The Good Ol' Blog Archive for March, 2011
Friday, March 25th, 2011
University of Virginia men’s basketball recruits Darion Atkins (PF, Landon School in Bethesda, MD), Malcolm Brogdon (SG, Greater Atlanta Christian in Atlanta, GA) and Paul Jesperson (G/F, Merrill High School in Merrill, WI) are headed to Miami, Florida, today. All three UVa 2011 class prospects have been selected to play in Sunday’s Jack Jones Shootout, which takes place at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. The event will be streamed live here.
TheSabre.com caught up last night with Jesperson, who was recently named Player of the Year in Wisconsin by the AP. The 6-7, 185-pound wing sparked Merrill’s run to the Group AA state championship game in 2011 (the Blue Jays fell to Whitefish Bay in the final), averaging over 20 points or more per contest for the second consecutive season. He took some time for a quick ”Q&A.”
TheSabre.com: How special was the state tournament run?
Paul Jesperson: “It means a lot. Coming into this season, we had high expectations. We didn’t have the season we wanted, but it meant a lot to be able to make the run. We made a great run. Seeing my little brother come along the way he did, it was great.”
TheSabre.com: What are you looking forward to most about this weekend’s event?
PJ: “I’m excited to meet Malcolm because I’ve never met him before. It’ll be good to see Darion again. I’m excited to see them play.”
TheSabre.com: (Atkins and Brogdon will be on one team and Jesperson will be on the other.) Do you plan to talk a little trash to those guys to help your team get the win?
PJ: “Maybe I’ll have to mix it up a little bit.”
TheSabre.com: Is trash talking a part of your game, or do you just stay quiet and go about your business?
PJ: “I don’t start talking unless others talk trash to me. If they do, then I’ll say something. It’ll all over from there (laughs).”
TheSabre.com: UVa is the next stop in your basketball career. What are your goals and expectations for your first year?
PJ: “I’m just super excited. I know Tony Bennett’s going to make me better. I’m really not sure what to expect in terms of playing time, which is good because I don’t want to be guaranteed anything. I want to work.”
Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
The Virginia baseball team, off to a 20-2 start, earned some national recognition this week. The Hoos are ranked No. 1 in ESPN.com’s College Splits Power Rankings in the first standings released since the start of the season. Thanks to poster The Hoo for linking the story (note: to read the full article, you’ll need an ESPN Insider subscription) on TheSabre.com’s baseball message board.
Wednesday, March 16th, 2011
Here a few photos from Virginia’s first spring practice of Mike London’s second season. Click on each image for the bigger image. Enjoy!
Wednesday, March 16th, 2011
Virginia’s Pro Timing Day is set for Thursday as players try to impress scouts in an effort to earn an opportunity in professional football. Numerous UVa players – including Joe Torchia, Keith Payne, and Zane Parr (read a Washington Post profile on him here) to name a few – will go through skills and drills testing. Ras-I Dowling will not participate.
“Unfortunately Ras-I, he’ll be here, but he’s not going to work out. I think there’s more than 25 teams that are going to be represented here because we do have other players like Keith Payne, Joe Torchia, and all those guys,” UVa coach Mike London said. “It’ll be a day for some of these guys to kind of make a name for themselves. Everybody has got question marks looming about the NFL and collective bargaining and what’s that do. If a guy has a great combine, what does that mean? Are you just storing numbers or are you going to have a chance to go somewhere? We’ll be out here tomorrow morning early again, particularly for [supporting] the pro day and the draft eligible guys.”
Stay tuned to TheSabre.com for news from the event.
Wednesday, March 16th, 2011
Coach Mike London and the Virginia football team were up and on the practice field this morning at 6 a.m. to kick off the 2011 spring practice schedule. While some of us mere mortals aren’t even fully conscious until at least 7, the team was out running drills and improving skills in the wee hours of the morning without the aid of copious amounts of coffee. With fog rolling over the fields and the temperatures hovering in the 30s, it certainly didn’t feel like spring. However, the Cavaliers are ready to get a jump on next season, and the coaching staff is taking full advantage of the spring practice sessions.
“It started out kind of slow, but these guys kind of picked it up as we went on. We do lifting at 6 o’clock in the morning. There was no lack of energy out here, these guys have been up early in the morning before and had to perform,” Coach London said. “The thing I was really pleased about was, last year, the first practice the ball was on the ground, there were interceptions, miscommunications. The thing about going into the second year is the familiarity with the offense and the potential to get better and move forward was key this morning.”
Tuesday, March 15th, 2011
When the University of Utah parted ways with coach the Jim Boylen over the weekend, internet and media speculation kicked into full gear about the Utes’ job opening. Among the names being bantered about out west? Virginia’s Tony Bennett. The Deseret News said some candidates “could be” Bennett along with St. Mary’s Randy Bennett, Old Dominion’s Blaine Taylor, LSU’s Trent Johnson and former Alabama coach Mark Gottfried.
From the Cavaliers’ perspective, there’s only one problem with that list. Tony Bennett isn’t interested, something TheSabre.com confirmed with UVa Athletics Director Craig Littlepage. “Tony and I spoke about these rumors [Tuesday] morning. … He stated to me he is extremely happy at UVa and has no interest in other jobs,” Littlepage said by email. “He’s focused on making this the best program and all of his time and energy are put into UVa.”
Bennett just completed his second season at Virginia. Despite key injuries at different times to Sammy Zeglinski, Will Sherrill, and Mike Scott (who missed the rest of the season after being injured in December), the Hoos posted a record of 16-15, the first winning season for the UVa men’s basketball team since 2007-08.
Friday, March 4th, 2011
It’s nearly postseason time, and the only question remains exactly where the Hoos will be seeded for the ACC Tournament. A win over Maryland gives Virginia a chance at a No. 7 seed, but that win might be hard to come by. Overall, turtles are nothing to be afraid of, unless they are the snapping variety, and Maryland often packs a huge bite.
Tuesday, March 1st, 2011
When the Virginia men’s basketball team takes the floor Tuesday for Senior Night at the John Paul Jones Arena, it will be facing N.C. State, a team with a similar situation in the ACC standings. Both the Hoos and the Wolfpack enter the game with 5-9 conference records; State is 15-13 overall, while UVa is 14-14. For this game, I asked the basketball message board for some input on the Cavaliers’ keys to victory. Let’s take a look …
The 3-point battle. It is somewhat simplistic, but making 3-pointers provides a major boost to Virginia’s offense. Being able to knock down some shots from behind the line likely will be necessary against NCSU’s perimeter defense, which limits teams to 31.5% shooting from 3-point range on the season; that’s good enough for second in the ACC behind Florida State. UVa also has to keep an eye on Scott Wood, who makes an average of 2.4 triples per game; in league games only, Wood leads the ACC by making 43.9% of his 3-pointers. “Hit the threes and free throws. It will be tough getting scoring inside,” Sabre user Axtun posted. “Contain Scott Wood, currently the best 3PT shooter in the ACC.” If Wood forces the defense to pay too much by making shots, it could make double-teaming the post difficult against Tracy Smith, the Pack’s post presence that averages 15.6 points per game.
Gang Up On The Glass. N.C. State crashes the glass on offense to try to create easy scoring opportunities. The Wolfpack averages 13.2 O-Boards per game in conference play and owns a 35.6% offensive rebounding percentage. The Hoos have to keep the visitors in check in this category or it could spell a long night for the defense. TheGrinch posted this as a major key to the game for Virginia: “Return to form on the defensive glass – limit State to one shot or less per trip. We have struggled boxing out slashers on the offensive glass, guys who come at the glass from higher than the block. State has that kind of player, so we’re going to have to find a way to box out.” 504-C Brandon had similar thoughts: “The only difference between State’s offense and ours in terms of efficiency is that they crash the offensive glass and create second chances. As long as we gang rebound effectively, that advantage should be neutralized.” Keep a keen eye on second chance points for NCSU in this one as it could be a game-long indicator of the outcome.