Tag: Anthony Gill

Malcolm Brogdon
Associated Press

Virginia used 3-on-3 to adjust to new shot clock

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When the college basketball rules committee made the decision to trim the shot clock down to 30 second from 35, one reason for the switch was the desire to improve offensive production. With offensive numbers at their lowest point in years, proponents of the move see the shot clock change as a necessary move if scoring is to improve.

Whether or not that winds up being the case will be seen throughout the upcoming season, but teams are still having to make adjustments during the preseason.

Virginia, which has played at a snail’s pace (and with great success, mind you) in recent years, made some adjustments to their summer work in anticipation of playing with a 30-second shot clock. One adjustment was more games of 3-on-3 with a 15-second shot clock, which forced all involved to be more decisive in their offensive decision-making.

While the pack-line defense will always be a staple of Tony Bennett’s teams, the feeling in Charlottesville is that they’ve got the offensive firepower needed to both play faster and be more efficient offensively than they were in 2014-15 (29th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy). One of the players who will lead the way is senior guard Malcolm Brogdon, who led the team in scoring and was a first team All-ACC selection, and he discussed the team’s outlook with Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

And even though Anderson’s highlight-reel shot blocking was the thing that frequently fueled fast-breaks for U.Va. last season, Brogdon and [Anthony] Gill said they expect this year’s team to actually push the tempo even more.

“I think we’re going to be a team that gets out and runs more,” Brogdon said. “I think we’ll have three guards on the floor, most of the time, will be able to handle the ball as a point guard and get out in transition. I think we’ll play a lot faster.”

Brogdon and Gill are two of the team’s three returning starters with point guard London Perrantes being the other, and the Cavaliers also return most of their reserves from last year’s rotation. That experience will help them on both ends of the floor as they prepare for a run at a third straight ACC regular season title. And in theory it also allows them to extend themselves a bit more offensively than they did a season ago.

New Year’s Resolutions: Virginia Cavaliers

Justin Anderson (AP Photo)
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Justin Anderson (AP Photo)

Conference play is right around the corner, so over the course of the next two weeks, College Basketball Talk will be detailing what some of the country’s best, most intriguing, and thoroughly enigmatic teams should resolve to do with the New Year right around the corner. What can we say, we’re in a giving mood. Thank Jessica Simpson.

MORE: The rest of our New Year’s Resolutions | Midseason catchups

VIRGINIA PROMISES TO: Be better from three.

  • It will happen because: As a team, the ‘Hoos are shooting 37.2 percent from beyond the arc this season, but that includes Justin Anderson’s freakish and impossible-to-keep-up 58.8 percent shooting. Take away Anderson — a career sub-30 percent shooter — and Virginia is just 25-for-87 from deep, or a cool 28.7 percent. That’s what happens when three of a team’s best shooters — Malcolm Brogdon, London Perrantes and Evan Nolte — all suddenly lose the ability to shoot. Last year, they were a combined 38.5 percent from deep. This year? That number’s down to 25.8 percent.
  • But it might not because: There is no Joe Harris on the roster this season. I wrote about this extensively earlier this month, but Harris is the kind of player that could drag a defense with him when he ran off of screens. Everyone on the floor had to be aware of where he was at all times, and that created opportunities for the rest of the guys on the roster. Virginia doesn’t have someone like that this season. As I wrote on Tuesday, Justin Anderson’s damage has been done mostly as a spot-up shooter and a target in transition. He’s not Joe Harris, even if his numbers may look like it.

VIRGINIA ALSO SWEARS THEY WON’T: Stop giving Anthony Gill the ball.

  • It will happen because: Mike Tobey is the guy on this Virginia team that has played with Team USA; he made the same U19 roster that Jahlil Okafor did two summers ago. He was more highly-regarded and is probably more skilled inside than Gill, who isn’t as good of a defensive player as Darion Atkins is. But neither of them are able to produce the way that Gill has this season. He’s really good moving without the ball and has excellent hands, he’s active on the offensive glass and he seemingly finishes everything around the rim, as he is shooting 66.7 percent from inside the arc. Like Anderson, Gill is not really a go-to guy in this offense, but as long as he is making the most of his opportunities, you keep the touches coming.
  • But it might not because: Eventually, Virginia is going to run into front lines that are bigger, stronger and more athletic. Gill, for everything that he can do on a basketball court, is not going to grow anymore. What happens when the Cavs run into teams like Louisville and Duke and North Carolina, teams with bigger big men? Well, if they keep shooting like they have been this season, the touches that Gill gets in the post are not going to be as clean as they have been.

No. 7 Virginia with a dominating, statement win at VCU

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I say this without a hint of exaggeration or hyperbole: There aren’t ten tougher home court environments in the country than the Siegel Center, the home of VCU and ‘Havoc’.

Ram Nation packs that place to the brim, turning the roughly-7,000 seat building into a sweat box packed with rowdy Richmondians and the best pep band in the country, making it difficult to hear yourself think while trying to deal with handling the ball against a swarming defense that forces more turnovers than anyone.

And on Saturday, No. 7 Virginia went into the Siegel Center and put a beating on the Rams, winning 74-57.

Now, the final score is a bit misleading. VCU got three straight threes from Treveon Graham to make the score 59-55 with just over five minutes left in the game, and at that point — after Virginia had started to feel the effects of playing against that press for a full game, getting sped up and committing live-ball turnovers in bunches — it looked like the Rams were ready to finish off a game-changing run. But Virginia answered, scoring 15 straight points and hitting six straight shots from the floor to put the game away.

It was very, very impressive.

And it was a common theme all afternoon.

VCU’s pressure would bother Virginia in short spurts, but the Cavs’ back court of London Perrantes and Malcolm Brogdon did an excellent job of getting Virginia into their sets when they did break the press.

I wrote extensively on VCU and Havoc two weeks ago, essentially explaining why I thought the system had a ceiling. In short, it’s because good teams with good guards will not get flustered by the pressure, and that the Rams struggle too much on the defensive end in half court situations. Saturday’s game was a textbook example of that. Virginia committed 16 turnovers, with eight of those coming from Brogdon and Perrantes. They also shot 68.4% from the floor, 6-for-11 from three and routinely got dunks and layups once they broke the press.

I also wrote on Virginia last week, questioning just how good they will be offensively without the presence of Joe Harris on that end of the floor. I still think that may be an issue, but if Brogdon (18 points), Perrantes (nine assists), Justin Anderson (21 points, 3-for-4 from three) and Anthony Gill (18 points, 7-for-9 from the floor) continue to place somewhere close to that level, then my questions will end up looking foolish.