Home Virginia Basketball Notebook: Rebounding! Plus, Elijah Gertrude is growing on me
Basketball, Sports

Virginia Basketball Notebook: Rebounding! Plus, Elijah Gertrude is growing on me

Chris Graham
ryan dunn block
Photo: Mike Ingalls/AFP

You might not have noticed it, but Virginia, in the 84-62 win over Syracuse on Saturday, not only outrebounded the Orange, but owned the defensive glass.

The Cavaliers have allowed two opponents (Florida, Wisconsin) offensive-rebounding rates of 50 percent or better, and a third – Texas A&M – was over 40 percent.

On Saturday, Syracuse had 10 offensive boards, and a 28.6 percent offensive-rebound rate.

That’s where Virginia needs to be defensively.

UVA coach Tony Bennett isn’t thinking things are necessarily fixed just yet.

“A lot of times, your offensive system will determine how aggressive you can offensive rebound, and what your philosophy is in transition D. So they probably weren’t crashing as many because they opened up the floor,” Bennett told reporters after the game.

The message from the coach: “We just got to keep working” on rebounding.

“It’s the old school, check, hit, find, and everybody come back and rebound and build the discipline to be good at that. Because that can win you or lose you games,” Bennett said.

Elijah Gertrude gets big minutes

elijah gertrude
Photo: Mike Ingalls/AFP

It was just Wednesday that four-star freshman Elijah Gertrude made his season debut, after Bennett had signaled that the 6’3” combo guard was planning to redshirt, to give himself more time to recover from a torn ACL that he suffered last year as a high-school senior.

Gertrude got eight minutes off the bench in Virginia’s 59-47 win over Texas A&M, then saw that ratcheted up to 18 minutes on Saturday.

His statline: six points on 2-of-5 shooting, 2-of-2 at the line, two steals, one blocked shot, one rebound, one assist and three turnovers.

“He’s got a big upside, and again, he’s just got to keep developing his shot, developing the defensive ability to stay continuous, and then use those God-given gifts that he has, because he can be electric when he’s up in the air with a burst of stuff,” Bennett said.

“These are two games from pulling him off the redshirt that he’s gotten great minutes. How many minutes did he play today? Eighteen. I think he played maybe six or seven yesterday. So it was good, and we needed it,” Bennett said.

Team Coverage: Virginia 84, Syracuse 62

uva cheerleaders
Photo: Mike Ingalls/AFP


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].