So, Tony Bennett hasn’t said no? That’s what you got?

tony bennett uva basketballSome guy told a guy who writes for a blog that is either associated, or not, with the New York Times, Gonzaga, not sure, anyway, he says Tony Bennett hasn’t yet said no to UCLA.


According to a source.

I don’t have any source to confirm or deny whatever Tony has or hasn’t said to UCLA, whether UCLA, its reps, boosters, whoever would be responsible, has reached out to Tony, his peeps, whoever would answer for him.

Maybe UCLA reached out, and Tony said, Ty’s back, sorry, kid needs some Icy Hot.

Maybe a booster sent his agent an email, and Tony’s agent emailed back, you know, Tony’s busy with Kihei, something about ball pressure.

I can see why Bennett would have interest: it’s UCLA.

John Wooden started a dynasty by teaching kids how they’re supposed to put on their socks.

Bennett is nothing if not attentive to detail.

I can also see why he wouldn’t have interest: the LA part of UCLA.

Charlottesville might be too busy for Tony, with all those 48,019 people, and all.

How can a man put deep thought to pindown screens, post-to-post doubles, the occasional 2-1-2 zone, with all kinds of nonsense going on around you all the time.

Not a question there. More a statement.

I’m not exaggerating about Charlottesville being too busy for Tony.

Everybody I know who actually knows him – I don’t actually know him; he sat beside me once at a prep basketball game on a recruiting stop, and asked me a question about the kid he was there to see, but I don’t text him when I’m on my way to JPJ, like Lebron does Coach K – says the idea of Tony Bennett in LA is bonkers crazy.

He tolerates things like postgame pressers because it’s in his contract. He does the one weekly phone call with the ACC that I assume the ACC requires.

I’m on Duke’s media list, for comparison, and writers can talk to Coach K, it seems, when do you need him, five minutes, sure, which, makes sense, that’s how you get all the headlines, which turns into recruiting, the rest.

I’m more likely to get a sitdown with the Pope than I am Coach Bennett.

(I’ve only been covering UVA Athletics for 23 years. Wrote a book about UVA basketball. I’m not John Feinstein, but I’m also not nobody.)

If you don’t like dealing with the media, if Charlottesville is too big for you, LA, man, that’s a whole ‘nuther intergalactic experience right there.

This is what I have, in terms of insight.

Might Tony Bennett end up at UCLA?

I don’t doubt that there are boosters at UCLA ready to back up multiple armored trucks to make whatever they want to happen happen.

And: Coach K once almost ended up the head coach of the L.A. Lakers.

Remember that?

Stranger things have almost happened, and even stranger things – like, to name one, the Dave Leitao era – have happened.

As far as Tony Bennett to UCLA, I’m not thinking there’s much here, but I tell you, if I’m an AD out there looking for a coach to build a program, and my boosters have more money than God, I’m trying.

Column by Chris Graham

uva basketball team of destiny

Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable run

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.


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