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Virginia still looking for prospects for 2010-11

Virginia Coach Tony Bennett has not ruled out filling at least one of the two scholarships available for 2010-11, even though it's late in the recruiting process. Virginia continues to look into transfers, although the Cavaliers lost in their pursuit of former Iowa State center Justin Hamilton, who is going to Louisiana State.

The Cavaliers' coaching staff continues to consider options with high school players and transfers. A high school senior is a tricky route this late in the year. Virginia is not among the favorites for some of the top unsigned players, and under-the-radar players at this stage of the recruiting process can sometimes haunt both the player and the program if it's not the right match. Bennett has emphasized that he will not fill the scholarships to fill them, and has no issue holding at least one -- and possibly both -- for the 2011 recruiting class.

If Virginia does sign a high school player, don't be surprised if it's someone previously committed/signed to a school that has undergone a coaching change. At this point in the process, some of the best available talent can be found that way.

"You never know what kids are getting out of a letter of intent, who's going to stay or go, who left for a job," Bennett said. "All that stuff comes into player. You keep your eyes open. But there's no harm in a big class in [2011] or [2012]."

When asked if he'd consider a junior college player, Bennett said he has recruited junior college players in the past, but it must be someone who can "step in and play a good amount of minutes" because they won't be part of the program for a long time. Bennett said he'd ideally want to build the program with players who stay four or five seasons.

Bennett also has connections in both Australia and Europe. When asked about the option of adding an international player, Bennett said he is also searching, but part of the appeal of coming to U-Va. was the access to talent within the area. This is compared to Bennett's former job at Washington State, where the remote location often forced Bennett to become creative with recruiting. He added that it's easier to get to Australia from the West Coast, although he pointed out that some ACC schools have added Australian players in the past.

So the recruiting search continues, but Bennett remained unsure whether he was going to sign a player or carry the scholarships into future classes.

"It’s going to be something that makes sense," Bennett said. "To fill it up to fill them can hurt you. ...You still need someone who addresses your need. We're open to both options."

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By Zach Berman  |  April 29, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
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Next: Virginia athletics weekend preview


Tony Bennett took a team with an 8 game winning streak, including three important ACC wins, and reversed trends with cynical coaching decisions. I've heard all the arguments pre- and post-debacle, and they're all soft. Established coaches would not have done what he did in the midst of that kind of success; he did it because he was comfortable with having expectations at nil, a status that was in jeopardy if the Cavaliers were winning (see, e.g., Miami, Georgia Tech and N.C. State early on). He wanted slots for the players he wanted to recruit, for the system he wanted to install -- he didn't want Leitao's leftovers and the baggage they brought. The departing players (four, including Baker at season's end) were what Bennett wanted - his denials to the contrary notwithstanding. Now, all the alums and fans are parroting the line: "wait until Bennett gets his players in." Garbage. This isn't CYA ball, this is THE ACC. He won't win a single ACC game next year with the team he's going to field. UNC, which had much more talent on the court this year in its young players than UVA will ever have, had a terrible season. Terrible. Even UVA abused them. What makes anyone think UVA will bring in a few average + players and do anything next year with Zeglinski, Evans and Scott? They'll get pummeled. Then, when Scott and Zeglinski leave (they're seniors), it'll just be the puppies -- and they'll get pummeled, i.e., 0-1 ACC wins. Then, when these guys are in their third years, they'll be more experienced, but that just means they'll get a couple of ACC wins at most. The ACC is not a "worst to first" opportunity, especially for a team with average talent and average recruiting. Bennett won't change any of those dynamics -- he's not Calipari! So we will suck. For a long, long time, all because Tony Bennett preferred the luxury of zero expectations and shot success in the groin last year when those expectations started to rise. I will not miss him when he is let go in two years.

Posted by: tcmarcus | April 29, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

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