Virginia fans: We got us an Anthony Gill problem

anthony gillShould Virginia fans be worried about senior forward Anthony Gill? Have to say yes.

Gill had another subpar game Monday in the Cavs’ 73-53 win over NC State. He scored six points on 3-of-8 shooting from the field and had five rebounds in 23 minutes.

Over his last five games, Gill is averaging 9.6 points per game, shooting 41.4 percent from the field, and over his last four, he’s been averaging 3.5 rebounds per game.

This from a guy averaging 13.8 points on 57.1 percent shooting with 5.8 rebounds per game on the season.

“Teams are playing really well defensively on him. We have played some teams that have been really physical against him,” point guard London Perrantes said after the State game. “We have some other guys that have been stepping up for us, Isaiah [Wilkins] has been playing huge and so has [Mike] Tobey. At some point, teams are going to have pick their poison against our team.

“Anthony has been playing extremely well still. He may not have been scoring as much, but he still is playing really well for us outside of scoring,” Perrantes said.

Which is a nice thing to say, but this last number from Monday’s stat line may be the most alarming: the 23 minutes. We’re not talking minutes limited by foul trouble.

Gill had one foul.

The plus-minus meter was also not kind to Gill. Plus-minus is the scoring margin when a particular player is on the floor.

In Gill’s 23 minutes, Virginia, in a game that it won by 20, outscored the Pack by one.

His plus-minus at Duke was equally alarming, a -12 in a game that Virginia lost by one. Gill was assigned defensively to freshman Brandon Ingram, who lit up the Cavs for 22 points in an 11-minute stretch spanning the end of the first half and first four minutes of the second half, before guard Malcolm Brogdon was put on Ingram and shut him down the rest of the way.

Gill had similar issues with another stretch four, Clemson’s Jaron Blossomgame, who torched Virginia for 23 in a 69-62 UVA win last month.

Even when Gill would have issues on the defensive end, he was always there with his ability on the offensive end and on the glass.

But for here and now, Gill is a guy who isn’t defending, not scoring and not rebounding.

And yet: Virginia is still winning games. It helped Monday night that Isaiah Wilkins had a career night on the glass, with 13 rebounds.

“As the other big, I feel like it is my job to either get him the ball or score in space so I can take some pressure off of him and allow him to get his one-on-one game going,” said Wilkins, who has stepped up his play of late, averaging 6.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game over his past five on 57.7 percent shooting.

Which is all well and good that Wilkins has taken up some of the slack, but it would be better if Wilkins were contributing more to add to what the Cavs get from Gill and from Mike Tobey (7.1 points per game, 58.3 percent shooting) in the post, not taking up slack from the veterans, particularly Gill.

Assuming there aren’t physical issues that we’re not being made aware of, and there don’t appear to be any, Gill will play his way out of this funk, and for Virginia to play well in March, he will need to.

“Anthony is a really good basketball player and a great offensive player, so when he gets going he is hard to stop,” Wilkins said. “Some teams are throwing different things at him. Some teams are trapping him and others are fronting him. We just try to get him the ball and let him work.”

– Story by Chris Graham

 
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