Tony Bennett already overhauls roster
On the day Tony Bennett accepted the job, his roster of returning players looked like the following:
Centers: Assane Sene , Jerome Meyinsse, John Brandenburg
Forwards: Jamil Tucker, Solomon Tat, Mike Scott, Will Sherrill
Guards: Sylven Landesberg, Sammy Zeglinski, Jeff Jones, Mustapha Farrakhan, Calvin Baker
Incoming players: G Jontel Evans, F Tristan Spurlock
When Virginia opened preseason practice, only Brandenburg had left, and the reasons were not related to Bennett. I even asked Bennett how he managed to avoid attrition that's often associated with a new coach.
Well, I asked the question a year too early. Tucker never played for Bennett, having been dismissed from the team for academic reasons. Landesberg was suspended before the final regular season game and is now off to professional basketball. Baker left the team before the ACC tournament. Spurlock is transferring at the end of the semester. The eligibility of Meyinsse and Tat expired.
So, that leaves Virginia with only six scholarship players from the date Bennett took the job. Sherrill is a walk-on, although he's a contributor. Bennett has a class of six new players coming into the program next year, and it is currently unknown whether the coaching staff will add a seventh player.
Bennett said during the season that it was important to find a core group of players that bought into the system, recruit a large class in the first year and build off that class.
To that point, Bennett has lived up to his pledge. But it was not expected in the autumn that the players leaving after the first year were the best player and the top recruit.
March 23, 2010; 5:03 PM ET
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