This season’s Virginia Basketball team is going to be good. Like preseason Top-10 good. They return superstars like Ty Jerome, Kyle Guy, and De’Andre Hunter, and guys like Mamadi Diakite and Jack Salt are familiar with Virginia’s system and their roles. The only real question mark for the Hoos this year is going to be production off the bench.
Enter Marco Anthony. Now a second year, Anthony was the only true freshman to see playing time last season as Francesco Badocchi redshirted and both Jay Huff and De’Andre Hunter were redshirt freshmen. He saw limited action—just an average of 7.9 minutes and no action after the Pitt game—but managed to make an impact.
Anthony averaged two points and one rebound per game, and I expect him to see closer to 10-12 minutes per game. A huge factor in his playing time is whether or not Braxton Key receives eligibility from the NCAA. With the graduation of Devon Hall and graduate transfer Nigel Johnson, Virginia is the thinnest in backcourt depth. Having a player that can come in, play smart defense, and take care of the ball on offense is going to be extremely important for the Hoos. That’s somewhere that Anthony can provide minutes.
Anthony is one of the more physically ready players the Hoos have had come into the program, and he’s a guy that could see an uptick playing time this year. He’s a player that’s built similarly to Malcolm Brogdon, and his size and strength makes him one of the prototypical Bennett players that can do a little bit of everything on the court. Marco stepped up when needed for the Hoos (more on that in a minute), and he plays with confidence when out on the court.
His shooting needs some work. In an average of 7.9 minutes per game last season, Anthony shot just 35.7% from the field. He was 5-of-13 from three on the season for a respectable 38.5% shooting mark from beyond the arc, but his settling for long twos affected his numbers. As is the case for most young players in Tony Bennett’s defense, Anthony needs a little work on better fitting in with the Pack Line.
Best 2017-18 Game
This is easy. With Nigel Johnson suspended due to a violation of team rules, Coach Bennett called upon Anthony to pick up minutes against the visiting Louisville Cardinals in Virginia’s first of three matchups with their “rival” from Kentucky. Marco did more than just fill a spot on the floor, going 4-for-6 from the field and 2-for-3 from three for 10 points in a 74-64 win in Charlottesville. He had literally no other stats in his 18 minutes of action, but his 10 points proved to be the margin of victory in a pivotal conference game.
2017-18 PPG: 2.0
2017-18 RPG: 1.0
Roommates: Ty Jerome, De’Andre Hunter, Jay Huff, Mamadi Diakite
Roommate Role: Master Chef