Planes, trains, automobiles: Tough trip home after ugly Virginia loss

UVA basketballI’ve been the guy in the press room saying, relax, no way Tony could have accounted for all three of those guys leaving early, and, they’re doing OK, considering.

Seriously, we all knew De’Andre Hunter was leaving, but Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy?

You can’t succession-plan for that.

Nothing against Kody Stattmann, Tomas Woldetensae, Casey Morsell, but …

Woldetensae would be somewhere else now. Morsell would be fighting for 10 minutes a night, and not getting them.

Stattmann would be a practice guy getting garbage-time minutes, like last year.

Now, they’re all being relied upon.

And nothing against Mamadi Diakite, who somehow thought he was NBA-ready last spring.

I’m suppressing laughter right now.

He has all the skills – well, most of the skills.

Range out to the three-point line. Ability to guard the perimeter and defend the rim.

They haven’t been much on display of late.

Jay Huff, the Hoonicorn.

Yeah.

Actually, no.

Huff doesn’t deserve a nickname.

You have to earn a nickname.

Huff hasn’t earned anything.

Kihei Clark, a three-star recruit who played way, way above his head as a freshman, is the only guy who gives you 100 percent every second he’s out there, which, credit to him for that, but his ceiling isn’t that of Hunter, Jerome, Guy.

I’m selling Braxton Key a bit short here, but that’s because his ceiling is higher.

Key could be a Hunter. He has that kind of talent.

He can tend to float. Go ahead, @ me.

I get a text after the ugly loss at Boston College Tuesday night.

Boston College, a bad team, playing without its two best players.

With a coach who is about to get fired.

In front of 204 fans, because nobody there expects anything.

Those guys played those their asses off.

They made shots. They won 50-50 balls.

They wanted it.

The Virginia kids … I’m not sure what the issue was.

The text: c’mon, what do you expect?

This team isn’t last year’s team.

What I text back: stop making excuses.

I’m tired of writing it off as, oh, well, we don’t have Dre, Ty, Kyle.

News flash: they’re not coming back.

And this team was coming off a beatdown of a good Virginia Tech team just three days ago.

A win they’d worked their asses off to secure.

That want-to wasn’t there Tuesday night.

To be fair, it was for roughly eight and a half minutes.

Down 12 early in the second half, Virginia went on a 20-3 run to take a five-point lead with 5:25 to go.

The margin of error for these guys is tight as a tick’s ass.

A couple of bad possessions on both ends, and it was a game again.

Down the stretch, Clark was 0-for-4 from the floor, Key made a driving layup to tie the game, missed on a chance to take the lead in the final minute, and that was it.

No way this has anything to do with lack of talent.

Boston College is about as good as a fourth-place team in a mid-major conference, and that’s being generous.

BC will finish under .500, the coach is going to get canned.

Nobody there cares.

This wasn’t lack of talent for Virginia. It was lack of interest.

I’m not Tony Bennett, obviously, for lots of reasons. Among them, I’m profane to a fault.

If I was in charge of things there, I’d get a call from the NCAA, because I’d have had my director of basketball ops arranging for a bus to take the team home.

They don’t deserve a plane.

Give them nine hours to think about that bullshit effort.

Story by Chris Graham



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