Can you have it both ways?

Decided to do some reflection on this season so here are some musings/ramblings not saying they are right just my thoughts…

This is a strange position to be in. It’s been a long time since a UVa team has performed like this and while people will compare the 12/13 team to the current season, I don’t buy that. This season is different because the 12/13 team was building from scratch, there were no expectations the program was in it infancy. Now there is an expectation for better or worse. 30+ weeks in the top 10 will do that for a program. It is only natural to have expectations and to feel disappointed when they are not met. For ever post/image of the 2019 championship and reminders to be grateful, there needs to be an understanding that it is possible to be grateful for the National Championship and still disappointed in the 19/20 season.

I often say I don’t believe in absolutes. Things are rarely black and white, I can be grateful for the program CTB my RFD friends who I enjoy UVA athletics with and even this LRA forum for giving me a soapbox to stand on to pretend I have a clue. However, I am human and that means I’m complex and I can also be disappointed in the way the current season is playing out. It’s difficult to watch something you care about come so close and fall short.

There’s a lot to like and potential building blocks, but perhaps it’s the pessimists in me I don’t like to hang my hat on future outcomes. The future is not guaranteed and I live in the present. The present tells me this is a young team that is struggle to find it’s way. I see a lot of role players who are being asked to served new roles that they may not be capable of filling. . That doesn’t make them bad players or people they are just being asked to tap into a resource that may not exist.

All of that leaves me as a fan frustrated and even angry at times. That doesn’t change how I feel about the program, my wife and I still watch every game, we’ll attend games whenever we get an opportunity, and I’m not taking down the sign in my office with the 5 pillars. I’m just allowing myself to feel my emotions and right now those emotions are anger and frustration. Last March they were joy and jubilation.

No one told me to look to the future as the confetti fell in Minneapolis I was allowed to enjoy the moment. Part of what made that moment so special was having to live in the pain and agony of 18, 14, and 16.

Today I live in the agony of 19/20 but as CTB said “Joy comes in the morning” and I need to experience the night to see and appreciate that morning. So maybe I can have it both ways, I can be grateful for 2019 and I can be grateful for 19/20 while also being frustrated and angry…

But what do I know, I’m just a guy posting on a forum…


I really appreciated this thought and this entire reflection. I’ve been having a similar inner conflict about how to feel about this season because (for the most part) over the past 6 years or so, a part of the joy I found in watching UVA basketball was how I could put a lot of trust into them finding a way to pull off a win. It was very meaningful to be able to lean into that trust and experience something positive as a result (kind of like how trying to live by the 5 pillars usually results in a lot of good as well). Even though I didn’t expect this team to necessarily perform in the same way since every year is different, this year has still fallen very short from the level of trust I’m used to watching games with which has left me feeling deflated after games like last night.

Of course, being thankful for the joy and meaning that still come from national championship, the 5 pillars, and watching games in community with others helps, like you mentioned, but it’s tough to accept that our experience of UVA basketball — the good and the bad — may never be the same as the golden years we just experienced, witnessing this program build itself from scratch in the incredible way it happened. I fully believe that the future is very bright and this program is going to climb its way back to greatness, but how that happens and what it will ultimately look like is going to be experienced differently, and that’s okay. I’d say that’s even to be expected especially after accomplishing something so great.

These feelings kind of remind me of how I’ve experienced life after college — You think you have everything figured out and build out expectations for what’s next from that, but then life throws you a curveball and you have to figure out how to adapt to a new reality, holding onto and stringing together any moment of joy you can find amidst the anger, frustration, and disappointment that often accompany adjusting to a new reality, especially after certain expectations are shattered. I think we’ve all seen elsewhere how channelling those negative feelings into excessively dwelling on trying to understand what’s going wrong can lead to a toxic level of blame that isn’t productive, but I don’t think that means we can’t let ourselves feel those negative emotions while still supporting and believing in the program and feeling grateful for all that has transpired. I believe we can have it both ways.

I don’t really have an answer to how those negative emotions should be channeled and I know I say this through a limited perspective from my own experience, but I think writing honest, reflective pieces like this can help a lot. I love that this forum provides a space to work through a conversation like this. Thanks for sharing @BDragon


I have no problem with your sentiments. I expected the team would take a solid step back this year after losing the top 3 players to the NBA and two somewhat down years in recruiting, but, if I’m being honest, I thought we would be better on offense than we currently are. So I feel your frustration.

I don’t think this is the beginning of a multi-year swoon. We will be better next year, and I’m still hopeful that we will continue to improve this year and beat the odds to make the NCAA tournament (yes, I’m very pollyanish). I worry that some UVA fans may continue to be disappointed next year if UVA does not completely rise back to the 2019 level, which is a distinct possibility given how much we will be relying on 1st and 2nd years. Our return to a perennial #1 seed in the NCAAs may have to wait until the 2021/2022 season.

I have no problem with fans being frustrated as long as they don’t dump on current players who are putting in full effort. I think that disrespects the huge sacrifices our players make all year round to be the best they can be on the court and to meet all their academic responsibilities. I also think it’s shortsighted, given that players under CTB usually improve significantly during their UVA careers, and not infrequently improve dramatically.

I’ll end with a quote from Tony at the post-game press conference last night: “I think they’ll take a lead from us with how we work and how we respond to them. It’s a tremendous opportunity to lead, coach, teach and try to improve.” I think Tony could have added that the players will also take a lead from how the fans respond to them as well.


Wow, I didn’t have a chance to listen to the post-game press conference last night — what an incredible sentiment and approach to take by Tony and the rest of the coaching staff. I’d expected that he’d be handling this season in a way like that, but it’s still very heartening to hear it directly from him.


No doubt. I hadn’t heard that quote. But it is the exact reason that I’m such a fan of CTB and could not be happier that he is the one in charge of this program.

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TB somehow always has the right things to say from the highs to the lows. And you know its what he really means as he chooses carefully what to say and respectfully tries to give each reporter a real and complete answer.

Go Hoos and everyone keep your heads up. We got the ACC season to enjoy


No doubt. I’ve played for a lot of coaches and have coached a lot of players over my life I wish I had the mindfulness that TB possess. It’s honestly a gift to be able to take that pause before speaking and then say something that has meaning and empathy and connects with it’s target.

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I think by the end of this season we are gonna be proud of this team that came after the National Championship. Personally I have become kinda spoiled with a Brogdon or London or Ty or Joe or Guy or DeAndre making miracle comebacks or puling literally every game out when we needed it the past few years.

These guys get 4 or maybe 5 years to play while we get to watch it forever , ya know?


No doubt. I’m proud of the guys right now. This season showcases one of my favorite lessons that sports can teach. Everyone has to lose from time to time and sometimes your best just isn’t good enough, but that does not mean that you are not good enough as a person. Harsh, but an absolute reality. I have no doubt that every player on this year’s team is not trying their hardest, they are doing everything in their power to improve and control what they can control. And sometimes even with all that prep all that work it still doesn’t work out out for you. The other team as better, they had the right game plan who knows.

And the greatest lesson comes in what do you do with that disappointment. Those that trust in the system and keep working to improve will see tangible results.


This is a seriously good therapy session. Thanks everyone in sharing your feelings so honestly. Ive never been this passionate about a team before. When we lose, it truly hurts. Its not only that Im from Virginia, but also Its Coach Bennett and his humble and genuine character that radiates throughout this program that I love so much. So when we lose, it just stings a bit more. Kind of like the good guys losing or getting killed in a film or something. So when things dont go quite as expected, I feel knots in my stomach each time.
The good news is Im definitely learning to be ok with losing. Im accepting its part of the learning process and I think we do grow some with each loss. Also, I keep reminding myself of all the much more painful tournament loses we all had to grieve through for 8+ months each time…Michigan State? ouch. Syracuse…That one hurt…UMBC…I was honestly sick…


That was me last year. I wanted the Hoos to win it all so much the stress made me sick. I honestly wanted it so badly for them, for Tony and the guys on the team. For the guys who played before them. For The Pillars. I still hate to see them lose, but my expectations were lower this year and now any disappointment I feel is for the guys on this team living with the pressure of being the defending champs, of maybe not performing as they had hoped. Next year I’ll probably have those expectations again, and I know the growth in those who will return will pay dividends.


Appreciate everyone’s comments, thoughtful.
my 2 cents:

  1. We don’t have a true go-to guy this year, no one who can really create his own shot and or wants to do that at the end of the shot clock. Trust me, no one. I mean not here and there, but give me the ball I am taking care of this. We have had Ty, Dre, Malcom (later yrs.), Gill (I see eyes rolling, go watch old videos - give him the ball, get out of the way), Singletary, Harris, and sorry if I am missing some, the point is we don’t have that guy. Morsell is the only one I see being able to do that, but it’s too early and had too much pressure, I feel he knows he could be the answer this yr - tough for a freshman in this lack-of-other-scoring-threats system. Key could have, the injury really messed him this year
  2. This indeed is a gray year and though they are growing I doubt we will get significantly better. Do we make the tourney, I do think we can. Are we getting past the first 2 weeks? I don’t think so, if so, call it a miracle, call Tony a demigod and go give THANKS to whomever is your almighty.
  3. Next yr - many naysayers, I do believe we will be much better. Our D will be great as usual but we will have THE guy, at least some real options: Hauser is a proven scorer and has done it vs. legit competition. Rahim is beyond what we usually get offensive wise and he is 6’7’, look at his stats, impressive. Morsell will have a yr. under his belt and will have the 2 horses above. Imagine Morsell, Clark, all others this year if we had Kyle and the other team is running around all game trying to catch up? then, we have Beekman, 6’3’ at PG and real sharpshooter with excellent court vision McCorkle. I feel that kid is going to surprise many next year
    Are we 'chip caliber next year, not sure, lets wait until we see the first 12-15 games. We could be. Shedrick is a bit of a mystery, I feel positive vibes.

For now, sit back, enjoy the rough ride, support CTB and those kids who are working their a-- off. I for sure would not like to be a 18-20 y/o and have a bunch of sad, sometimes angry fans pointing out issues at me.



I question whether our D will be great as usual. Diakite and Keys defense will be greatly missed and Morsell’s excellent D as a frosh is unusual under Tony. I think we will be greatly improved overall and offensively but defense will be a work in process initially.