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Mailbag: An alternative perspective on playing time for Andrew Rohde

Chris Graham
uva andrew rohde
Photo: Mike Ingalls/AFP

I’ve just stumbled upon your articles lately, and would first like to say, I enjoyed reading them. I think the first one I saw was about eating crow, and I appreciate when someone can see and admit being wrong.

I actually agree with you on Andrew Rohde. But I also am 100 percent sure that Tony Bennett knows more about basketball and his players than you and I combined. And let me first say that I think his minutes need to be cut. Now I’ll get to my point: TB knows his team and what their ceiling is, and how it could change.

A month ago, many had wrote the team off completely, then TB did what TB does. Now they are playing great. I’m still skeptical. I think against elite talent, weakness will still be exposed, but I hope I’m wrong. And they have looked great.

About the team being written off: so were players like Jake Groves and Jordan Minor. Labeled as transfer portal misses. Not cut out for ACC-caliber play. Then all of a sudden, they are the saviors of the season and helping lead this team back to the top of the ACC. Because TB waited and worked for progress.

I have a feeling that’s what TB sees in Rohde; he sees a player with potential and ability to be a season-changer. To raise the ceiling and give the Cavs a better chance at multiple postseason wins. It happened for two players already, so a third on the same team in the same season may be unlikely. However, what’s to gain may be a lot bigger than what’s to lose, and I feel like that’s why we see minutes the way distributed the way they are.

Remember, Tony Bennett knows best.

– Jacob

uva andrew rohde
Photo: Mike Ingalls/AFP

Tony Bennett is the guy who gets $4 million+ a year to make the decisions. He’s not, and no one in the world, at any job is, above being questioned.

I think the bigger issue than just Andrew Rohde alone is that the spot that Rohde is filling right now is the one weak spot in the lineup right now.

If it was obvious who should be getting the bulk of the minutes at the third quard spot, alongside Reece Beekman and Isaac McKneely, we wouldn’t all be going back and forth on this.

Rohde is a good ball-handler (2.5-1 assist-turnover ratio) and an OK system defender. Taine Murray is a better shooter (not even close) and an OK system defender.

Dante Harris: on paper, an elite on-ball defender, but he’s still not 100 percent from the ankle injury; he’s a creator as a first or second point guard; and not a good shooter.

Depending on the matchup, Jake Groves can and has been of late getting some run as a big, big third guard; he’s an elite shooter, and decent system defender.

We might see Groves get some minutes against FSU as a third guard this weekend, just because Leonard Hamilton goes big across his front line.

For all the talk about Rohde, it’s not like Tony giving him minutes is holding anybody else back, necessarily.

And of late, the past five games, even with Rohde starting, he’s basically been getting the same amount of minutes as Murray at the third guard spot (Rohde: 17.6 minutes/g over the past five, Murray: 16.8 minutes/g over the past five).

We all tend to focus on who starts games, because the flow of the game can get to be a bit of the fog of war; but it’s not really as much who starts as who gets minutes as the game goes on.

Jordan Minor and Blake Buchanan have solidified the five spot, allowing Groves to play some three and four and do what he does best, knock down shots.

Beekman, iMac and Ryan Dunn have been solid from the opening tip in early November.

This other guard spot is the remaining question mark for this team.

I don’t care who it is that steps up, but we need one of the guys in the group of Rohde, Murray and Harris to step up and take the minutes that are right now there for the taking for this team to reach a higher ceiling.

Great email from you here. Thanks for writing.

– Chris

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].