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Deep Dive: Examining our Tony Bennett era draft teams

Whose team do you like the most?

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Virginia Tech Michael Thomas Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

If you listened to the Streaking the Lawn podcast, you’ll know that Caroline, Pierce, and special guest Lauren Brownlow conducted a draft of Tony Bennett era players. Now, we’re going in depth behind our picks, and you’ll be able to vote to tell us who you think “won” the draft.

As a reminder, any player that played under Tony Bennett at Virginia was eligible to be drafted, as were current players on the roster. We also had to take into consideration that our team would have to function as just that: a team. No loading up on all post players and trotting them out ... or I guess you could, you’d just have to have Jay Huff running the point or something.

Draft order was chosen randomly (Caroline, Lauren, then Pierce), and we used a snake draft.

Let’s get to it!

Caroline’s Team

G - Malcolm Brogdon
G - Kyle Guy
G - Justin Anderson
F - Mike Scott
C - Jay Huff
Bench - Kihei Clark (G)

In her words:

When I tell you I love my team, I mean I LOVE my team. I lucked into the first pick, and snagging Malcolm Brogdon was a no-brainer. You know you made a good pick when the other two groan at him coming off the board. Brogdon does it all. He’s the arguably the best defender Bennett has had, he’s a certified bucket, and is an outstanding point guard. He can work off-ball or on, and he’s able to get to the rim. His fundamentals are incredible (hello, 50% from two, 39% from three, and 90% from the line), and he’s a leader on the court.

From there, I knew I’d get the huge snake turn at picks No. 6 and No. 7. I think people forget how good Scott was his final season in Charlottesville (he should have been ACC Player of the Year in 2012, and you’ll never convince me otherwise). Scott shot 58% from two (30% from three), drew 5.6 fouls per game (with an 81% FT mark), and had a low (14%) turnover rate. With Guy, you get an incredible shooter, teammate, and a National Champion. No one ran off of screens better than Guy, and he’ll make any defender work for it.

Somehow, my good friends left Justin Anderson for me to snag at No. 12, and I turned it around with more scoring and defense in the post with Jay Huff. That duo brings outstanding offense AND lockdown defense. Anderson connected on 45% of his threes his final season under Bennett, and committed under two fouls per game. He’s athletic, intense, and a spark. Huff can pull the defense out (36% from three), convert inside (66% from two), and make your life miserable at the rim (11.1% block rate). He could face some foul trouble with the likes of AG or Akil Mitchell, but I love what he brings.

Off the bench, Kihei Clark brings more ball handling and pesky defense, and he allows Brogdon to move off-ball.

My team is wonderful (but, honestly, so are my opponents’ teams).

Lauren’s Team

G - London Perrantes
G - Devon Hall
G - De’Andre Hunter
F - Anthony Gill
C - Darion Atkins
Bench - Mike Tobey (C)

In her words:

I thought I was in luck by being the No. 2 pick, but in a snake draft, lacking those back-to-back picks really hurt. I got off to a bad start by Malcolm Brogdon getting snatched out from under my nose. But if you want a game-changing, cerebral player who can defend and play multiple positions and get his own shot whenever he wants it, you can’t go wrong with De’Andre Hunter as a back-up plan. When it got back to me, I knew it was time to pick a floor general. And yet again, the pick I wanted - Ty Jerome - went the pick before. But London Perrantes is a more than solid point guard on both ends of the court, and I’ll certainly take a guy who shot nearly 43% from the 3-point line in his final two seasons. (Ty Jerome clocks in at right around 39%, for the record.)

I love some high-efficiency players, so once I got Anthony Gill to play that four-spot I felt pretty good. Gill is the only player in the Bennett era to have an ORtg of 120 or better two years in a row with a usage rate over 20 percent. I’ve got scorers at other spots but give my guy the ball and I know something good is going to happen. And speaking of efficiency, adding Devon Hall at the two-spot means that I’ve got guys with three of the six best single-season ORtg ratings under Tony Bennett on my roster. Yes and please.

Darion Atkins fills out my starting roster as my screen-setting, defensive-minded big man holding it down in the middle. After all, it wouldn’t be a Virginia roster that makes sense without that - on either end of the floor. Watching the Virginia offense without a good screen-setter is like watching a Carolina fast break without anyone who can finish. Oh wait, we just watched that this past season. Anyway, I’ve got Mike Tobey coming off the bench, because he was always at his best when you least expected it. I thought about Bub Evans because I had such affection for him, but let’s be honest - if London got hurt, I could slide either Devon Hall or even De’Andre Hunter to the point guard spot and be no worse for the wear.

So those are my guys. To borrow a phrase from Mike Krzyzewski, “I like my team.”

Pierce’s Team

G - Ty Jerome
G - Joe Harris
G - Sylven Landesberg
F - Mamadi Diakite
C - Akil Mitchell
Bench - Isaiah Wilkins (F)

In his words:

I really did think Hunter was going to be there for me at the pick 3/4 turn, because Brogdon was sure to be gone and I thought another fan favorite guard like Joe, Kyle, or Ty would get snatched next - but I was delighted to have my backcourt locked up with Ty and Joey Buckets. Ty was a no-brainer. As Lauren noted on the podcast, it’s always going to start with strength at the point guard position. National Champion. Size. Shooting. Makes Duke fans STFU. Ty Jerome will always have a special place in my UVa fan heart and now he’s leading my squad to victory in this competition.

It was tempting to just role with Ty and Kyle Guy - but the opportunity to play across the generations of UVa legends was too strong. Plus, Harris brings a little more to the table for me: his player efficiency rating is 19.3 for his career compared to Kyle’s 18.6 and his win share is 17.8 to Guy’s 13.7. I like the added size that Harris brings to my 2 guard spot as well - and while I’ve obviously got the outside shooting from Jerome, Harris, and Sylven, each also brings a solid (or in Sylven’s case: spectacular) ability to beat their man and get into the lane. Landesberg was a savvy genius-level move on my part, by the way.

Akil and Mamadi down low would be so. fun. to. watch. - oh and so. hard. to. score. on. Poor Jay Huff on Team Caroline is going to get bodied all over the paint - and foul out real quick. I’m sure Kihei coming off the bench will be a big help down there among the trees, though. Team Lauren’s Atkins and Gill presents more potent competition — and I like they she’s got the uber-defender in Darion mixed with the bullying offensive production Gill brought — but uh...my two guys both do both. Oh and then there’s 2018 ACC Defensive Player of the year Isaiah Wilkins off the bench? Loaded front court. Seriously, are either of the other teams going to grab any rebounds?

Truthfully I love all of these teams - how could you not? But I love my team the most. Conveniently it’s also the one that would win in this contest.


So who wins? Which team do you like in this hypothetical?

Poll

Which Bennett era draft team is the best?

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    Team Caroline
    (248 votes)
  • 3%
    Team Lauren
    (12 votes)
  • 20%
    Team Pierce
    (66 votes)
326 votes total Vote Now