TOPIC: UVa is now 5 ACC games into conference play and the meat of the ACC schedule is coming up, which includes a rematch against reigning National Champion Villanova. Thus far, Coach Bennett has used a 10 man rotation(!), which many have seemed to think is too many. With the tougher opponents coming up, do we expect CTB to limit the rotation? Who gets the shorter end of the stick?
Pierce: I think the reason for the larger rotation has been the flaws that most of the players regularly exhibit. You can't trim the bigs rotation, or Salt would foul out and Reuter's buckets wouldn't be enough to offset some defensive liability. You can't only play Mamadi instead of one of them for similar reasons. If Perrantes and Wilkins are givens, that's 5 players right there.
On the wing, Hall is probably the most steady (when not picking up fouls like the Clemson game), so he's a sure thing. Shayok's new role in the starting lineup has shown he's the most viable scoring option not from Los Angeles and Thompson has absolutely done well enough on both ends of the court to make a positive contribution (and sometimes game-saving level play). So we're up to 8 - leaving the two other first years.
Kyle Guy hasn't been lighting up the scoreboard recently, but he's clearly still the best shooter on the team. He's going to get his 10+ minutes for sure - and often more depending on the match up - especially when Tony goes with a smaller lineup. We've seen it work well in recent games and it certainly plays to the strength of this year's squad. WHICH BRINGS ME TO THE FINAL MAN.
Ty Jerome is getting stronger minutes than a lot might want or expect - and they're deservedly strong. Does anyone remember Joe Harris at the end of his hero-ball-beat-the-crap-out-of-Duke season? He was running on fumes by the time the tournaments came around. That can't happen to London this year. The team needs to spell him - and the best PG next to him on the team is TY MOTHEREFFIN JEROME. Yes, other players can play the 1 for a stretch here and there - and yes, Ty present his own limitations - mainly on defense - and what seems to be a hesitation to score. None of that matters as much as the heir apparent getting used to playing important minutes in ACC play. Plus, the guy can shoot...he just needs to do it more. Tony knows this. I know this.
So there's your ten. The only possible way I see the rotation trimming down is if they go permanently small line up and one of the bigs sits - but I don't think we'll see that drastic of a switch.
Trogdon: I think the Clemson game was the turning point in the big man rotation, and I think we'll see Reuter's minutes curtailed from here. Tony hasn't been afraid to tighten his big man rotation in the past. Last year he went almost exclusively with Gill, Tobey, and Isaiah in the paint down the stretch. I think he'll start relying on Isaiah, Salt, and Mamadi the rest of this year. I think we'll also see him continue to employ the four guard lineup when he can. London and Devon are plus rebounders for their positions, so that helps in a four-guard situation.
I think the backcourt rotation will remain the same. Tony seems to have found a promising combination with Shayok starting and Thompson coming off the bench. I think that will continue. I agree with Pierce that Jerome will continue to see minutes. I thought his minutes against Clemson were some of his best of the year.
Hobeck: As much as the size, or lack thereof, is the reason for the rotation being set up the way it is, I'm not really a fan of the four-guard lineup. When I think about four-guard lineups I usually think back to the 2012 Missouri team and how well that worked out for them in the long run, but I digress.
This tends to be around the time of year where Coach settles on his rotations, and I'm with Trogs in that Isaiah, Salt, and Mamadi are probably his best bet inside going forward. I've been singing Mamadi's praises going back to the scrimmage when he blocked Salt, of all people, and with this year's interior defense looking sloppy compared to the last three years, they could really use the rim protection he provides. Salt is still more under control this year than last, and the experience he's gained this year should bode well (I hope) as we enter this crazy stretch starting with Notre Dame.
In the backcourt, I don't mind Jerome getting more time if his defense can improve a little bit from game to game. I've wondered how much his hip surgery is affecting him, but he's made some strides this year and would be well-served to shoot his shot if and when that opportunity presents itself. A Perrantes-Shayok-Hall-Wilkins-Diakite lineup is probably my favorite to close out games for the balance, experience, and overall talent they provide.
Will: I guess "shorter rotation" was not really the correct moniker to use in my prompt. I expect all 10 to keep playing, but 2 or 3 to see their minutes drop a bit. I've been impressed with Hall's ball handling abilities the last few games and if he had not gotten into foul trouble against Clemson, I think we would have seen more of it. Having said that, I think that means Jerome could see less PT. That's not a knock on Jerome, but I think if LP was a Junior this year, Jerome would be redshirting and getting more weight put on.
As far as the bigs go, I could (hope?) see Diakite getting more and more time, which would lead to Salt and Reuter on the bench more. Diakite's upside on the offensive side might be too much for CTB to keep on the side and as Diakite learns the ebb and flow of the college game as the year progresses, I think he could be more aggressive. Maybe not too aggressive, because every time he puts up a 3 I cringe a bit.
I was more impressed with Wilkins during the Clemson game than I had been all season. When he was put on Blossomgame, it seemed that Wilkins made him more and more frustrated. I think we all hope he could develop an inside presence on offense allowing Diakite, et al to stretch the floor and open the passing lanes.
Neckel: I fully expect all 10 players to still get rotated in on a needed basis. While Jerome might purposefully get less and less time, he will still play if Guy goes on a cold shooting streak or Perrantes needs an extended breather. Same for Reuter. If/when Salt gets in foul trouble or Diakite's defense becomes too much of a liability, Reuter will come in. The tough ACC stretch is not the time for players who aren't ready yet to get playing time to learn.
Will: One word answers are not accepted.
Ellis: Ty Jerome.
Thanks Ellis. Dynamite contribution.