Landesberg’s first impression: Bennett is ‘great guy’
The next question at UVa., after, Who is going to be the new basketball coach, was, What is Sylven Landesberg going to think of the guy? No need to worry there.
“First impression – right off the bat, I thought he was a great guy,” Landesberg told reporters Wednesday after the press conference in which Tony Bennett was introduced as the new head hoops man.
Bennett replaces Dave Leitao, who was let go after a tumultuous 10-18 season that was the worst for a Cavs basketball team since the early years of University Hall back in the mid-1960s. Leitao, of course, is the man responsible for bringing Landesberg, a McDonald’s All-American in high school and the 2009 ACC Rookie of the Year, to Charlottesville. Reports had Landesberg taking the departure of Leitao badly, but after meeting with Bennett, formerly of Washington State, with his teammates on Tuesday, the rising second-year seems satisfied at the least with the choice.
Which isn’t to say that he wasn’t following the saga of who was going to be the next head coach as closely as any of the rest of us were.
“We kept guessing, throwing names out,” Landesberg said. “The names that we knew were basically the names that you guys knew. We were just hearing everything through the media. His name was never really brought up, so when we found out he was going to be our coach, everybody was like, Who is he, where did he come from? Everybody was a little surprised. But we’ve had a meeting with him, and we found out he’s a great guy, a good guy for the position.”
Landesberg doesn’t think there will be any leakage from the roster of returning players. “I don’t think so. I think everybody’s going to stay,” he said. And he’s talked to one of the two recruits that Leitao had had coming in for 2009-2010, Springfield small forward Tristan Spurlock, and feels confident that he’ll be on his way to UVa. next fall.
“I spoke to Tristan a few days after Coach Leitao got released, and he still seemed confident coming here. I just told him, I know it’s hard, we’re all feeling the same way about Coach Leitao leaving, but just know that Virginia is a great school, we’re playing in the ACC, and we’re going to be good. He appreciated that, and he still felt confident in coming here,” Landesberg said.
– Story by Chris Graham