As Virginia prepares for its first game during its week-plus European tour, here’s five tidbits on the Cavaliers’ offseason and the year to come as a complement to today’s dead-tree edition look at forward Akil Mitchell.
1. Graduated forward Mike Scott scored 28.8 percent of Virginia’s points last year, and coach Tony Bennett isn’t banking on finding a player to produce quite so much in 2012-13. “I think we’ll be a different team without Mike,” Bennett said. “I think we’ll have to be more balanced. Whether it’s three to five guys who can score between eight, 12, 14 points a game, I think it’s going to have to be a team like that to be successful this year.”
2. Freshman Justin Anderson, a 6-foot-6 guard from Montrose Christian, has provided some optimism since arriving at Virginia earlier this summer.
“As we start doing a lot of screening, we call the freshmen screen magnets,” Bennett said. “They run into every screen. What we’re trying to teach those guys is to be continuous and play through it. But he does have the makings defensively to really be terrific. He’s enthusiastic, strong and long. At times, he’s shown he can shoot the ball with the 3-point shot. You just don’t find many freshmen that physically ready.”
3. One Cavalier who won’t make the trip to Europe is forward Anthony Gill, who averaged 7.6 points and 4.7 rebounds as a freshman last season at South Carolina before transferring. “I wish he could play this year,” guard Jontel Evans said. “He’s so strong and aggressive, a great rebounder and a great scorer.”
4. Maybe the best part about the Cavaliers’ practices entering their trip to Europe? There is no need to conscript assistant coach Jason Williford for use as a practice player, unlike the end of last season. “It’s good for us,” Evans said. “I feel like the depth we have is really going to help us out. Hopefully, we stay injury-free because last year, that was the worst.”
5. Virginia’s schedule includes an opener at George Mason, a Nov. 28 trip to Wisconsin in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and a pre-Christmas date with Old Dominion in Richmond. Among notable conference opponents, the Cavaliers face Duke and N.C. State only in Charlottesville and home-and-homes with Florida State, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia Tech.
—- Patrick Stevens