Devin Smith Podcast

This is a great interview. As I was at UVa during the “lost generation”, all these dudes are the ones I followed and I’m loving the interviews with these guys. Living in Lambeth Field my second year… I don’t believe I missed a game as I just stumbled over to UHall after class to the student section.

Funny story about Devin playing in Italy near Naples… it made me think of the following story. As I’m an IT sales guy in Germany, I travel to the Naples area a few times a year to call on the US Naval Air Station at Capodichino and the NATO Joint Forces Command at Lago Patria. I was sitting at one of my favorite restaurants on the water about 6 or 7 years ago and this guy walks up and asked if we were American as we were all speaking English…

He ends up sitting down with us telling us he was a US basketball player playing for Capo Miseno locally and liked to come down to eat. Said he would just walk around and find a group speaking English as it helped him not get home sick while in Italy. I wish it had been Devin as I would’ve actually recognized him… probably would’ve blown his mind. LOL!

Great dude… I still keep in touch with him over Facebook.


Put Adrian Joseph on the underrated poster. He was usually 3rd or 4th option behind Singletary and Reynolds, sometimes Diane and Cain, but a threat to score and pretty dependable.

One standout memory for me: I was at the Virginia Tech game in Blacksburg Leitao’s first year when Greenberg grabbed the mike and gave his pep speech. We had moved to the lower level during the second half and nearly got hit by the flying change. Joseph hit a three in the last minute to win the game and shut up the crowd for good.


I’m gonna have to go with Devin and Joseph. Friel and Billet were specialists, not underrated, Watson wasn’t underrated, Meyinsee really only had one good year. Sene, Clark, Brown, and Cain I think are appropriately rated.

Devin wasn’t super talented or a super athletic, but squeezed the most out of what he had by playing hard and with a smart old-man’s game. Averaged 11 and 4, 12 and 5, and 16 and 6 as a senior. Not bad ACC play for a guy who wasn’t even signed out of high school.

Joseph was overlooked always being the third option, he could play though.


next week we have jr reynolds…


Back tu the podcast and Pete Gillien. Gary Forbes left because of Dave Leitao and had nothing tu do with Pete, coaching or playing time.

1 Like

Tu have an opinion on Gillen as a coach and those Virginia hoop years?


I’d love to hear Tus opinion. I think he’s hinted at it before with the use of Watson and Mason Jr


Atlanta X @BDragon


I dont want tu pile on the man. He was not ready tu be a Power Five coach and couldn’t discipline his players and team. He was a great recruiter and I would put his players up against any other UVA coach players including TB. Thats a topic.


I’d agree on all those points. He’s one of those guys who does well fighting from underneath. But even at XU. They didn’t hit their stride until he left and Thad showed up.

Talent wise Pete may have brought in the best pure athletes and ballers ever. JJ may have had some teams to beat him out. TB brings in talent but it’s different and often takes time to cultivate. Pete’s guys were ready to go just add water. Unfortunately he didn’t know what to do with them after that


yea, I feel bad asking all these guys questions about Gillen. He was a great recruiter, just didn’t have a the structure and process in place to really make it happen consistently.

He was more of a roll it out on the floor and let the players make it happen.

What about Leitao @TUGARD, seems to be a mix bag of responses with him.

1 Like

Not Tugard, but here’s my observation. I loved the Singletary and Reynolds team that went to the round of 32 (and probably would have made the sweet 16 if Reynolds had not hurt his ankle), and am happy to give Leitao credit for the success of that team. Leitao was an okay X’s and O’s coach (arguably better than Gillen), but really didn’t seem to have a long term developmental plan for the program other than unrelenting anger at the players and everyone else. Singletary seemed fired up by Leitao’s motivational style and Reynolds didn’t seem too bothered by it. Mamadi Diane absolutely withered under it though.

My impression is that Leitao was not a good recruiter, at least based on his lack of success with top 100 recruits except for Sylven Landesberg. It was a continuation of the era of UVA basketball where we seemed desperately in need of a big time recruit to turn the program around, but would always strike out. Bennett allows great 20/20 hindsight on what was wrong. Neither Gillen or Leitao had a long term plan for program development, player development or recruiting and it showed up in the won/loss column. More specific to Leitao, his anger could motivate a team for a couple of games or even one season, but was not a sustainable strategy and frankly made me cringe whenever I watched his sideline antics.


I am admittedly harsh on Leitao. Some of it deserved and some of it probably not. But here’s a quick Leitao story.

Dec of 07 I go out to Cinci and have tickets to watch UVa at XU. My college vs. my heart. I haven’t been back to X in 2 ears at that point and I only attended 1 half of 1 game my freshman year. I splurge get great seats and I’m with this girl that I’m with at the time who had just graduated from X and she is all up in their ish. I’m stoked have all my UVa gear on, and Sean Miller and his squad outclassed the Hoos in every way possible. I swear I think we lost by like 30. The girl I’m with is just dumping it on me. I’m bout ready to leave her in the Cintas center and hit the bar. After the game I’m at a local XU alumni bar having beers, and it’s packed with X fans (think Duke fans without the successful track record). I end up talking with one of the beat guys from the Daily Progress for like half the night and I’m grilling him on what happened to the program, (I’d been overseas for a chunk so lost tack of the ins and outs). After getting the lowdown from him and witnessing the train wreck on the court, plus having the gf have that over me it was too much for me. You couldn’t tell me a good thing about Leitao after that.

For what it’s worth he kinda is exactly who you thought he was. Look at his DePaul record. I think he knows his X’s and Os but his inability to recruit and build are obvious.


Dave Leitao used his charm tu get intu a prospect home and was q very good recruiter. We were the bridesmaid tu some highky rank guys like Renardo Sydney, Mason Plumlee, Ed Davis, Patrick Patterson and McAdoo. Tu name a couple. In a few cases AAU interaction and other influences out of Leitao control caused him tu miss out on a few top guys. But Leitao brought talent tu UVA. I think Leitao did a bad job surrounding himself with assistants that could cover up his weaknesses. TB isnt a top offensive mind. So he hired assistants like Mckay and Soderberg tu help him in those area’s. TB also had assistants tu help him with his in game coaching. When Laitao lost his first few assistants. His in game coaching and player development suffered alot. Once teams saw UVA as a threat. They prepared differently and discovered how tu play against him. He couldnt sneak up on teams anymore and needed tu work on new strategies and X an O. He didnt know how tu adjust or counter. This frustrated him and his confidence disappeared. He became very demanding and out of control. He didn’t know how tu handle a program at the ACC level and the pressure got tu him. He also had a few bust on the recruiting trail and catered tu Sean tu much. He became one dimensional on offense and easy tu prepare for. He wasnt innovative enough to draw up offenses that utilized his players skill set. All he did was, Put it in Sean hands and get out his way. I think he lost his locker room and players were tired of him and the constant abuse. He looked so miserable on the sidelines.

 I think as a coach, he was very demeaning tu his players and a jerk tu everyone else, like the media.  I heard him tell Mamadi against Seton Hall,  he was playing like a pussy and a little girl. He felt bashing a player brought out the best in him.  Off the court, he treated his kids like family. He did not represent what UVA stood for on the court, with his verbal assaults and lunatic antics.  I also think he reached some success at UVA quickly and was putting pressure on himself tu reach those high times again once asversity and losing hit.  He never established a program and his teams had no identity. I hear he is much better as a coach now and grew up alot since he coached at UVA.  He is by far my least favorite UVA coach.

I remember when I lost faith, which was probably the same way it happened for many others. Finally got pretty good seats close to the bench at a mid-winter game with relatively few fans, so could hear a lot more of what was going on on the court. Sammy Zeglinski made some sort of minor mistake, and Leitao immediately pulled him and just tore into him as he walked off the court. Nothing constructive - just berated him. Zeglinski just walked past him taking it but not engaging. Then an assistant ran over to a very defeated Zeglinski on the bench to explain what he’d done wrong and how to fix it. I just couldn’t imagine wanting to deal with that.

As some others said, it felt like some players put up with it fine and maybe it even motivated them, but I always thought it really hindered some guys’ development because they got so down on themselves and seemed terrified of making mistakes. I don’t remember too many examples of guys getting tremendously better under Leitao or beating expectations. Felt like a lot of the opposite despite a few amazing performances.

It was also really interesting to see a few guys really blossom when Tony came in who I’d had pretty measured expectations for given how they had looked under Leitao. I know those first couple of years were rough as we were rebuilding, but it was great seeing a guy like Jerome Meyinsee come into his own and have a great final year. And if you want to talk about somebody I think would make for a great interview on the podcast, I imagine he’d be pretty good. Not only was he there for the transition, he’s a crazy smart kid who has had a lengthy career in South American leagues - a very different route than many. I bet he has some great stories.


@MaineWahoo Stay tuned for Jerome. @Merch always ahead of the game on these things. Jerome great great dude as you said and speaks fluent portuguese after only 3 years playing in Rio. Says a lot to me about how smart of a man he is


You guys are always on top of it. Will look forward to it!


Hearing these stories about Leito and his on-court demeanor is crazy. As I mentioned I wasn’t following the program closely during that time due to life. But it certainly sounds like the University went in a totally different directly by bring in CTB to follow up.

I’ve never understood those style coaches, I know it’s an old school thing and there examples of them having success, but I wonder especially with today’s more engaged and prepared athletes if that approach still works. An occasional blow up happens to the best of us, but maintaining at that level is tough.

But what do I know, I’ve gone on record saying I didn’t even want CTB when they hired him. I was lobbying for Sean Miller. By that point I just wanted wins and didn’t care how they arrived. Glad no one listens to me.


I knew early on in his tenure that Leitao was volatile and profane. But I am too, so I felt like criticizing him for it would be hypocritical. Plus, I felt like the program needed a good kick in the pants after the frustrations engendered by Gillen’s laissez faire, roll-the-balls-out-and-let 'em-play style.

But I ended up sitting next to Otis Fulton on a flight from Richmond to Houston one day, and we talked a lot about the program (Otis didn’t know me from Adam, but was incredibly gracious and engaging). I had watched Otis play when I first became a U.Va. fan as a kid in the seventies. Anybody who watched Otis play knows he’s a pretty tough guy. But he was appalled at the way Leitao spoke to the players on the bench during games (he didn’t get to too many games, but had good seats right behind the bench a few times) and flat out told me he would never play for a coach like that.

It was after that conversation with Otis that I began paying close attention to Leitao’s in-game behavior and to his own words in post-game press conferences and other media interactions. I realized pretty quickly that Leitao wasn’t the hard-nosed, no-nonsense throwback coach I thought he was initially. Instead, he was a bully who threw his players under the bus and rarely took accountability for his role in losses.

I feel like the program over-corrected in going from a players’ coach in Gillen to a disciplinarian in Leitao. It might have worked if Leitao had truly been a disciplinarian. I don’t think he was malicious or tried to hurt the kids, but his way of trying to get the best out of them was hurtful and counterproductive.

The brilliant thing about Tony is that he is an incredible human being who demonstrates his care and concern for his players (and pretty much the entire world, for that matter) while still being able to deliver tough love and hold his guys accountable. He’s no pushover or soft touch, and the guys respond to his discipline and criticism because they can feel that he genuinely has their best interest at heart. That’s a lot harder to achieve than I think most people realize.

As fans, we’re kinda like Goldilocks when she sat in the three bears’ chairs. We went from too soft, to too hard, to just right. Ain’t it great?!