Focus | Bennett: ‘Even thinner’ in post
Story by Chris Graham
With AFP Audio
UVa. is missing 7-footer Assane Sene (three-game suspension) and 6-9 power forward Jamil Tucker (indefinite leave of absence). So when Mike Scott got into early foul trouble at South Florida Monday night, and eventually fouled out with only 16 minutes logged in the post, the four-guard offense that first-year coach Tony Bennett is having to employ went really, really small.
“When Mike got in foul trouble, we were even thinner yet, so those guys help more in that situation,” Bennett told reporters today on his weekly press conference call.
Jerome Meyinsse logged 27 minutes off the bench, but his stat line was about as pedestrian as you can imagine from a big – four points, four rebounds, and he only had one field-goal attempt.
“Jerome worked hard, but we didn’t have as much an attack or a threat on the baseline or inside,” Bennett said in the form of stating the obvious.
UVa. coach Tony Bennett talks with the media (8:08)
So why not insert heralded 6-8 freshman Tristan Spurlock into the mix more? Spurlock has played 12 minutes total in the Cavs’ first two games, with his nine minutes at South Florida, if you can believe this, being even less productive than Meyinsse’s, with Spurlock scoring a lone point to go with one rebound, and he didn’t hoist a shot from the field in his time on the court.
“He’s probably a combination player where he plays some perimeter three and maybe some four, but being a forward at this level, it’s very physical, and there are a lot of things coming,” Bennett said of Spurlock’s status right now.
“He’s shown some signs, and we’re trying to give him a little bit of time. Hopefully if he improves, he’ll be more ready. Right now, it’s a lot on his plate,” Spurlock said.
Sene will be back on Saturday for Virginia’s home tilt with Oral Roberts, but he’s not going to be available for the Thursday home game with Rider, which knocked off then-#18 Mississippi State in Starkville 88-74. Count that as bad news.
“They beat them pretty handily, and they shoot the ball extremely well, or they have been. And that’s certainly a challenge. That’s a team that’s very dangerous,” Bennett said.
“You’re going to have to be ready to go, because they have good guards, they’re crafty, and I was very impressed watching them on tape at what they could do. Offensively, they did some great things, and they made it look easy against their first two opponents, and Mississippi State has got some athleticism and talent, certainly,” Bennett said.