Coach Bennett on the road tonight

Pic from Kyle Sokeland

Tony Bennett is on the search for potential new class of 2021 guard targets.

He and assistant Orlando Vandross were spotted tonight in Evansville, Indiana watching point guard Khristian Lander. You might remember his name from last summer when Tony was in the stands for several of his AAU games. Louisville, Indiana, and Michigan are all heavily involved with Lander, who some consider the best point guard in the class.

I’ve also learned Tony was in West Chester, Pennsylvania this afternoon where he attended practice at the Westtown School. The probable player of interest there is guard Jalen Warley. He’s been one of the biggest stock risers of the high school season. Pitt, Seton Hall, Oregon, and Georgetown among many others are vying for his services.

Neither of the prized guards have offers from Virginia…yet. it’s the 2nd time recently Coach Bennett has made such a trip to evaluate new recruits, after seeing Trey Kaufman and Stevie Mitchell just 10 days ago. This is by far the most recruiting activity we’ve ever seen from him during a season. Likely a reaction to the NCAA’s changes that have taken away valuable summer evaluation time.

Virginia currently has four scholarships available for 2021.

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Jabri team just beat Westown but Jabri was hurt. The kid Blakes is someone interested on UVA.

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Tony reveals his spirit animal :laughing:

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Haha interesting to see that he’s looking at other targets. What do you think this means in terms of our other guys that he’s been targeting, HGN?

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It’s mostly just about getting ahead since they have less time this summer. These guys are both potentially being targeted as what I’ve been calling the 2nd guard in the class. What’s telling is they’re both point guards and really really good and heavily recruited. That means that A) their preference in that 2nd spot is a PG. And B) They don’t feel there’s a status to protect with Trevor Keels. They had been hoping to get him first and then target more of a long term guy in the 2nd spot. Well these aren’t long termers lol

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Why would we want a point guard so quick with Reese coming in next year? These guys aren’t going to sit on the bench

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With TB it’s always just the next spot up. There are only 4 guard roles, and 3 were filled in '20. Warley is big PG, so he really would be more the Brogs style like Keels. Tony loves guys like that. Devon Hall was a “point guard” once. Lander is a 1 all the way though.

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Hard to see a top PG coming in 21 with 4th year Kihei and 2nd year Beekman on the roster.

Bennett’s preferred offenses run so much better with multiple guys who can run point. Kihei and ty last yr, ty and Devon in 17-18, Devon and London 16-17, London and Malcolm 15-16, 14-15, and 13-14, Evans and zeglinski in 11-12. Part of what makes this yr’s offense so stagnant. There was a conversation on who would be the backup pg (which is nobody since Kihei plays 38 mpg) at the beginning of they year, but should instead be a question of who would be the secondary pg. They haven’t found that guy which is why Bennett has had to alter the offense as drastically as he has. Multiple pgs and legit ball handlers allows for continuity offenses. With only kihei, we’ve seen the majority of the offense be set plays With that in mind, we shouldn’t discount pg recruits because we have depth at the position.

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Hard working man that Coach Bennett!

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Plenty of teams recruit and sign one PG EVERY year. Need plenty of ball handlers when going with 4 guard and 5 guard sets.

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Bennett isn’t going to allow another team to be in the same position again with no secondary ball handler. Just imagine this team with say Nigel Johnson. Handle the point, drive, and hit an occasional 3.

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It’s really two different questions: should Bennett target a 2021 PG even though he has beekman and Clark on the roster?

Yes, of course. He likes running multiple ball handlers, and there’s always the risk of injury or attrition.

But that brings us the the second question: would a top 2021 PG want to play for Virginia with beekman and Clark ahead of him?

That’s a whole ‘nother question…

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Good points

I would hope that they try. If it doesn’t pan out, it is what it is. But if works out and team uses all its PGs in subsequent seasons then coaches can point out success going forward and for continuing recruitment in this manner.

I think Tony’s running loose again tonight. Hopefully we’ll get a report where, don’t have permission otherwise.

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Ok, looking forward to an update!

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Virginia’s Tony Bennett is in tonight for Top-35 junior Caleb Furst, i’m told. Very big target for the Hoos. As @Stockrisers reported last month, he will officially visit Michigan State this month.

— Jake (@jakeweingarten) February 2, 2020
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While Virginia hasn’t moved to ‘positionless’ basketball, I have a suspicion that Coach Bennett would prefer to implement a ‘two position’ system. Bigs and smalls, or forwards and guards. I also suspect he would prefer to have three combo-guards in the back court. In recent years, all the guards could bring the ball up the court, initiate the offense, catch-and-shoot, and drive. Some were more adept at some of these skills than at others, but they could all perform each task. I still think it’s a bit of a mistake to think in terms of ‘point guard’ and ‘shooting guard’ when considering Virginia’s offense. The problem this year isn’t that there is a lack of ‘point guards’, as some like to note. It’s that the back court, as a whole, lacks both depth and experience.

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I agree. I think Bennett’s ideal line up (skill wise) would be a true point (say London) two combos (say Devon and Malcom) a combo forward (Dre) and a big (Mamadi, Akil and hopefully Kadin). Have a banger big on the bench (salt/Caffaro) another combo (Key) back up combo that could run point. That would be his ideal 8 man rotation. Note: this isn’t a projection on ideal line up by player just using certain players as examples for skill sets he prefers.

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