Home Mailbag: How does Tony Bennett best use TJ Power? As a big three, or a stretch-four?

Mailbag: How does Tony Bennett best use TJ Power? As a big three, or a stretch-four?

Chris Graham
tony bennett
Photo: UVA Athletics

I’m wondering if TJ Power can play as an old-fashioned small forward. The big question is whether he can handle the many guards he’d have to defend. He’s very talented, but also pretty slender to be playing the four, although he can certainly play there some.   

I like the idea of playing stretches of the game with a brawny front court of Blake Buchanan/Elijah Saunders/Jacob Cofie/Anthony Robinson at the 4-5 and Power at the three.  That would also reduce the pressure of finding a third guard from among a group that (except for Taine Murray) hasn’t yet shown they can shoot the three.

In a blast from the very distant past, I’m hoping Power is the next Wally Walker, a legit 6’7” small forward who could defend, rebound, and score from inside and out.


I don’t know how this idea would work, on either end, not having seen Power play yet, but I would imagine that Tony Bennett is probably thinking this way.

Tony tried using Jake Groves as a big three guard late last season as part of the kitchen-sink approach to fixing the offense, but what we found out was, Groves is a better stationary shooter, that he was better-suited to shooting off pick-and-pops than catching and shooting off screens.

If Power can shoot off screens, he can play three offensively.

Then we’d have to see his skill set defensively. Is he better-suited to chasing guards around, or to guarding fours?

That will probably be, as much as anything, depending on the matchup on the floor. If the other four is a stretch-four like him, he guards the stretch four. If the other four is a 250-pound back-to-the-basket guy, maybe Power is a big three.

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].