Pressure on freshman Scott to step up for UVa.
Story by Chris Graham
Listen to today’s “SportsDominion Show,” featuring interviews with UVa. basketball coach Dave Leitao and Virginia Tech basketball coach Seth Greenberg.
Injuries have decimated Virginia’s already thin front line.
That’s why we’re seeing more of freshman forward Mike Scott.
“It’s a little unfair for him, it’s a little unfair obviously for us – because as the season began, he was a spark off the bench as a power forward and a little bit as a center to come in and provide some energy,” Virginia coach Dave Leitao told reporters on his weekly teleconference today.
Scott scored nine points and pulled down nine rebounds in 20 minutes in Sunday’s 92-82 loss to Georgia Tech. He is averaging 6.1 points per game and 5.8 minutes per game in 15.7 minutes per game for the 11-7 Cavs – numbers that have increased steadily since the start of the season with injuries to veteran post players Lars Mikalauskas and Tunji Soroye limited Leitao’s options inside.
Ideally, Leitao would have liked to have been able to get Scott – who came into the 2007-2008 season a bit hobbled himself after suffering an ankle injury in the summer – more seasoning before throwing him into the meat of the ACC schedule as the starter at center.
“And now what we’re doing is asking him to be the anchor on the back line of our defense, be the help, the rotation guy, clog up the middle, all those things that we’ve asked from the backline of our defenders. And do it without size and bulk, do it without length, not being a natural shot-blocker and being inexperienced. That’s a very, very difficult thing to ask him or anybody in his position to do,” Leitao said.
It doesn’t get any easier anytime soon – the Cavs head up to Maryland Wednesday night in what is obviously a must-win game for a team that is now 1-4 and in dead last in the conference.
“We have three games in seven days, and obviously coming off a difficult loss last night, it’s a test to, again, everybody – coaches, players – to get back and tuned into what will obviously be a difficult road game on Wednesday,” Leitao said.
Chris Graham is the executive editor of The SportsDominion.