Even though college football is right around the corner, there was significant action surrounding the Virginia men’s basketball team this week.
First up, the players won their FIFTH straight game against the staff on Monday in dramatic fashion. The trash talking started early for this one, and even included the 4-time Virginia Basketball Player/Staff champion - AND NOW SAN ANTONIO SPUR - London Perrantes.
It's that time of year again! Staff vs Players softball game! We're ready!!!— Jason Williford (@CoachWillyUVA) August 21, 2017
⚔ . Go Hoos! pic.twitter.com/SDdnz81Tqb
(You’re welcome for a picture of Tony Bennett in eyeblack.)
Y'all not ready!! They coming for the 5 peat— London Perrantes (@London_Tyus) August 21, 2017
Isaiah Wilkins provided the winning knock with a two-run bomb - his THIRD of the day - as the players emerged victorious in walk-off fashion in extra innings. Redshirt first year Jay Huff and second years Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome also had solid performances on the diamond in the win.
MVP @IsaiahWilkins21 blasts 2-run homer to send players to 6-5 win over the staff in annual softball game! #5peat pic.twitter.com/rqLOPt4c1z— Virginia Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) August 21, 2017
The players got out to a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning to start the scoring. Staff responded with a run in the fifth, but the young Hoos came back with another two-spot in the bottom of the sixth. Coach Williford tied the game at four with a two-run shot in the seventh inning, forcing extra innings after the players came up with a goose egg in the bottom half. In the top of the eighth, the coaches could taste the shot at victory as they went up 5-4, but Wilkins gave the players the 6-5 win. The players posted 14 hits and three errors (woof.) to the coaches’ 12 and one, respectively.
Not a good day for the staff! Lost in extra innings. We need to recruit GA's for next year!! Smh!! pic.twitter.com/iQR6JWPcUZ— Jason Williford (@CoachWillyUVA) August 21, 2017
Rain that preceded the eclipse created a sloppy setting for the game, but the annual softball game seems to be a fun family affair (until Coach Bennett gets tired of losing and cancels it).
#HoosTogether ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/RJWfkZtxti— Virginia Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) August 22, 2017
FAMILY! #HoosTogether pic.twitter.com/tnYBQvX6FF— Jason Williford (@CoachWillyUVA) August 21, 2017
Check out the full highlights:
"It's just a great way to start the school year." - Coach Bennett on our annual players/staff softball game ⚔️ #GoHoos pic.twitter.com/PbcDEFmTZo— Virginia Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) August 24, 2017
While the highlights and the game are a ton of fun for the players, staff, and fans alike, the best takeaway from the softball game was seeing a healthy and strong Isaiah Wilkins. Wilkins’s late season illness left him unable to play, which was 1. horribly scary for the team/fans, and 2. a big hit to Virginia’s performance. As a fourth year, Wilkins is expected to have a big season and could have a shot at ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Welcome back, Zay.
In other basketball news, 2018 four star (Rivals) small forward Kaden Archie narrowed his list to eight teams, with Virginia making the cut alongside schools like Kansas, Florida, Texas, and SMU.
Top #G2G x #BCB pic.twitter.com/O0N12d3Bon— Agent zer0 ™ (@KadenArchie) August 21, 2017
Tony Bennett and the Hoos will also host four star point guard Noah Locke from McDonogh for an unofficial visit this weekend. Locke still appears to be a long shot for Virginia, but the visit is a positive sign as he’s already visited the Hoos once.
Virginia will host top-75 2018 Team Melo guard Noah Locke this weekend for an unofficial visit; currently visiting Ohio State@Cavs_Corner— Corey Evans (@coreyevans_10) August 23, 2017
Another four star guard - Luther Muhammed - visited Virginia last weekend.
UVA this weekend— Luther Muhammad (@Ege_Luther) August 19, 2017
Muhammed has the Hoos in his final five alongside Ohio State, St. John’s, Xavier, and West Virginia.
One of the new faces you’ll see on the court this year - along with first years Francesco Badocchi and Marco Anthony - is guard grad transfer Nigel Johnson, who is now officially a Hoo!
It's OFFICIAL! @TakingFlight_23 is finally a #Wahoo. https://t.co/vlXRfobtWP #GoHoos pic.twitter.com/Iw1e967zl6— Virginia Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) August 23, 2017
Johnson transferred into Virginia from Rutgers, where he averaged 26.2 minutes, 11.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, and two assists per game last season. From the field, Johnson shot 38% (35% from three). A Virginia native (Ashburn), Johnson will be eligible to play immediately for Tony Bennett.
The full Virginia basketball schedule should be out in the next few weeks (hopefully sooner)!
What position does Jack Salt play in softball?
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