready then, fans will be happy.
I'm not even going to list per game averages for Nolte as some men simply can't have their contributions quantified by numbers. I may be the final remaining member of #TeamNolte but I don't care, I'm not abandoning ship. Even when Nolte struggles with his shot he provides immeasurable moxie and veteran leadership. Nolte knows Bennett's system as well as anyone and his mere presence allows younger players to acclimate quickly via his own unique form of osmosis. One of these days Nolte is going to go off, drain five straight threes, and drop 30 points. When that happens the only question will be why I didn't give him an A+ here, which admittedly I considered.
Agree, disagree, think I'm way off? Feel free to let me know in the comments.