UVA INSIDER FOR MAY 12, 2010
Am I wrong to think there are a lot of similarities between the Virginia football and men’s basketball programs?
It seems that both programs are on the verge of a breakthrough. They just need a quarterback.
You look at the talent that second-year football coach Mike London is starting to assemble, including most recent “commit” Kwontie Moore, and the only real hole is at quarterback.
Then, you look at a men’s basketball team that some pundits are picking for the top half of the ACC and all the Cavaliers’ need is a point guard, the position that is considered the quarterback of the basketball team.
That’s not entirely fair because the Cavaliers have a couple of veteran point guards in Sammy Zeglinski, who will be a fifth-year senior in 2010-2011, and Jontel Evans, who will be a junior.
A lot of people are down on Zeglinski because of his role in Virginia’s huge meltdown against Miami in the ACC Tournament but, just five days before that, he was terrific in the Cavaliers’ regular-season finale at Maryland.
Zeglinski hit six 3-pointers and finished with 25 points in the Cavaliers’ 74-60 victory. Moreover, he had one turnover in 31 minutes as the primary in-bounder against the Terps’ press.
Evans is quicker and a better defender, although Zeglinski is a heady player who is a much better outside shooter. The immediate problem is, neither one can make free throws.
There’s more of a long-range problem in that Evans will be a senior in 2012-2013 and the Cavaliers don’t have an obvious back-up, much less an eventual successor. Kyan Jackson was a possibility after getting out of his letter-of-intent to Providence but he decided to stay closer to his Fort Worth, Texas, home and elected to play for TCU.
ROANOKER LUKE HANCOCK, who has been released from his scholarship at George Mason, is not a point guard. But, he had a team-high 143 assists for a 27-7 Patriots’ team this season.
That’s why UVa coach Tony Bennett finds Hancock intriguing. Hancock might not be able to guard a point guard but he can distribute the ball. Here’s something else about Hancock that Bennett would have to find attractive: Hancock was an 81.0-percent free-throw shooter last season, when he was 98-of-121 from the line.
Neither Evans nor Zeglinski shot 60 percent from the free-throw line. In fact, Zeglinski shot 57.1 percent, attempting only 28 free throws in 614 minutes (1.8 per every 40 minutes). Hancock attempted 5.1 free throws per every 40 minutes that he played.
Evans averaged 2.5 free throws per every 40 minutes, which is a more meaningful comparison, given that Hancock would not be at Virginia at the same time as Zeglinski. But, Hancock isn’t going to be a point guard either offensively or defensively. He is a player who defies description, which is part of his attraction.
In the end, my guess is that Virginia offers Hancock. For one thing, the Cavaliers need to strengthen their in-state ties, although I’m not sure how many doors Hancock would open. With J.J. Redick, Josh Henderson, Ben Boggs and now Hancock over the past nine years, southwest Roanoke County has exceeded the law of averages.
WHAT THE CAVALIERS need is a Ronald Curry-type prospect who could play quarterback on the football team and point guard on the basketball team, although it’s hard to say that Curry was an unqualified success as a two-sport athlete at North Carolina.
Few Virginia fans grieved when quarterback Marc Verica used up his eligibility last season, but would they take a quarterback who could compete close to 60 percent of his passes for more than 2,500 yards and close to 15 touchdowns?
You bet they would. Or how about a quarterback who threw for 2,000 yards but completed closer to 65 percent of his passes? The first set of numbers show what Verica did as a senior. The second set showed what Verica did in 2008 as a redshirt sophomore with infinitely less experience than 2011 sophomores Michael Rocco and Ross Metheny.
The worst part about the quarterback situation for UVa fans is the uncertainty, but Verica was a two-star signee in 2006, just as Rocco was a two-star recruit in 2010. Ultimately, you’d like to get a four- or five-star quarterback, but what was there to complain about Verica except for the interceptions?