A kinder, gentler Leitao?

Story by Chris Graham

A “kinder, gentler” Dave Leitao is said to be the reason for Virginia’s one-game ACC turnaround.
Leitao, for his part, isn’t buying the notion that he necessarily did anything differently in the walkup to the Cavs’ 84-66 win over Boston College than he would normally do.
“I don’t think that I coached Saturday with any less vigor than I normally do,” Leitao said today in his weekly ACC teleconference. “I still, I’m sure, yelled at some people, and demanded and those types of things. But I think what happened is I don’t yell a whole lot when we practice well. And that’s consistent. And as a result of Friday’s practice, I think everybody, including myself, was in a much better frame of mind, because the things that we were asking each other to do,our guys were doing. So it became a quote-unquote ‘kinder, gentler’ version – but at the same point in time, I think the guys have a lot to do with me and how I operate, and obviously it has a lot to do with how they operate.”

One reporter asked Leitao how he handles the ups and downs of a college-basketball season.
“I think from a coaching perspective, a lot of it has to do with feel, and feel comes from experience,” Leitao said. “Then the other part is knowing your people and knowing your young guys, and knowing when they’re ready to give their best and knowing when you need to pull back a little bit. And you try to do that – for us, we’ve got 17 guys in the gym every day that have 17 different personalities trying to mesh into one. And so when you do that, you have to be able to push the right buttons and know when to back off,” Leitao said.
“You’re part-time psychologist and part-time coach, and you put it all into one.”

Chris Graham is the editor of The SportsDominion.

uva basketball team of destiny

Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable run

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

augusta free press


%d bloggers like this: