Twenty-four short days stand between us and the start of Virginia Basketball. Today, we are going to take a look at Marco Anthony, who will be wearing #24 this season.
Making the jump from high school to college is tough enough. As an athlete, that jump gets even tougher. As an athlete joining the Virginia Basketball team? That curve can be very steep, and this season, incoming first year basketball player Marco Anthony will be on his own.
“It’s been tough, especially being the only one that’s practicing.” Anthony said at Virginia’s media day. “But I have mentors like my seniors helping me through it, and also just the people in the upper classes like Ty [Jerome], Jay [Huff], Kyle [Guy], all of them helping me adjust to it. It’s still a process, but I’m slowly getting into it.”
Fellow first year Francesco (Frankie) Baddochi is also in the program, but is redshirting to recover from a surgery in June. He hasn’t started to practice yet, but Coach Bennett is ready for him when he does.
“Marco’s the lone first-year out there. Actually, I was chewing out Marco in practice one time. He was a little behind in some issue, and I caught it out of the corner of my eye. Frankie [Baddochi] was smiling, kind of.” Bennett told the press at media day. “I said, ‘You’re going to get yours.’ I said, ‘This guy’s out here with all these guys who have the experience,’ and I said, ‘You just got ice on you and you’re over there smiling.’ I said, When you get in there, it’s going to be your turn.’”
With guards like Jerome, Guy, Hall, Nigel Johnson, and De’Andre Hunter ahead of him, Anthony - a McDonald’s All-America nominee - most likely won’t see a ton of playing time. At 6-4, 228, though, he’s well built physically for a first year (for reference, Malcolm Brogdon was 6-5, 215). Offensively, Anthony averaged 26 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists per game as a senior at Holmes High School in San Antonio. Anthony appears to be the prototypical Virginia unheralded recruit: three-star who is overlooked but plays well on the summer circuit as a late bloomer. He can shoot, pass, and rebound. But, as all Virginia fans know, the real test as to whether Anthony sees the court is his defense.
“Actually, I feel I’ve gotten a lot better at it.” Anthony stated. “When I first got in I was just getting blown by, just getting cooked the whole practice. Sometimes it still happens, but it’s not as often.”
The Hoos kick off their season on November 10 as they host UNC-Greensboro. Check back with Streaking the Lawn as we continue our countdown to tip-off!