March 13, 2018, 9:00 am

NBA put on hold at Virginia as Cavs' upperclassmen thrive

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NBA put on hold at Virginia as Cavs' upperclassmen thrive

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Virginia men's basketball manager Tony Bennett has reinforced the Cavaliers into one of the nation's elect programs.

The Cavaliers are enjoying arguably the most boffo long in educational institution history. Their No. 1 superior is the program's archetypal since the Ralph Sampson era complete 35 years ago.

They are also the top general seed in the NCAA Tournament and have won 30 or more games 3 of the last five years.

Virginia's kind of play receives the bulk of headlines — the Cavaliers are essentially a slow-down team, bound up to the idea that they can not only find a high-percentage shot earlier the shot timepiece runs out, but forestall less-disciplined teams from doing so. Their Pack-Line defence has routinely been graded among the most effectual in the nation.

One of the main reasons the scheme works so well is Bennett's roll usually features upperclassmen with NBA talent, from Joe Harris to Malcolm Brogdon to London Perrantes. Bennett, the 2018 ACC manager of the year, has been able to find — and military recruit — players bound up to not only purchasing into his scheme, but staying in educational institution .

"There are definite programs that are upperclassmen programs where the guys improve. Unless you can military recruit all the top 10, top 20 players, you need guys ... that will be patient, see a small happening and get amended and amended," Bennett said, list Brogdon, Harris, Perrantes, Mike Tobey and Devon Hall as examples.


    The Cavaliers' outright Atlantic Coast Conference statute title this season was their third in five years, something even Sampson, a 3-time national player of the year, didn't achieve. They rolled through the ACC's regular season, including victories at home against North Carolina and on the road at Duke — Virginia's archetypal win in Durham in 23 years. Then they captured the ACC Tournament statute title in New York , finishing 20-1 against league competition.

    Bennett, who is 219-85 in nine seasons at Virginia, credits experience with making that happening possible.

    Perrantes, a four-year starter at Virginia, has a two-way contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has appeared in only 3 games with Cleveland and has spent most of his time with the Canton Charge of the NBA G League.

    Part of what has made Virginia boffo, Perrantes said, is that Bennett knows the kind of player he wants.

    "Yeah, he's definitely trying to find the guys who are going to fit in," Perrantes said. "Obviously, he wants to get good military recruits, high-level players, but he wants to make sure that they fit into his program and he has reinforced his program on that, and for him to kind of go outside of that and try to get someone who doesn't fit would mess it up."

    Harris, with the Brooklyn Nets, followed Bennett to Virginia when the educational institution hired him away from Washington State. He's the archetypal of Bennett's military recruits that stayed at least four years and then made it to the NBA.

    Harris also helped set a leadership tone for upperclassmen that has carried on since his departure.

    "They've seen it, they've been through it, they know what matters," Bennett said. "It takes a while and I don't want to say it's recreated itself, but ... Malcolm watched Joe, and then those guys watched Malcolm."

    Brogdon, the ACC player of the year and defensive player of the year as a senior, was drafted in the second round by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2016 and was named the NBA's Rookie of the Year.

    Tobey was undrafted, but signed a couple of 10-day contracts with the Charlotte Hornets after signing with their G-League affiliate. And Mike Scott, currently with the Washington Wizards, is a player that was already on the roll when Bennett was hired. He's a six-year NBA veteran who spent five years at Virginia after a medical redshirt.

    Hall, a second team All-ACC selection this year , is one of the leaders this season at Virginia, along with fellow senior Isaiah Wilkins, the ACC's defensive player of the year . Wilkins is the Cavaliers' best defensive player and rebounder, and said leadership is something he's learned as he's gone along.

    "You pick up small things from every single person," he said.

    Hall is something of a poster child for the patience Bennett looks for in players. Hall opted to redshirt his archetypal season when it seemed playing time would be scarce and has developed steadily ever since. He said at the time redshirting was disappointing, but now, he appreciates what an extra year has given him.

    "I think it's a matter of growing and that year really helped me do that," he said. "I learned and I got amended just working on my game. In this program, everybody wants the instant happening and it's hard to find that.

    "I was humbled once I got here but I was able to learn and learn and learn and grow and grow."

    Hall's route is the same one De'Andre Hunter, the ACC's sixth man of the year , has followed. He's averaging 9.2 points on 48.8 percent shooting and has led the team in scoring six times with a high of 23.

    Advice from Hall helped Hunter come to terms with his disappointment over spending his archetypal season practicing with the team, but having to watch from the bench during games.

    "He just told me to be confident and work on my game. That's what he did," Hunter said. "He worked on his game and got amended for the next season and as you can see, he just gets amended and amended every year."

    Just like the rest of the Cavaliers.


    AP Sports Writers Brian Mahoney in New York and Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed.


    For more AP college basketball coverage: and—Top25

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