March 30, 2010

CA$H





Unfortunately, I haven't had a lot of free time lately with which to update Wahooze. However, I would like to take this opportunity during a relative "dead period" to direct your attention to a great article from SI's Andy Staples regarding potential NCAA conference realignment. The idea for the CA$H Conferences has been rattling around in my head since I read this piece back in mid-February. I mean, it really resonated with me. I think it's a major pipe dream... but I would love to see it, and it's really fun to think about. Imagine a 16-team ACC with UConn, Pitt, Rutgers, and Syracuse added to the fold. Talk about a basketball superconference!

Forget expansion -- it's time for full-blown conference realignment

Trust me. It's well worth the 10 minute read.

March 23, 2010

Adios, Landesberg.




Virginia men’s head basketball coach Tony Bennett announced Tuesday (March 23) that sophomore guard Sylven Landesberg (Flushing, N.Y.) is leaving the University of Virginia and will not complete the current semester.

“I have discussed Sylven’s future with the Landesberg family and been informed that he will be leaving the University of Virginia to pursue his professional aspirations,” Bennett said. “I am thankful for the significant contributions Sylven made to the Virginia basketball program and wish him success in his future endeavors.”

Landesberg led Virginia in average points, assists and minutes played per game in 2009-10. He averaged 17.3 points, 2.9 assists and 32.1 minutes played a game while playing in 27 games. Landesberg averaged 4.9 rebounds a game and shot 81.0 percent (111-137) from the free-throw line. He made 44.3 percent (166-375) of his shots from the field, including 38.3 percent (23-60) from three-point range.

Landesberg was a second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection in 2010 and was also a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) All-District III Team. He earned ACC Player of the Week honors twice during the 2009-10 season.

During his two seasons in the Virginia program, Landesberg scored 930 points (16.9 ppg.), had 301 rebounds (5.5 rpg.) and 155 assists (2.8 apg.). He played in 55 games, starting 54, and averaged 33.2 minutes played a game. Landesberg shot 43.9 percent (316-719) from the field, including 35.1 percent (39-111) from three-point range, and 80.2 percent (259-323) from the free throw line.

As a freshman in 2008-09, Landesberg was the ACC Rookie of the Year, a unanimous selection to the 2009 All-ACC Freshmen Team and was a CBSsports.com second-team Freshman All-America selection. He earned ACC Rookie of the Week honors six times during the 2008-09 season.

Landesberg averaged 16.6 points, 6.0 rebounds 2.8 assists and 34.2 minutes played a game in 2008-09. He started 27 of Virginia’s 28 games that season. Landesberg led ACC freshmen in scoring and minutes played in 2008-09, and was third in rebounds and assists.

March 22, 2010

Adios, Spurlock.




Freshman guard/forward Tristan Spurlock (Woodbridge, Va.) is leaving the Virginia men’s basketball program. Spurlock and Virginia men’s head basketball coach Tony Bennett mutually agreed on the decision.

“After a long discussion with Tristan and his family we have mutually agreed that it is best for him to leave the Virginia basketball program,” Bennett said. “I appreciate what he’s done for UVa basketball and understand his desire for a different playing situation. I fully support his pursuit of his goals and he has my best wishes for the future.”

The 6-8 Spurlock played in 13 games for the Cavaliers during the 2009-10 season. He scored 31 points and had 10 rebounds. He shot 42.9 percent (12-28) from the field and 71.4 percent (5-7) from the free throw line.

“I appreciate my experience at Virginia, but in light of current circumstances and after discussing the situation with Coach Bennett we’ve reached a mutual decision that it’s in my best interest to seek a better situation relative to my goals,” Spurlock said. “I’ve enjoyed my UVa teammates and wish them the best. I’m especially appreciative of the Virginia fans and how they’ve supported me during my time at UVa.”

Spurlock will finish the semester at Virginia.

March 17, 2010

Assane Sene: "Im coming back."



Great news this morning from the Washington Post, as rising junior 7-foot big man Assane Sene has committed to return to Virginia for the remainder of his college basketball career.

I think this is a very good thing for the team. Sene is well-liked and well-respected by his teammates, he's an energy guy, and the upside is definitely there. I personally think he played a great game against Duke on February 28th, grabbing ten rebounds and blocking two shots in 27 minutes on the floor. He played with energy that day, and was one of the few bright spots of that blowout loss.

If he can devote his offseason to adding strength, catching the basketball more cleanly, and fitting in more seamlessly with the pack line, he could be a valuable role player next season and in 2011-2012.

Other than Sylven Landesberg and Tristan Spurlock, Sene was the player most heavily rumored to be transferring this offseason.

March 12, 2010

Sayonara!

Well... it's official.

Homemade Pizzacone!



My G3 buddy -- Derek -- was so inspired by the story of Alex's trip to New York to try a Pizzacone, that he made one himself! Derek used pizza dough wrapped around a birthday party hat, and the end product can be seen above.

I now officially feel like some sort of holy messenger, providing the forum for divine culinary guidance to be delivered.

Ha ha ha, congrats to Derek, and to (I guess) Alex! Well done!

Duke 57, Virginia 46

Nice, gutsy performance today, Hoos. No shame in losing a game like this. And hey, at least we made Kyle Singler bleed.

It was an interesting season. Ups and downs. I'm happy we were able to end it on a relative high note.

Congratulations and good luck to Jerome Meyinsse and Solomon Tat.

I'm already looking forward to next year, with the CAValry* set to charge in.

GO HOOS!


*K.T. Harrell


*James Johnson


*Will Regan


*Joe Harris


*Billy Baron




(Add these guys to Sammy and Will Sherrill and... yeah, we're gonna be the whitest team in the ACC.)

Addition by Subtraction?




Of the 13 basketball players on scholarship (Calvin Baker, John Brandenburg, Jontel Evans, Mustapha Farrakhan, Jeff Jones, Sylven Landesberg, Jerome Meyinsse, Mike Scott, Assane Sene, Tristan Spurlock, Solomon Tat, Jamil Tucker, and Sammy Zeglinski) Tony Bennett inherited when he took the Virginia job, two have already prematurely washed out of the program -- Brandenburg in the summer of '09, and Tucker in December '09. Now Sylven Landesberg has been suspended from the team for the remainder of the season for academic reasons, and isn't expected to return to the program. (Most folks are guessing Landesberg tries his hand at the NBA, using a potentially lucrative career in Europe as a cushion if the NBA doesn't want him.) Baker left the team prior to the ACC Tournament due to an illness in the family, but he's a 4th year anyway, joining Meyinsse and Tat in the exodus via graduation. Rumors continue to swirl that Tristan Spurlock, unhappy with his playing time and discouraged by his poor fit in the "Bennett Ball" system, has already been in contact with other schools seeking a potential transfer destination.

The news isn't all bad, however. This week, when asked point blank if he were considering a transfer away from UVA after this season, Mike Scott said bluntly : "I ain't going anywhere." And early-season talk about Sene being unhappy with his role appear to have been overstated. Sene has emerged as a team-first guy who has [slowly but steadily] embraced the role Coach Bennett has in mind for him. So I expect both big men to be back next year.

Add them to the returning core of the team and the six incoming freshmen, and here's what the depth chart might look like for next season:

1) Jontel Evans / Billy Baron
2/3) Sammy Zeglinski / K.T. Harrell / Jeff Jones / Mustapha Farrakhan / Joe Harris
4) Mike Scott / Will Regan / Will Sherrill
5) Assane Sene / James Johnson

(Incoming freshman forward Akil Mitchell is expected to redshirt in 2010-11, so he isn't listed above.)

It's possible that if Landesberg and Spurlock both leave early, Bennett could pursue yet another prospect for the 2010 recruiting class, bringing that number to a staggering SEVEN incoming freshmen. Or the spare scholarship could go to walk-on Will Sherrill for his senior season, which would be an outstanding gesture and would get the program back in more regular scholarship expiration rhythm.

No doubt, next year's team will miss Landesberg's scoring punch. But if the result is the more in-control, balanced offense that played so well yesterday without the "let's play passive and just wait for Sylven to score" dynamic against BC, then it might just be addition by subtraction.

Also, without Landesberg and Spurlock, we'll be completely undersized at small forward. I'm sure Bennett will opt for a three-guard lineup, which could be interesting to mix and match backcourt pairings given the very specific strengths and weaknesses of our guards.

But now I'm rambling and riffing...

The point is that I choose to take yesterday's BC game as a preview to the type of team-based basketball we'll see next season, without Sylven Landesberg. I doubt the Hoos will be very good, but it should be a much more rewarding team to follow.

March 11, 2010

Virginia 68, Boston College 62

Fuck yeah.

Joe Trapani's tears were priceless.

No Pre-Game Blog Entry Today...

Look, writing Wahooze blog entries is not my job, it's my hobby. If writing something won't be fun for me, I won't write it. Simple as that.

That's why you won't be reading a UVA/BC pre-game entry today. Not because I don't think the Hoos have a decent chance to win this game (I do think they have a decent chance!), but because even if we win, we'll go up against the Duke buzzsaw tomorrow. That's a game we WON'T win.

At 14-15 overall, we'd need to win two games in the ACC Tournament to get to .500 on the season and have any chance for the postseason. And even then we're just looking at paying money to play in the CBI. So no thank you.

The season ends today or tomorrow, without Sylven Landesberg and without Calvin Baker. I hope we end on somewhat of a high note, that Jerome Meyinsse goes out with a bang, that Mike Scott comes back around and seems to reinsert himself into the team dynamic, and that we salvage some sort of shred of immediate hope for the future.

I'm not expecting any of that, though. Hence, no blog entry today.

March 8, 2010

#1 x 3

Baseball -- still #1, despite losing 2-1 to Wright State on Friday night. (Interesting note: WSU scored both runs on squeeze plays! Wish I had been there to see that; few plays in sports are more exciting than a well-executed squeeze.) We went on to crush Dartmouth on Saturday, 14-3, and again on Sunday, 11-5. In Sunday's late game, we got our revenge on Wright State, 13-3.

Lacrosse -- after beating #1 Syracuse 11-10 on Sunday afternoon in Klockner, the men's LAX team ascended to the lofty #1 ranking.

Tennis -- Beat ODU on Friday, 8-0. Also beat Georgetown on Friday, 9-0. Topped it off with a win over nationally-ranked and highly-respected Texas on Sunday, 9-4.

These three programs are chugging along right now, helping us forget this nine-game slide in basketball... at least partially.

Congrats to the baseball, lacrosse, and tennis teams! GO HOOS!

March 7, 2010

So Long, Sylven



In case you missed it yesterday...

Virginia men’s head basketball coach Tony Bennett has announced that sophomore guard Sylven Landesberg (Flushing, N.Y.) will not play in games for the remainder of the 2009-10 season for failure to live up to his academic obligations.

“Sylven has failed to live up to his academic obligations and will not play in games for the remainder of the season,” Bennett said. “This is a very difficult decision. Sylven is a fine young man who I deeply care about, but our players need to take personal responsibility for their academic obligations. There are standards and expectations that Sylven and every player in this program now and in the future must uphold. When they are not upheld, there are consequences.

“It’s important for our current and future players to understand it’s a privilege to compete in the ACC and attend one of the finest institutions in the country. My hope is through this action it will help Sylven and the other young men in our program understand the value of a degree from the University of Virginia and the opportunities it provides for life after basketball.”



I really don't see any way possible that he's planning to return to the team after this. And you know what? That grim reality doesn't sting as much as I thought it would.

The team played tough, gritty basketball without him yesterday. I didn't miss Landesberg at all. And the team played better without him.

For next season, the prospect of trying to replace his scoring is a little bit scary... but maybe this will open up the team game a little bit, without that one player to constantly defer to on offense.

Who knows?

I do know one thing: There's no more mystery of where Billy Baron's scholarship will come from. But I don't think Landesberg is going to be the only attrition this program endures this offseason...

March 3, 2010

6th Recruit!



In case you missed it, Tony Bennett added a 6th member to his 2010 recruiting class yesterday. The newest Hoo is point guard Billy Baron, a three-star recruit from Worcester, Massachusetts who chose the Cavaliers over Rhode Island, Rutgers, Stanford, Harvard, Notre Dame, and Vanderbilt. Baron has been described as a scoring-first point guard and as a "power guard" by Cavs Corner's Chris Wallace.


Baron's commitment is especially interesting for quite a few reasons:

1) For the 2010-2011 season, Baron is slated to be our 14th player on scholarship. The NCAA maximum is 13. So this means that not only is Coach Bennett bracing for some attrition this offseason, he's expecting it and planning on it. The logical guesses for sources of Baron's scholarship are via Tristan Spurlock transferring or Sylven Landesberg going pro (either to the NBA or to Europe.) Assane Sene transferring and Mike Scott heading to Europe are also possibilities about which I've heard various rumblings.

2) Billy Baron's father, Jim Baron, is the head coach at Rhode Island. Billy committed early to his father and to URI, but never signed a letter on intent to play for the Rams. Because his father is a member of the URI faculty, Billy was not going to be a scholarship player at Rhode Island. Thus, he did not sign a national letter of intent as other recruits do... which left him open and able to explore his options, and to realize his dream of playing in a college basketball "power conference," like the ACC.

3) Billy's older brother Jimmy played for his dad at Rhode Island and was a star for the Rams. Jimmy scored 1,765 points during his college career, including an impressive 361 made three pointers on a 42% shooting clip. Billy is said to be on par with his older brother at this same stage of development.

4) He's a scorer, but Billy Baron is a point guard all the way. So he will join Jontel Evans and Sammy Zeglinski in the battle for minutes at the 1 next year. Given Evans' severe offensive limitations and Zeglinski's transition into more of a shooting guard / combo role, Baron could be in line for quite a lot of playing time as a true freshman.


All in all, I think this is a very interesting and exciting development. Coach Bennett continues to add Bennett-style players to the roster, and at this point has assembled an entire starting lineup with this 2010 recruiting class.

PG) Billy Baron
SG) K.T. Harrell
SF) Joe Harris
PF) Will Regan
C) James Johnson
6th Man) Akil Mitchell

I can't wait for the "Super Six" to hit Grounds this summer, and to see them suit up and play for the Hoos in November.

March 2, 2010

"One-on-One with Virginia’s Brian O’Connor"



Here's a fantastic Q&A interview with Coach O'Connor from Rivals and Yahoo! Sports' Kendall Rogers. Enjoy!

BANG IT HERE.

March 1, 2010

The Great Pizzacone Enterprise

Here is my friend's recount of his Pizzacone trip. Enjoy. -Kendall

Just the other day I was reading some blogs and discovered something… a new innovation in pizza technology. Now, by no means am I a food connoisseur or a pizza fanatic, but just an ordinary person who sometimes gets excited by simple things. Pizza cone is not just an ordinary thing though! How often does a revolution in pizza technology occur? The last major innovation could arguably be the creation of the stuffed crust pizza, back in ’95. After doing some research I realized that pizza cone has been around for a couple years now, but since its arrival in NYC, it will certainly now become a cultural phenomenon. I now present my recount of my Pizza Cone adventure.

February 25, 2010

5:30 p.m.
I leave Charlottesville, Virginia on the Starlight Express bus to NYC, seeking out K! Pizzacone. I am worried about the perilous roads ahead because of the category 5 blizzard that is hitting the Northeast and am certainly not comforted by the fact that my driver was in training and it was his first run. I had to ignore that though, I was on a mission.

8:52 p.m.
We reach the halfway point in our bus ride to NYC. Still no snow.

9:30 p.m.
We’re now in Pennsylvania and I can begin to see the blizzard ahead.

10:45 p.m.
We can no longer see the road and visibility is at a minimum. The snow is blanketing everywhere and the wind is rocking the bus pretty hard. Several cars are stopping on the highway and we narrowly miss several. We press on.

12:32 a.m.
We arrive in NYC. I head to my shack of a hotel room to spend the night with my friend Andrew in order to rest for the next day’s adventure.

February 25, 2010

11:32 a.m.
It’s really nice to sleep in. We wake up and go drop our things off at the bus so that we can make the trek over to K! Pizzacone. The streets are pretty bad and only some of the roads have been plowed. We feel like a cab ride would not be very safe given the conditions, so we decide to rough it out and walk the 30 blocks to the Pizzacone haven on 5th Ave.

12:47 p.m.
We arrive. Here is a shot my friend Andrew took of the front door.



This other shot is of the logo “K!”



12:48 p.m.
Well… now going at lunchtime didn’t seem like a good idea. Oh well. I didn’t come 6 hours to NYC to be phased by a crowd



1:18 p.m.
We finally get to the front of the line and are able to order. My mouth is literally watering at this point. For me it seemed like a pretty good deal. All the toppings/stuffings I want for just a dollar more than the price for just cheese.



I wonder how far they deliver…



The packaging method for people that are getting a pizzacone to go is actually pretty impressive. Here is a shot of the outside of some boxes…



…And here are the insides. I’m not really sure what these people ordered or if they were shooting me weird looks for taking pictures of their food, but I think the first one is veggie, the second is some sort of breakfast mix, and the third is a plain one.



After 18 hours I still hadn’t decided what I was going to order. So many choices! I finally decided on peppers, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, and grilled chicken.



Here is a photo of the chef making my cuisine. They take all of the ingredients, minus the sauce, and blend it all in a bowl. They actually have the pizza cones themselves shipped from a bakery in Connecticut. I guess the space they have is too small to make them themselves. They then ladle some sauce into a cone and then pack in the ingredients into the top of the cone. They sprinkle some more cheese on top of all of that to really fancy it up. After all that, they popped my delicious treat into the oven for about 5 minutes. Yum. At this point I got way to excited and completely forgot about taking pictures, so my apologies for that.

When I first discovered K! Pizzacone, many people doubted my adventure. They told me how it was stupid for me the travel such a long distance for something that could simply be achieved by just rolling up a piece of pizza. I was hoping that my first bite would prove them all wrong. My long, arduous trek to a city hundreds of miles away was about to climax in one single moment. My arms trembled with excitement as I lifted my pizza-ey chalice out of its K! Pizzacone box palace towards my mouth. I could feel it steaming in my hands. It was time to indulge.

It was definitely worth the trip.

Yow! First of all, the dough is not quite like that of a pizza. It is a little harder and more like the crust of a calzone… actually… that’s pretty close to what it is. It’s like a super thick, but not sweet, ice cream cone. I started just by nibbling around the top of the cone to try it out. The cone itself was actually pretty tasty. Crunchy, but not hard like day old pizza crust. I then took a giant bite out of the side of the cone and got a bit of everything. Flavor explosion. All of the ingredients combined perfectly and seemed really fresh. The sauce was actually some of the best pizza sauce I’ve had. That, plus the slight crunch of the cone just seemed like pizza perfection. It was delicious. One of the best things about eating a pizzacone was definitely how clean it was. I didn’t get any grease dripping onto my hands and I was easily able to eat it with one hand… like an ice cream cone. Definitely the most satisfying part of eating my pizzacone was the last bite. It reminded me of the final part of a drumstick, where you get cone, chocolate, and ice cream all at once. It was pretty similar to that with my pizzacone, but with a nice puddle of sauce at the bottom to wash my toppings down with.

Overall, the experience was fantastic. I got to have an awesome trip to NYC and try out an innovation in pizza technology. Some may say that this is merely a novelty, but I believe that this is a pretty awesome concept and I would love to see this spread. I mean, come on, it’s pizza in a cone! It really just makes me wonder, “Why didn’t I think of this first?”

Thanks to Andrew for accompanying me and thanks to Kendall for this blog and letting me take the day off of work to embark on this mission of pizza proportions.

-alex