Defending National Champion Virginia to Lean on Senior Front Court Players in 2019-20
CHARLOTTE, N.C, (WVIR) - The University of Virginia Cavaliers will have a whole new look this season.
The 'Hoos lost their three top scorers from last season, who all left school early to head to the NBA.
Returners Kihei Clark, Jay Huff, Braxton Key, and Mamadi Diakite will all play bigger roles.
"I think last year we were a tough team, but this year we're going to be even tougher," says Key. Losing all the pieces we had, you could always count on Ty going for 20, De'Andre going for 20, or Kyle going for 20. We had guys that could just go off. This year we're going to be a tough team and limit teams to just one shot and one possession, then getting back on defense. Our main thing will be defense this year".
“What happened last year happened. We're not going to brag about it," says Diakite. "We're going to leave that behind. Obviously we won, cool, that's in the past, we're leaving that behind. I think we like this challenge, people thinking that we lost a lot of people and we won't be good."
“Rebuilding, starting a new cycle, whatever, the beauty of college basketball is you can be good with inexperienced guys and enough experience, and that's the challenge before us,” UVA Men’s Basketball Coach Tony Bennett said. “We just have to figure out how we can be at our best with how we play, offensively, defensively. There will be some growing pains, we've already experienced that in practice, and I've been on these guys pretty hard and pushing them, but I am grateful for them. We'll be as good as we can, and we know not to worry about it. We talked it about it last year, let’s get as ready as we can and run, not to the finish line, but to the starting line. Let’s be as good at the start, and be process oriented.”
You'll have a chance to see the new-look Cavaliers at the annual Blue-White Scrimmage at the John Paul Jones Arena Saturday, October 12.
Virginia kicks off the season at Syracuse on November 6, the 'Hoos first ever ACC game to start a season.