Best Seat in the House column by Chris Graham
I was about to write a column giving some bigtime praise to UVa. point guard Sean Singletary for his gallant effort Wednesday night in College Park …
When an e-mail jolted me back to reality.
“Every aspect of this team’s game (with one obvious exception) is fundamentally poor. They rarely box out, they play defense intermittently, they miss free throws down the stretch, they turn the ball over. Is the real genius behind the last two years now on bench in Gainesville?”
I can’t get this one out of my head now.
The reference, of course, was to former UVa. assistant Rob Lanier, who left Charlottesville in the spring to join Billy Donovan’s staff at Florida.
Let me say right here that I don’t think at all that there could be anything to what was in my e-mail inbox yesterday. I’ve thought from day one that Dave Leitao is an excellent Xs and Os coach.
But that said, it’s obvious that something is missing from this year’s team – and when I say obvious, I mean dating back probably to the Seton Hall game, where the Pirates basically decided that Virginia wasn’t going to do what it has been doing the past couple of years and rain threes down on their heads.
From that point on, it seems to have unravelled completely – the Virginia basketball spool, that is. Now the team that was first in the country in rebounding margin at the beginning of the month can’t seem to box anybody out – witness the endgame in last night’s 85-75 loss at Maryland, where the admirable late-game rally that cut the Terps’ lead to five at one point in the last couple of minutes could have done more if not for the eight second-chance points that the ‘Hoos allowed down the stretch. Now the team with a senior point guard who is on the Wooden Award watch list can’t seem to take care of the ball – think back to the endgame at Florida State in a two-point loss where Singletary was stripped at halfcourt with the Cavs down one with a chance to take the lead late.
It just seems that … something ain’t right there in Charlottesville, and try as I might, I haven’t been able to put a finger on what it might be.
But … Rob Lanier?
I dunno …
Anybody out there got a better answer?
Chris Graham is the executive editor of The SportsDominion.