We have long combatted the narrative that Virginia basketball is “boring” and “bad for basketball” (we even made shirts!). Like many UVA fans, we’ve lamented the under-researched hit pieces that don’t give the Hoos credit or refuse to acknowledge role players like Devon Hall or read things from ESPN’s Myron Medcalf that called the 2017-18 team a “downgraded entity” and that Tony Bennett had the “hull in his team’s ship cracking” after transfers.
Well, thank goodness for our friends at The Ringer. Jordan Ritter Conn (@jordanconn) wrote an excellent piece about Virginia basketball and Bennett, focusing on how he has turned a collection of under-recruited players into a national powerhouse using defense and teamwork.
Conn spoke to current players Ty Jerome, Isaiah Wilkins and DeAndre Hunter, as well as former Wahoos Justin Anderson, Joe Harris, Mike Scott, and Evan Nolte for the piece. After researching Virginia’s history, background, and roster, and going to Virginia’s recent game against Georgia Tech, Conn was able to put together a masterpiece on the beauty of Virginia Basketball.
“Bennett has built a national powerhouse through selective recruiting, methodical player development, and a sustained culture of valuing team goals over individual ones,” Conn writes.
He also provides some excellent insight into Virginia practices, highlighting a closeout drill that Anderson grew to love:
“When I first got there, I would just pray — pray — that the offense would miss,” says Anderson, now with the Philadelphia 76ers. “By the time I left, though, it was one of my favorite drills.”
Defense isn’t boring. Winning isn’t boring. Virginia basketball isn’t boring. This piece beautifully encompasses that. Read the whole thing here.