UVA Basketball looking for immediate impact from transfer players
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The UVA men’s basketball team will tip-off the 2021/22 season in less than a week, as Virginia is scheduled to open at home against Navy next Tuesday.
There’s a lot of new faces on the roster, like Indiana transfer Armaan Franklin and ECU transfer Jayden Gardner, and they’ll be counted on to make an immediate impact.
“There’s a reason why we came here,” says Franklin. “We know the reason why we came here, and it’s just coming in, doing the job every day, and being ourselves.”
Gardner says, “The sky’s the limit for both of us. He’s been progressing really well in practice, and the games we’ve had, so it’s going to be very special to go out there and play with him on the court.”
Head coach Tony Bennett adds, “I do hold them in high account, and whether fairly or unfairly, that’s just the way it is, because they have playing experience, though they don’t have Virginia experience.”
Learning UVA’s defensive approach has been a point of emphasis.
Gardner says, “I wasn’t really familiar with Pack Line until I got here, but it’s very effort-based.”
“I think me playing the Pack Line at Indiana did help me adjust to here,” says Franklin. “It’s just fine-tuning the little things, and being in the right position is expected of you at all times.”
UVA hit 212 three-point shots last season, but 85-percent of them were made by players who are no longer on the roster.
“That’s what they preached to me when they were recruiting me, the need for an outside shooter,” says Franklin. “I think that I can pick up some of the slack that was lost last year.”
Bennett says, “He’s a threat. He can shoot on the move off of screens, and he stretches the defense.”
Jayden Gardner is an under-sized power forward at 6-foot-6, but the 246-pound senior makes up for height with effort.
“Jayden, he’s a monster,” says Franklin. “He’s powerful, but he has a lot of finesse. He can shoot midrange. He has great postgame. He’s a great offensive rebounder, and he has great touch around the rim.”
Gardner adds, “My height really has nothing to do with how I play basketball, or my heart, or how I play. I’m just going to go out there and compete like I’ve always done. I’ve always gone against bigger guys, and I’ve always been successful.”
Virginia is scheduled to open the season on Nov. 9th at home against Navy.
Tip-off is set for 9 PM at John Paul Jones Arena.
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