Virginia Coach’s Secret to Success: Staying in School
Tony Bennett recruits players with talent who aren’t interested in one-and-done NCAA seasons.
What do NBA players Joe Harris to Malcolm Brogdon and Mike Scott have in common?
As any Cavaliers fan will tell you, they all attended and played basketball for the University of Virginia. Also, as most Cavs boosters know, all three guys stayed, and played, at UVA for at least four years.
At most big-time college programs, talented players eschewing the NBA to stay in school would be the exception, but under coach Tony Bennett’s watch at Virginia, it’s more often the rule.
The Cavaliers play a defense-oriented brand of basketball that requires all five guys on the floor to be disciplined and patient on both ends of the floor. In order to play that way, Bennett needs his players to buy in – and stay at Virginia long enough, so they know how to execute his system.
“There are certain programs that are upperclassmen programs where the guys improve,” Bennett told The AP. “Unless you can recruit all the top 10, top 20 players, you need guys … that will be patient, see a little success and get better and better.”
It’s obviously working as this year’s crop of UVA seniors includes second-team All-ACC selection Devon Hall and ACC defensive player of the year Isaiah Wilkins. Like last year, their March Madness prospects are bright.
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