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Men's Basketball: With Evans in, what happens to Baker?

With Jontel Evans assuming an increased role in Virginia’s rotation – and one that has included starting the past two games – it’s natural to wonder what exactly Calvin Baker’s role will be on the team. In fact, that very question was discussed in a Tuesday post on Cavaliers Journal.

Bennett was asked the question during a teleconference on Thursday. Without mentioning Baker by name, his answer shed light on the changing roles in Virginia’s back court.

“I just tell all our guys they have to be ready, because you don’t know when,” Bennett said. “As a coach, you think what can help the team first. You think of the player, but it’s always team first. You always keep those guys working hard, because you don’t know when your time’s going to come.”

It would difficult to find an observer of Virginia’s team that has not noticed the spark Evans provides. In a short period, he has established himself as the team’s best on-the-ball defender. He is an outstanding athlete who pushes the ball more effectively than the other players on the roster.

Entering the season, Evans’s offense was seen as a problem. However, he has been smart with his shots. He’s hitting 52.6 percent of his field goals. Baker, who is never shy about shooting, is shooting 35.6 percent from the field.

One could say Baker provides leadership, which he has been lauded for in the past. If that’s the case, the example he sets might best be seen by the way he deals with limited minutes at the expense of a freshman.

“As a group, there’s some guys who are disappointed because they want to play more, but that’s the case with every team,” Bennett said. “That’s part of being a player at this level – its competitive and challenging.”

By Zach Berman  |  January 22, 2010; 2:45 PM ET
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If Baker is the leader and team player everyone says he is, he'll gladly trade diminished minutes for wins. The player I'm worried about is Spurlock. The kid was a highly touted recruit who has floundered under Bennett. Granted, it's probably a good experience for him to have a coach hold him accountable for his play at both ends of the floor, but I'd hate to see a player with his raw athletic ability transfer before we find out what he can actually do.

Posted by: jburksva | January 22, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I'd actually like to hear a bit more on that. What is the deal with Spurlock? I've been abroad and haven't been able to catch many games. Is it his defense keeping him on the bench or does he just not have "it?"

Posted by: nalsmith | January 22, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

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