I don’t think anyone would compare Tony Bennett to Michael Bay. Bay is known for his over-the-top action thrillers with massive explosions. Bennett, well, is on the COMPLETE OPPOSITE end of that spectrum. But one thing you have to credit the basketball guru with is his methodical thinking as it pertains to personnel.
Virginia has never really been in the transfer market when it comes to recruiting. That’s not to say we haven’t taken any. Names like Keith Friel, Nick Vander Laan, and Ryan Pettinella come to recent mind, and all had varying levels of success with the Cavs. But when Bennett saw the hole created by the players leaving the team, he remained calm and opened up the off season to not only the 2013 recruiting class, but the secondary level as well.
The two biggest holes the Hoos need to fill are for post players and point guards. Virginia missed out on point guard prospect TJ McConnell, after deciding to head to Arizona over Virginia. But the news got a lot better today, as the Hoos landed a huge transfer commitment from former ESPN 100 and USC freshman Anthony Gill. The 6-8 power forward is an important piece in the Hoos future plans, as the Hoos only have 4 players of that size or bigger currently slated on the 2013-14 team. Now we aren’t saying that the Hoos aren’t going to stop there, but with 3 years of eligibility left, Gill will be a seasoned veteran by the time his transfer year is over.
To add to the intrigue, all indications are Tony isn’t done yet. Several other names have surfaced on the Cavalier’s radar, including Gill’s former teammate at South Carolina, Damontre Harris, who is another big man who would be eligible to play in 2012, Wisconsin forward Jarrod Uthoff, and Miami of Ohio point guard Brian Sullivan. Now Uthoff might be a long shot now with Gill in the fold, as they play the same spot and 2 transfer forwards that have to sit out might throw off the 13-14-15 plans. But Harris could be a more than capable stop gap inside for 2012-13, and Sullivan could be groomed to be the next starting point guard with Teven Jones and whoever we can wrestle into the ’13 class. And just to throw another kink into the system, Virginia has admitted former guard prospect Justin Miller, who was injured, attended Missouri but did not play, and will try to walk-on at UVa. If he does make the team, he will be able to play this year, have 4 years of eligibility left, and will not affect the scholarship numbers.
How will the rest play out? Who knows. But one thing is for sure. Not since Tony’s first incoming class does Virginia have so many options to build this team. It might not be the team Bennett envisioned 3 years ago, but he has adapted and turned this team into one that will be stable and competitive for years to come.