It's just 33 days from the start of Virginia basketball, so it's time to check in with number 33, Jack Salt.
The time has finally come. Jack Salt, the mysterious big man from across the globe is done with his redshirt season, and the second year is ready to contribute on the court. With the departure of Darion Atkins, Salt could provide a powerful option down low.
Have you seen Salt lately? Check out this video around the 2:15 mark.
Salt came to Charlottesville from Auckland, New Zealand at a meager 235 pounds. After a year of Chipotle bowls and intense Mike Curtis time, Salt has upped his bulk to 250 pounds. The only player on the team that has more mass than Jack is fellow big man Mike Tobey, who comes in at 260.
Jack was more than happy to do anything that Coach Bennett and the staff asked of him last season, including taking a red shirt and acting as a human battering ram to toughen up Tobey. Now, "Salty Jack" as his Kiwi friends back home call him, could be a huge asset to the Hoos. Salt has been described by his teammates as a "bruiser", and that kind of physicality will come in handy against some of the more rough-and-tumble big men in the ACC.
If nothing else, Salt can provide respite for the likes of Gill and Tobey. Oh, and the accent is super fun.
Nickname: Salty Jack, Jack Pepper
Best Story From Last Season: On the road at the VCU game, the VCU band performed the Haka (a traditional Māori warrior dance from New Zealand). Justin Anderson pointed it out to Jack, who watched intently with a smile on his face. After the game, one of the VCU band members told me that he had approached a group of them after the game (which Virginia won) and told them that they did a really good job. The band member was stoked, and said what a nice guy he was.
Most Likely To: Teach the other players the Kiwi use of words like asking for a lift when he needs a ride home, or calling trash rubbish.