Rotation settling into place for #5 Virginia

virginia basketballA couple of big questions before the season for #5 Virginia: who would replace Justin Anderson and Darion Atkins, and how deep would Tony Bennett’s bench end up being?

A third of the way through the 2015-2016 season, the Cavs are starting to answer those questions and round into shape.

Bennett has found a replacement for Anderson in not one, but three, players. Darius Thompson has been getting the starter’s minutes alongside Malcolm Brogdon and London Perrantes, with Marial Shayok and Devon Hall coming in off the bench.

Thompson, a sophomore transfer from Tennessee, is averaging 8.4 points per game, shooting 58.3 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from three-point range.

Hall, a redshirt sophomore, is averaging 4.9 points, shooting 40.0 percent and 36.4 percent from three-point range. Shayok is averaging 4.4 points, shooting 50.0 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from three.

Nolte (2.0 points per game, 33.3 percent from the field, 20.0 percent from three) has fallen back from starting 11 games in Anderson’s absence in 2014-2015 to the spot of being sixth in the backcourt rotation, and his minutes have been limited of late, to a point where the senior didn’t get off the bench in Virginia’s 63-62 overtime win over Cal on Tuesday.

The frontcourt rotation is also set with Anthony Gill (14.5 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game, 57.1 percent shooting from the floor) and Isaiah Wilkins (4.8 points per game, 3.8 rebounds per game, 57.1 percent shooting from the floor) set as starters.

At the moment, it would appear that Jarred Reuter could be the new first guy off the bench in the frontcourt. The freshman is averaging 3.0 points and 2.0 rebounds per game, but he came off the bench to score 11 in 16 minutes Tuesday in the win over Cal.

Mike Tobey (6.5 points per game, 3.7 rebounds per game, 55.4 percent shooting) has seen his minutes steadily decrease in recent weeks, getting a combined 24 minutes in recent wins over West Virginia, Villanova and Cal, scoring four points and getting one rebound in that time.

Jack Salt would be the fifth option in the frontcourt. The redshirt freshman has logged four starts this season, but has gotten DNPs in three of Virginia’s last four games.

So there you have your rotation: Brogdon, Perrantes, Thompson, Gill and Wilkins starting, Shayok and Reuter the first off the bench, Hall and Tobey next, Nolte and Salt if there’s an injury or deep foul trouble.

– Story by Chris Graham

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