Home Virginia fans have been wanting Jake Groves to shoot more: Boy, did he

Virginia fans have been wanting Jake Groves to shoot more: Boy, did he

Chris Graham
jake groves
Jake Groves. Photo: Mike Ingalls/AFP

Virginia grad senior Jake Groves, when he shoots the ball, man, it always looks like it’s going to go in.

Only problem is, he can be a bit gun-shy.

His teammates are always telling him, Shoot it!

Seems that their pleading is finally getting through.

“They’ve been telling me that all year, and so it’s kind of one of those things that, that, you just get used to hearing stuff. And then, I don’t know, at some point, you kind of got to look yourself in the mirror and go, OK, that, that’s probably my role, is to shoot the ball more,” said Groves, who took the safety off this week with Notre Dame in town.

Groves let it fly six times in the first half, making five – all from three – on his way to a season-high 18 points, on 6-of-10 shooting, 6-of-8 from three.

The six makes from three were a career-high – he had five in a game last season for Oklahoma in a one-point loss to Texas.

Groves played two seasons at OU, after a two-year stint at Eastern Washington, where he was primarily an undersized post guy as a freshman, back in 2019-2020.

He shot 38.1 percent from three last season at Oklahoma, then transferred to Virginia, thinking he could play a similar role as a big stretch four that Ben Vander Plas had played for Tony Bennett a year ago.

Instead, Bennett decided to go with Groves as his starter at the five spot, which, well, he’s 6’9”, but he’s also listed at a lithe 211 pounds.

Groves was able to put up good offensive counting numbers early on – 12 points in the Nov. 10 win over Florida, 12 points in the Nov. 29 win over Texas A&M, 12, again, in the road loss at Memphis on Dec. 19.

But playing a new position, and a physically demanding one at that, was taking a toll.

“When you’re guarding the five, you’re in so many ball screens that, like, defensively, that’s all you’re worrying about,” said Groves, who was able to move back to his more natural stretch-four role with the emergence of Jordan Minor, another grad transfer, who took over as the starting center for the Jan. 13 game at Wake Forest, and has solidified Virginia with his tough post defense.

Groves’s minutes diminished at the outset of Minor’s ascendance into the starting lineup, but his performance in the 65-53 win over Notre Dame on Wednesday should earn him some more playing time moving forward.

“His ability to stretch the floor and, again, shoot the ball, and that that showed in the first half, it was just beautiful. And the second half, and I thought Reece (Beekman) and the guys did a good job of finding him, and they were trying to switch and do some things, and a couple times they got lost, but he gave us a great lift,” Bennett said.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," 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].