Clark is back

That is a very fair point.

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Per J-Willy on the show here: “There’s a certain level that this program has had as far as how we go about our business. Some of our best guys we’ve had with regards to that [see question below] have been Malcolm, Devon, Ty, you know, Dre. Dre learned to do it because of Ty. Kyle. Mamadi. You know those guys worked at it. I think we gotta get back to this group continuing to show the incoming guys what Virginia basketball is. That is a challenge that I gave when we had our exit meetings with all the guys, the end of year meetings. And for the returners, just being that example. We got guys that are great, that will talk you through all kinds of stuff, but they gotta show and gotta have their actions match their words. But they work. I think there’s room for growth and improvement. That’s always a hard balance. With school and time restraints that we can be on the floor with them. That’s them grabbing a manager. Let me shoot a little bit more. Easier to do during winter break when there is no class. I thought a lot of the guys - I don’t know if it was just course load this year with the work - but a lot of the guys came in during the winter break and got some extra work…But I think that’s an area where we all need to improve. 1 through 13 need to be better.”

I have the feeling J-Willy knew the question was coming from Mark, and he was very careful in giving his answer to the question: “How hard did the guys work and could they have worked harder? Could have the gotten in the gym more?..”

This builds off of Bennett’s end of season presser where he challenged the players. It sounds like there is a culture problem, as identified by the coaches. Does Kihei coming back improve the culture or exacerbate the problem?

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I have this fear as well. Seems fairly clear that he hasn’t been the same level of leader that we’ve had in the past

Williford was pretty blunt in one of his preseason podcasts that there were no vocal leaders in practice which is disheartening. Kihei needs a Jerome to thrive, and Reece will never be that vocal leader if he never feels like he has full control of the team and has to defer at times. Psychological shenanigans ongoing.

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I think the communication overall will get better. My hope is that while Kihei will likely still have a large role, it will be clear from the jump that this is Reece’s team, and I think that will give him the confidence to talk more.

Also McKneely is a bit of a shit-talker from what ive seen, could make practices more interesting. Hopefully that draws some life into some other dudes

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No KC will not come off the bench. No his minutes will not be reduced to 15 to 20 minutes a game. Yes he will start and he and Reece will carve up opposition defences with additional weapons surrounding them.

His return will move us up 3 to 5 spots in most pre-season projections. Some pundits will rank KC and Reece as a top 5 backcourt and the best in the ACC.

No worries. Now all you hall of fame pee wee league coaches can relax. There i fixed it for you … Carry on

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What exactly were they carving up when they scored 13 first half points against a UNC team that isn’t even known for defense?

And what additional weapons when we start the same starting 5 who will take most of the minutes. If minutes aren’t reduced then the weapons aren’t available.

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Yep, that. Same recipe gonna generate the same maddening results.

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Someone didn’t miss their dose of smugness pills tonight.

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If we get McNeil Kihei will lose some minutes and Reece will get a shiny new weapon to “utilize”.

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Taking an optimistic view here, but if Armaan finds his shot again and shoots ~37% I would consider that a “new weapon”

Also if Jayden steps out to the corner a little bit (please make this happen he has the touch to do it please make him shoot it)

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You mean to tell me players can get better?

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Doesn’t matter if they get better. Just a lot lacking in the skillsets they provide.

The questions we had from last season to next season

  1. Can we get consistent shooting at the 2-3 spots
  2. Who guards the next best offensive threat after Reece? Who guards the AJ Griffens of the world?
  3. Who guards the stretch 4s like Manek?
  4. Who helps with our rebounding deficiencies?
  5. Can we get floor spacing at the 4 and 5 without giving up any athleticism or rebounding potential?

I dont think we are answering many of these questions.

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I think I just need to pull a @SaberMetrics and channel any angst into productive angst against our jerseys. An issue that is still addressable now that Kihei is committed to coming back.

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Sigh. For the (insert number) time it’s not about Kihei as an individual. As a player nor as a person. It’s about how the pieces fit together. Kihei and Reece in the backcourt with Jayden, Kadin, and Papi in the front court just isn’t enough shooting in 2022. Heck it probably wasn’t enough shooting in 1996. Throw in Armaan being undersized at the 3 and you end up with…what we saw this past season: A poor shooting and undersized starting 5. Not a great combination.

Avoid the bad early season losses and we probably make the tournament but getting a 9 seed isn’t exactly the standard Tony has set for the program. Have to hope the people claiming Tony is willing to reduce the minutes Kihei and Reece play together are correct or the ceiling for next season is low.

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I think it boils down to: Kihei is an amazing role player piece to have when you have 6 future nba players on your team. We talk about “the pass” but lets not forget how incredible Jerome and Guy were to getting us to that point in that game.

But not when your program needs a culture reset and you are trying to develop young guys to become those next greats but are afraid of playing them through their mistakes so you default to kihei for 40 minutes a game because its who youve developed trust with. Of course Tony could play Kihei less and I think he wants to with the pursuit of McNeil on top of the 2022 class and Taine more adjusted to US ball.

Im in the middle between “Tony will play his best players regardless and there is precedent for first years taking minutes and veterans being displace” and “Ill believe it when I see it after the last two years regardless of roster construct”

I will agree that Kihei gets so much hate that he doesn’t deserve. A lot of frustrations directed at him should be directed at roster management forcing him to play a role he wasn’t meant for. I was just hoping he would grad transfer somewhere if not go pro to allow us to try something new and also let Reece be the veteran for the young guys and reset the lockeroom with guys not on the natty team who are hungry for more.

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Jay Willy may expect what questions are coming but doesnt know. Totally unscripted which I think is great

Jay and Marky have developed an inreal rapport however that comes across on the show

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I want to like this post 1000 times.

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Hot take if McNeil doesn’t come, McKneely starts and is that vocal leader we need. Not saying he’ll average double figures or anything, just you feel his presence and his passion on the court.

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I’ve heard Williford multiple times talk about the lack of leadership the last 2 years.
Players generally follow leaders who are the most talented players too. Very difficult to lead and be an average to mediocre performer in games.
That likely means Reece and Isaac M next year as leaders who would be followed … a bit of Gardner too.

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