April 29, 2012

In case you missed it...

Writer's block...

I'm doing a terrible job running this blog right now...

I will snap out of it soon...

But until then, here are some things you should know:

-- Tony Bennett landed a transfer, Anthony Gill.  Gill will sit out the 2012-13 season, then have three seasons of eligibility beginning with the 2013-14 season.  He's a stretch 4 (think Mike Scott), that many of his former coaches are very high on.  Gill should prove to be an impact addition to the basketball program.  Great work by Bennett to fortify the roster with another talented frontcourt player.

-- Virginia Tech head men's basketball coach Seth Greenberg got shitcanned.  I understand why VT made this move - Goonberg seemed really hard to love, and didn't fit the profile of a proper southern gentleman to lead an ACC basketball program - but the timing was very strange.  The coaching carousel is already spun, so I wonder what kind of candidates Tech might be able to attract.

  • VCU's Shaka Smart has already turned down much better jobs, though with VCU athletic director Norwood Teague on the move, maybe Shart will cast the wandering eye to... Blacksburg?!?  Sorry, Shart is an urban-type coach, no way he's going to cow country.
  • No way Tech makes a strong move for Jeff Jones.  I think JJ is a great coach, but I seriously doubt VT is willing to bring in UVA's sloppy seconds.
  • Loyola's Jimmy Pastos is a quote machine, and has a decent track record.  Could be a nice fit.
  • Bobby Lutz deserves to head up his own program again.  I thought he did pretty darn well at UNC-Charlotte.
  • Jay Wright is a total pipe dream; typical delusional Hokie BS.  I almost feel embarrassed even taking the time to type his name into this space, in connection with the Virginia Tech coaching vacancy.
  • Clemson assistant James Johnson (who just left VT for Clemson), former Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart, Wichita State's Gregg Marshall, Richmond's Chris Mooney, Murray State's Steve Prohm, Duke assistant Jeff Capel, and NC State assistant Steve Robinson also seem to be on the list.  Marshall, Mooney, Prohm, and Capel would all be good options for the Hokies.

-- Along with Gill, the basketball program also added an intriguing walk-on in guard Justin Miller, from Missouri.  Miller was a mid-major prospect who was just starting to draw some attention from the high-majors before his devastating injury ended his prep basketball career.  Now he's back to game shape, and when Missou didn't want him, Tony Bennett snatched him up.  He's a sweet-shooting 6-foot-1 combo guard who has four years of eligibility remaining... and can start playing in 2012.  This might amount to nothing, or we could have just found a hidden gem.  Time will tell.

Photo from Columbia Day Tribune

-- And finally, the biggest news of the week.  A nugget so huge it really deserves its own series of posts, and not just tacked to the bottom of this one.  Those posts are coming soon, but in the meantime, here it is:  Phillip Sims is transferring from Alabama, and is imminently headed to UVA.  He has applied for a hardship waiver, and if it is granted, he could be eligible to play immediately, and he has three seasons of eligibility remaining -- 2012, 2013, and 2014.

If you don't know who Phillip Sims is, you obviously do not follow recruiting.  Anyway, a quick overview:

  • He's from Oscar Smith in Chesapeake
  • He was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school
  • He was the 67th-ranked recruit nationally
  • He was the 2nd-ranked quarterback nationally
  • He was the 2nd-ranked player in the state of Virginia in the 2010 recruiting class
  • He's not a dual-threat, he's a traditional pro-styl QB with the arm to make every throw... with incredible zip and accuracy
  • He's a bit of a legend in the 757
The guy is really freaking good, and though he lost the competition to start at Bama (to national championship-winner A.J. McCarron), he's a potential program-changing player.  He could be our Michael Vick.

More on all of this later - including the challenge Mike London will face in finessing the situation with a pretty good incumbent at quarterback in Mike Rocco and a pretty good heir apparent in Greyson Lambert - but first, just be excited about this news, which should be officially breaking any day now.

Photo from Virginian-Pilot

Photo from TideFans.com

Kevin Shepard for ESPN.com

The new face of Virginia Football?

That's it for now.  Stay tuned as I rekindle my fire and start really breaking down the implications of Sims-to-UVA.

April 26, 2012

Wahooze on the Trail: Commitment 5

As long suspected, Zack Jones, a 5-11 178 pound receiver and younger brother of team captain Perry Jones, has committed to the Cavaliers. Jones ended his commitment with what was long assumed to be the eventual destination, which could have been the reason the only other offer he received was from Illinois on April 10th. Jones has great hands and is very fast. He had 998 yards receiving last season with 17 touchdowns for Oscar Smith, one of the premier teams in the 757. I actually got to see Jones play in the Division 6 state championship game and he looks every bit the part of a good D1 receiver. Don't let his lack of offers fool you, Jones is merely a victim of an assumed destination. His stock should soar as the high school season progresses and he has a chance to shine. Especially since Oscar Smith is going to be one of the best in the nation again this season, bolstered heavily by the addition of 2014 phenom Andrew Brown.

Snagging Jones is key. This is a trend that we like to see, especially since there are more than a few kids assumed to be headed to Virginia. The more that commit the more pressure it puts on other kids (looking at you, Smoke Mizzell) to end their recruitment before UVA's scholarships are all accounted for. It also helps build momentum in the recruiting class and could be a factor in swaying kids that are on the fence. The more kids we get, the more momentum it builds, and will lead directly to more success on the recruiting trail.

Jones projects as a strong slot receiver and a high yards-after-catch guy. Think Dominique Terrell. He will most likely get a redshirt, but should be ready to step right in when that void is opened. He will be a key part of this offense moving forward and will fill a pretty sizable need at that point. He also could see time returning punts and kicks as he does at Oscar Smith.  Basically, Zack is Terrell's heir apparent, as their on-field careers at UVA will only overlap by obe year -- Terrell's senior season and Jones' redshirt freshman season.

All around, this is a great "get" for the program and will help on and off the field. Welcome aboard Zack!

April 18, 2012

Wahooze on the Trail: Big Time Commitment Number 4


Virginia continued to pick up steam with the commitment of Tim Harris, a 6-2 173 pound safety from Varina in Richmond, VA, following the spring game on Saturday. This is a HUGE get for this program. Harris is a 4-star safety prospect and, though widely thought to be a heavy UVA lean, was stringing out his recruitment and trying the nerves of Wahoo recruitnicks like the Wahooze staff. Harris is a huge piece to this class, and one that could very well start to make some other players fall in line. Sound familiar? This almost the exact same thing that happened with Kwontie Moore last season. Not only is Harris going to be huge on the field, but his commitment seems to be a push that this class needs. Look at these tweets Harris had shortly after committing:

 That last one is about Shane Beamer, not really pertinent to the article, but it made me happy. To be clear that is Harris actively recruiting two Virginia studs in Bucky Hodges and Smoke Mizzell. While Hodges is a longshot at this point it is clear that Harris, as well as the rest of the stars in this state, are good friends, and that they all appear to be wanting to play together. Coach London's preaching of family seems to be playing out beautifully. The players that come on board are actively recruiting their friends to also come into the UVA family which is building a huge amount of momentum for us. Getting a player as talented and well respected as Harris is a huge step for the program.

But let's get onto the field. Harris is a long safety, which is a huge position of need for the Hoos. At 173 he is a little light for a strong safety, but I think Coach Marcus will have something to say about that once he gets Harris in the weight room. Obviously safety is a huge position of need on this team, and Harris is the kind of player that can lock that position down. He is excellent in coverage and always draws rave reviews on the camp circuit. Ranked as the number 11 safety in the country and the number 113 player overall Harris has all the makings of a true ballhawk in the secondary. He also has the hitting ability to play in the box in run support.

I cannot overstate how huge a get this is for this class. It was long thought that players like Harris, Smoke Mizzell, and Zack Jones, all considered heavy UVA leans, were going to take their time and that they could possibly be waiting for the other ones to commit. Well now that the first one has, perhaps we could see the floodgates open. Regardless this is great news for the Hoos. Welcome Tim!

April 17, 2012

Spring Game Notes!

-- 2010 Spring Game Notes
-- 2011 Spring Game Notes

In what has become a yearly Wahooze tradition (thanks to my wonderful wife giving me the freedom to drop daddy duties and attend the festivities whole hog, with moleskine in hand -- THANKS HUN!), here are my glorious notes from this year's UVA Spring Game!

But first and foremost...  Watch the highlights for yourself!

-- Lots of tailgating for the Spring Game this year!  It helped that it was a gorgeous day, with a baseball game against UNC set to start at 4:00.  On my way in, I passed about 50 people decked out in orange and blue walking down Alderman toward the Stadium.  I parked in the almost-full Cemetary lot, at the corner of McCormick and Alderman.  There was a group of four dudes tailgating there, and I chugged a Yuengling with them.  (They liked my Orange Crush tee-shirt and offered me a beer, which I accepted.)  Good start to the afternoon.

-- Walking toward Scott, I had to marvel at the pure, unbridled awesomeness of our home stadium.  I do it every year on my way into the Spring Game --- take the time to appreciate a truly beautiful venue.  We're really lucky in that sense.

-- Met up with Pierce and Mike and a couple of our buddies in the Stadium.  We kind of worked together as a group to compile this list of specific player notes.

-- Up first was a quick workout session with some position drills.  This is where I take the time to note which players look bigger / faster / more focused / more leaderly / etc.

-- OT Kelby Johnson's sheer size really impressed me.  The kid is freaking HUGE, and can still move with some fluidity.  Very impressive-looking athlete.

-- In drills, walk-on cornerback Brendan Morgan looked like a player.  Not sure if he'll factor in on the base defense, but he looks like an athlete capable of pitching in if we need him.

-- One player I really like the look of every time I see him is DT Chris Brathwaite.  He hasn't been able to fend off the injury bug to this point in his career, and his matching knee braces weren't especially reassuring.  That said, he was a force all day, and really looked the part.  I hope he's able to stay healthy...

Credit: Jeff Lack/Icon SMI
-- RB Kevin Parks has some incredibly thick legs.  Like two stacks of 25-pound weights.  And with such a low center of gravity, no wonder he's a force around the goal line.

-- True freshman (January enrollee) QB Greyson Lambert is tall and throws the ball like his arm is Indiana Jones' whip.  He really, really looks good.  I'd like to see him add about 15 pounds to that frame and develop a bit more timing and accuracy with his passes, but there's no doubt that he's got a cannon and looks the part of a franchise-type quarterback.

-- In the passing drills, QBs Mike Rocco and David Watford looked like they were really having to wind up and labor to match Lambert throw-for-throw.  The good news is that Rock's passes - though requiring more effort - were much more accurate and precise than either Watford's or Lambert's.  I don't think Rocco is in any danger of losing his job as our starting quarterback.

-- LB LaRoy Reynolds looks much bigger/stronger than he has at any point since he shifted from safety to linebacker two years ago.  I'm expecting big things out of him during his senior season, possibly including some blitzing, which I think he will really excel at doing.

Credit: Mark Gormus/Times-Dispatch
-- THE ULTIMATE WEAPON:  If you take anything out of this Wahooze blog post, take this --- tight end Jake McGee is going to be a stud.  In fact, he might already be a stud.  His frame (6-5, 235) is a little small to be an in-line blocker from the tight end position, but he is quick, fluid, runs precise routes, and has great hands.  He flashed playmaking potential all day long, turning in two really big plays in the scrimmage and creating matchup problems for the defense on just about every play he was in the game.  To me, he looked like a young Kyle Brady on Saturday, with Heath Miller-type receiving prowess.  Yes, high praise.  But if the H-back is arriving in the Lazor offense, we have found our man.  If not, Colter Phillips, Paul Freedman, and Jeremiah Mathis all face serious competition for their playing time at tight end.  I think McGee is going to turn in a very surprising 2012 season, and establish himself as the ultimate weapon for the UVA passing game.

-- Back to Mike Rocco for a second.  All day, I thought he looked very poised and controlled, and weirdly smooth with his delivery.  I'm excited about our QB1.

-- QB-turned-WR Miles Gooch got a lot of work in the scrimmage.  He's a bigger receiver at 6-3, 220.  And while he's not especially fast, he did work hard to gain good separation.  He also seemed fairly sure-handed.  It's still a work in progress, but I can see the Goocher serving a possession receiver role for us this season, lining up at flanker.  He'll face a challenge from true freshman Canaan Severin this summer, but for the first time since he moved to wideout, I can see the light flickering on for Gooch.  Plus, it's just fun to yell "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOCH!"

-- RB Clifton Richardson can catch the ball now!  I saw it with my own two eyes!  The reports were that he had diversified his game, become more dynamic, and become more of a "complete" tailback.  Proof is in the pudding, and the pudding tasted sweet and delicious on Saturday.

-- Meanwhile, our #4 running back, Khalek Shepherd, had an AWESOME Spring Game.  He's explosive and dynamic, great in the passing game, and I am absolutely stunned that we have three better RBs on the roster ahead of him in the pecking order.  Shepherd reminds me of a bigger Alvin Pearman.  We have to find ways to get him on the field!

-- David Watford seems more willing to take off and run once his progression breaks down, which is a welcome sight.  If the guy has running ability, it's important for him to use it spontaneously, not just with the slow-developing scripted plays we saw last season.  One of his scrambles in the Spring Game would have easily gone for a 25-yard touchdown were it not whistled dead due to contact on the QB.  I don't want to say I was impressed, but I was certainly encouraged by what I saw with Watford's decisions to take off and run.

-- Watford's passing, however... yikes.  It's more accurate than last season, but it's still Jamell Sewell-esque scattershooting.  He overthrew several screen passes and drags to the flat during the scrimmage.  Not good.  I do not have a world of confidence in our #2 QB at this point.  He has to get a bit better than "shaky" on the short stuff.

-- The coaches have been raving about backup linebacker Caleb Taylor all spring, and we saw glimpses why during the scrimmage.  He was generally active and assertive, and brought excellent pass rush pressure up the middle on one play.  It's a logjam at middle linebacker with Steve Greer and Henry Coley there with super-recruit Kwontie Moore arriving this summer, but I think Taylor looks like he might just factor into the mix.

-- As high as I am on Jake McGee, I also really like FB/TE/H-back Zachary Swanson.  A high-slung 6-6, 235, this guy is not a lead blocker.  But he moves well, he's long, and he has a huge catch radius.  I think he'll be a nice weapon in the receiving game, rolling out of the backfield.  Say hello to another true H-back candidate with whom Lazor can diversify the offense into more and more of a "mini-spread."

Credit: Andrew Shurtleff
-- Well, I just let the cat out of the bag with the term mini-spread.  It's pretty clear to me that a thematic shift of the offense is to put more weapons in space, in the short-to-intermediate route tree to which Rocco excels at passing.  Part of that equation is our mostly small, smurf-like receiving corps.  You already know about Tim Smith (who looked good in the scrimmage), Darius Jennings (who also looked good), but don't forget about the Rock Weir award winner [for most improved player] on the offensive side of the ball --- slot receiver Dominique Terrell.  He looked awesome on Saturday.  Watch the video highlights I linked above and see for yourself.  I'm very excited to see this guy in action this fall.  Last year, he seemed a little timid, in a little bit over his head.  This spring he looks ready to make good on his impressive pedigree.  Getcha popcorn ready!  We have a game-changing talent in the slot now, folks.

-- I'm excited about Terrell in the slot, but not returning punts.  In fact, I'm not excited about any aspect of the punt return game, or the special teams in general.  I won't belabor the point here, but special teams do not seem to be improved at all from the travesty we saw in 2011, and especially against Auburn in Atlanta.

-- CB Drequan Hoskey now has a stranglehold on the starting cornerback spot opposite Tra Nicholson.  I knew the kid had speed, but he really surprised me with his coverage ability, and especially with his physicality.  In the Spring Game, he reminded me of a young Percy Ellsworth.  To me, this spot went from being a question mark to being an exclamation point.

-- DT Will Hill is ready to dominate as a senior, a team captain, and a Rock Weir recipient.  He apparently had a great spring, and I think he's poised to have a GREAT senior season in 2012.

-- FB Billy Skrobacz' last name rhymes with "throwbacks," and as corny as it sounds, that's exactly what he is, an old-school style fullback.  He's our bulldozing lead blocker from that position, and he's also capable of catching a pass if the need arises.  I like the look of this guy.

-- DE Rob Burns is coming off of his redshirt season and will be a redshirt freshman this fall.  I won't spend too much time talking about the kid, other than to say that it looks like we were successfully able to harness the DNA and clone Matt Conrath.

-- I wish I had been able to spend a little bit more time focusing on the trench warfare during the scrimmage, but I can say that I really liked what I saw from DT Vincent Croce.  He was active, mean, and nasty during the Spring Game, and I love that in my interior linemen.

-- Despite some good recent reviews on Rijo Walker and Ant Harris, I think we're facing a whole lot of uncertainty at the safety positions.  FS Pablo Alvarez might be a factor in the two-deep, for better or worse.  Better, because the guy is freaking big, he can move and hit, and he's good in run support.  Worse, because he seems very robotic, and clearly lacks the instincts to play naturally in coverage.  He honestly looked like a small linebacker to me, ala LoVanté Battle and LaRoy Reynolds before they switched positions.  Listed at 6-3, 205, Alvarez is too small to move forward into the front seven, but he honestly seemed bigger than that listing to me.  Maybe he'll be an enforcer-type safety who plays closer to the line?  Not sure he has a natural role in the base defense.

-- Meanwhile, young safety Mason Thomas looked good in coverage.  I wouldn't mind seeing him on the field this fall in the base 43.  He doesn't ooze star potential or anything like that, but seems like he might be a solid player.

Credit: Diane Cebula, Daily Press
-- I really like the move that sent LoVanté Battle to fullback.  He's weirdly small for that position, but is tenacious and clearly brings a defensive-type mentality to the field.  In other words, he enjoys contact.  He made a couple of surprisingly nice catches in traffic during the scrimmage, displaying pretty good hands.  He'll be an interesting "power squirtback" type of player for us this fall.

-- Later in the game, Lambert threw a 20-yard tactical laserstrike to Gooch that drew many oooohs and aahhhs from the fans in attendance.  Lambert is going to be a really good quarterback for us... someday.

-- Darius Lee has been moonlighting with the safeties this spring.  I think he had a bad day on Saturday.  Burned crispy more than a few times in coverage, he also committed a PI and had another couple of bumps that could have been PI calls.  He's clearly too small (6-1, 200) to play his natural linebacker position, but he's not a safety.  This kid might be more of a tweener than LoVanté Battle... I just hope he finds a role as a special teams maven.

-- You already know I'm a huge Kevin Parks fan.  Adding to his brilliant mix of power, tenacity, and moxie, KP flashed some great receiving ability in the scrimmage, along with some great wiggle and some nasty moves in the open field.  VERY excited about this guy in 2012... and beyond.

-- I think Da-Da Romero has the strongside linebacker spot on lock, and he showed some nice mettle in the Spring Game.  What I especially liked was his chippiness and swagger.  His 'tude.  We sorely needed a dose of 'motherfucker' added to the defense, and I think Romero brings some of that.

-- Punter Alec Vozenilek looked decent on Saturday.  He doesn't kick boomers, but he gets his kicks off quickly and has pretty good placement.

-- Tra Nicholson returned some punts!  I'm not sure if I can stomach the risk of our only experienced corner doing that job, but he looked pretty good shagging those punts.  Certainly an upgrade over the monkey-fucking-a-football routine of 2011.

-- Adding to the great day for the tight end-types, Paul Freedman made a stretching grab in full extension at one point late in the scrimmage.  I buy that the tight ends will be more involved with the offense this season, and I think we will be using those big bodies to attack the seams downfield.  Be excited.

-- Unfortunately, I have to temper some of that excitement by saying that I thought Jeremiah Mathis looked like he regressed a bit from last season.  Maybe he's nursing a nagging injury or something, but on Saturday he looked slower... maybe even downright sluggish.

-- The offensive line was missing four of the five projected starters, and had a predictably shaky, uneven day on the field.  However, I thought Cody Wallace acquitted himself fairly well.  He laid some very good interior blocks, and seems to have a nose for the timely seal-off.

-- Joining Will Hill as team captains for the 2012 season are Oday Aboushi, Perry Jones, and LaRoy Reynolds.  The only surprise to me is that Mike Rocco wasn't handed one of the Cs.  It makes sense that a quartet of seniors who had to earn their playing time the old fashioned way will serve as team captains this season.  I think it's a good group.

-- The Iron Cav award for superior work in the weight room went to... Tim Smith?!?!??!!  Huh?  Don't get me wrong, I love it.  I just think it's a little weird that a sleek wide receiver won this award.  I take it to mean that he's been very serious in his work to fully return from his injuries, and also indicative of his commitment to becoming the new #1 go-to receiver to replace Kris Burd.  I like it.

-- In general, I think the team looks light years ahead of where it was in each of the last five springs that I've attended the Spring Game.  Speed, depth, playmaking ability, explosiveness, athleticism, the whole nine.  Saturday has served to really pump up my enthusiasm for the 2012 season.


April 13, 2012

Wahooze on the Trail: Third Commitment

The Wahoos picked up their 3rd commit for the Class of 2013 when Good Counsel wide receiver Andre Levrone jumped on board after his visit on Wednesday. Levrone said on his twitter page, "I'm orange and blue through and through..hell yea that means I'm a Hoo..Go Cavs!!!!! #UVA" Levrone is a 6-2 193 pound wide out, and the second prospect from Good Counsel to come on board. Not much is known about Levrone in terms of game film as he has had to sit behind some extremely talent receivers at Good Counsel, however that is no need for concern. Even without game film he is still ranked as a three star prospect which is no small feat. That attests to the raw skill and intangibles that Levrone has demonstrated on the camp circuit. It will be interesting to see how Levrone rises on the recruiting boards as he has more of a chance to showcase his skills.

Levrone's commitment also makes Wahoo fans wonder how many kids we could theoretically pull out of Good Counsel, a school absolutely loaded with BCS level talent. Players like CJ Jones, Kirk Garner, and Marcel Ngachie are the next group primed to commit and rumor has it the Hoos are in a good spot. Getting players from a top notch program like Good Counsel is imperative as it bring a culture of winning and the expectation to compete to your program as well. These kids are playing top level football already and bring the right attitude and commitment to the program that we will need to be successful. Levrone is a perfect example of that as he has had to sit and work and wait his turn to be a star at Good Counsel. If that attitude can be brought to UVA there is no telling how high this program can rise. Levrone is a huge get and a potentially great player. At 6-2 193 he projects as a solid big receiver who could be a match up nightmare in the red zone, especially if paired with Canaan Severin.

Congrats and welcome aboard Andre!

April 11, 2012

All-Kendall HATE Teams for the ACC

After 'The All-Kendall Teams' post from a couple of weeks ago, Nathan asked:

Follow up idea: All-Kendall Hate teams from the other ACC schools. (Please say there is a spot for Kris Lang on UNC's.)

Nathan, your wish is my command.  (But sorry, Kris Lang - though hated! - didn't make the cut.)

They say hatred is baggage... and I'll packed for a lengthy vacation!  With no further ado, here are the All-Kendall HATE Teams for the entire ACC...

Bill Curley: Colossal Flopping Shitbag
Boston College
PG) Tyrese Rice -- I only hated him because we could never stop him, and because he was at BC for... forever.
SG) Troy Bell -- Maybe I'm wrong, but he just seemed like a punk.  Nope, not wrong.
SF) Jared Dudley -- I always hated that smug look he had on his face.
PF) Craig Smith -- His nickname was "Rhino" for Christ's sake.  Another one of those standard-issue beefy below-the-rim big men that I only like if they're in orange and blue.
C) Bill Curley -- He was the first [non-Dook] big man I had ever seen flopping all over the floor and laying there like he was hurt in order to draw foul calls and catch a breather, soccer style.  He always left a bunch of sweat puddled up, and the poor kids with the mops would have to work their asses off to keep the floor dry.  Curley was a good player, he just seemed like a colossal flopping shitbag.

PG) Edward Scott -- He played on some really bad Clemson teams in the early 2000s, but was one of those pest-like point guards that I typically hate.  Wojo-esque, if you will.  AND YOU WILL!
SG) Greg Buckner -- The thuggish Rick Barnes Clemson teams that got ranked way up in the top-10 during the late '90s annoyed the crap out of me, and Buckner was their star player.
SF) K.C. Rivers -- Hit a lot of big shots against UVA.
PF) Trevor Booker -- Was always more than we could handle in the low post.  Great player, and him being listed here is born more of jealousy than real hatred.
C) Sharone Wright -- He was your standard-issue Bluto-style idiot center.  Dumb as a damn rock.  Fouled the crap out of people on the reg, and hurt Harold Deane.  His cup of coffee in the NBA was more irritating than anything else.

(Pic from "The Rafters")
He tried to look HARD in the NBA.  Failed.
PG) Steve Wojciechowski -- Quite possibly my most hated basketball player of all time.  Quite possibly.
SG) J.J. Redick -- One word: bacne.
SF) Shane Battier -- Ugh.  The gold standard for all that's hateable in Duke players.  The try-hard reputation.  The flops.  The over-emoting.  The alien lifeform growing on his scalp.
PF) Christian Laettner -- Obvious, right?  Too obvious?
C) Cherokee Parks -- Ha ha ha, oh man.  How could he not be on this list?

Florida State
PG) Charlie Ward -- But more because of football than basketball.
SG) Sam Cassell -- Just because of his face.
SF) Bob Sura -- Just because of his face.
PF) Al Thornton -- He was good.  Good Lord, he was good.  Just like with Trevor Booker, this one is more jealousy than hatred.  I really, really, really loved his game... and I hated him for it.
C) Bernard James -- Because of the kick.  Also - and I don't want to sound cynical, but - I really have to wonder if he would have sent that letter of apology if FSU had lost that game to us.  I kinda have my doubts, and I don't mind verbalizing those doubts.  Also, I honestly don't give a shit that he was in the Chair Force.

(Pic from "Yard Barker")
Take a tumble, Carrot Top.
Georgia Tech
PG) Stephon Marbury -- He only played one year at GT.  One year was enough.
SG) Drew Berry -- I was a fan of Jon Berry, but Drew just seemed like the whiny little brother.
SF) Matt Harpring -- Great student, great player, hard worker, good in the community, local product... he really was the perfect college basketball player... and I hated him for it.
PF) Derrick Favors -- So much hype.  Just a big giant bumbling clumsy forceful mountain of hype.  Favors didn't live up to any of it, and he made the ACC look bad in the process.
C) Luke Schenscher -- He was like a deranged Australian Ronald McDonald doped up on a cocktail of steroids and bovine growth hormone.

PG) Greivis Vasquez -- Can you envision him playing anywhere other than Maryland?  You might be surprised that Steve Blake isn't the pick here, but I honestly hated Vasquez more.
SG) Steve Francis -- The living embodiment of all that is wrong with modern-era basketball.
SF) D.J. Strawberry -- Sorry media, but no matter how high D.J. climbed up the ladder of mediocrity, he could not atone for the sins of his father.
PF) Nik Caner-Medley -- Ha ha ha.  Trying to explain this one is like trying to explain what makes a douche a douche.  It just... is.
C) Joe Smith -- When I first became a real die-hard UVA basketball fan, Joe Smith was dominating the ACC.  "GO PRO, JOE" signs were everywhere in U-Hall when we played Maryland that year.  Screw this guy.

Sorry, but I don't really hate any Miami players.  This basketball team sticks out like a sore thumb in the ACC, and Miami Basketball is so irrelevant and inconsequential that I haven't really had a chance to develop any deep-seated hatred here.  So screw the U as a program, no need for specifics.

I also hate the little wolfhand thing.  Lame Texas rip-off.
NC State
PG) Archie Miller -- I have grown to loathe the Miller family, though I do nod to the coaching prowess of Sean Miller at Xavier and now Arizona.  Archie was just a pesky little rodent of a player.  And the only person allowed to be named Archie is Archie Bunker.
SG) Scott Wood -- The worst-shooting "best shooter ever" I've ever seen.  Way too much hype over his middling, inconsistent stroke from outside.  Plus, he looks like a doofus.
SF) Julius Hodge -- He played at State for about eight years, seemed like.
PF) Ilian Evtimov -- Not the kid from the raft from Cuba but the guy who popped so many Hoo-crushing treys.
C) Todd Fuller -- He was pretty good, but all State had during their terrible run in the early '90s.  NCSU beat UVA a couple of times during that stretch, and Fuller was the architect.

So dreamy...
North Carolina
PG) Kendall Marshall -- The guy can't shoot.  Not sure how he garners so many accolades when he plays such shoddy defense and just simply cannot shoot.  It's all UNC hype, that's all it is.  I eagerly await his colossal NBA flop, just like Joe Forte before him.
SG) Dante Calabria -- Sorry, but I'm hard-wired to despise heart-throbs.
SF) Rashad McCants -- Just way too cocky.
PF) Ademola Okulaja -- Hit a last-second three from the corner to beat us during one of Pete Gillen's first seasons.  I never forgot that moment.  That said, Okulaja gets Wahooze brownie points for breaking a Duke student's jaw exiting the court at Cameron.
C) Tyler Hansbrough -- Psycho T.  C'mon, you guys remember this douche.  Please don't make me explain my hatred, because I'd rather not think about him any longer than I have to.

(Streeter Lecka, Getty Images)
I do like seeing him feed nuts to Greg Paulus, though.
Virginia Tech
PG) Malcolm Delaney -- Flopped so much, it looked like he thought he was playing for Duke.  I'm sure it confused all of the Duke Hokie fans that watched him play in Cassell Crapiseum.
SG) A.D. Vassallo -- I don't hate him for stealing a 12-pack of Dr. Pepper, but I can't resist the temptation to bring it up in this space.
SF) Deron Washington -- Part man, part grasshopper.  All punk.
PF) Ace Custis -- Before him, you could never get a single Duke UNC Hokie fan to even admit that they had a basketball program.  Ace put them on the map for a hot second.  Besides, what kind of assbag has the first name "Ace?"
C) Jeff Allen -- I will give him this: At least he eventually stopped even trying to overcome his reputation as a total scumbag and just embraced it.

Meh, he's no Sean.
Wake Forest
PG) Chris Paul -- Sean Singletary plays second fiddle to no man!
SG) Jeff Teague -- Talking heads everywhere wanted to heap praise upon this kid, and I just never really saw it.  His overhypedness let to his demise.
SF) Josh Howard -- See also: Al Thornton, Florida State.
PF) Darius Songaila -- I've already overused the term "douche" in this piece, but this guy was the KING DOUCHE.
C) Tim Duncan -- I hated him in the same way and for the same reasons that people hate Peyton Manning.

That felt good.

April 5, 2012

Links! Links! Links!

Sorry for my lack of posting lately.  I've been busy working on a side project.  Also, I have a few interesting [yet unfinished] Wahooze posts taking shape:

  • The All-Kendall ACC Hate Teams
  • A guide to the teams I want to see us play in both football and baksetball
  • "The Rainbow Perspective" (get excited about this one)
  • How long did it take Florida State to "arrive?"
  • What the baseball team needs to do to go back to the NCAA tournament

To tide you over while those things continue to incubate, here is some very good stuff I've found in my adventures around the interwebs.  Get your popcorn popped and your click finger ready!

From Old Virginia's Recruiting Board Update
I love this blog, and he does an excellent job of organizing the football recruiting overview into one easy-to-understand visual.  I obviously prefer Mike's Wish List format, but this is also very good.

SI.com's Look at the BCS Reform Proposals
I love Andy Staples, and this is a very good look at the seven concepts on the table for BCS reform.  Consider this required reading for college football fans.

Hot Seat Status of the 12 ACC Football Coaches
From Scout.com.  Mike London is still in great shape... but many of the other conference coaches are not so lucky.

Ranking the ACC Coaching Jobs
To go along with the link above, this is a comprehensive look at how attractive the ACC coaching jobs really are.  Not sure I agree with everything they say in this piece, but it's still pretty compelling.  (The Crystal Ball Run is an entertaining blog, also.  Worthy of your regular clickeration.)

Whitey 365: Brother Tandem?
The Daily Progress' Whitelaw Reid very succinctly breaks down and summarizes UVA's hunt for basketball transfers.  Take two minutes, click the above link, and get yourself caught up on the action.

The Building of a Program, Spring Mini-Series - Episode I
Click, watch, enjoy.  It's like hardcore porn for any UVA football fan.

That's it for now.  I hope to have some stuff for you soon... once proper inspiration hits.  Until then, enjoy these links and:


April 2, 2012

2012 Basketball Recruiting Takes an Odd Twist

Transfers you say?
Photo: http://statsheet.com/images/articles/
At this point in the season most Basketball teams have their incoming fall classes signed and nailed down for the most part. With the exception of uncovering a diamond in the rough, finding a JUCO kid to bring in on a transfer, or going overseas to find a super raw but full of potential European or African star, not many big time players are still out there. So why is our coaching staff so busy on the recruiting trail right now, even after signing four kids for this class? Because this year really isn't like the others.

This year is big time for UVA in terms of transfer players. We have a TON of scholarships available thanks to the desertion of James Johnson and KT Harrell, and this crop of transfers has two guys in particular that we are putting on our transfer wish list. And the best part is both players have ties and are very attainable for this staff to get. Let's take a look.


Photo: http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/slides/
T.J. McConnell
Point Guard
6-1 185 pounds
Oakdale, PA
Transferring from: Duquense

The Hoos jumped out to a good start with McConnell and seem like a very likely destination. A solid distributer, shooter, and above average defender, McConnell appears to be a perfect fit for the Tony Bennett style. McConnell will have to sit out a season due to transfer rules but will be a redshirt junior entering the 2013-2014 season, our first without Jontel Evans at point. Picking up a commitment from McConnell would most likely effectively end our pursuit of a point guard in the class of 2013 which would allow Coach Bennett to foucs more of his energy on bringing in other key pieces, such as dead-eye shooter Matt Thomas from Wisconsin.

Everyone views Jontel Evans as a great on-ball defender, and rightfully so, the kid is a machine. But watching tape on McConnell reveals a player with the same level of intensity but with perhaps an even greater nose for the ball. Evans averaged 0.2 blocks and 1.6 steals and was the energy guy for the defense last season. By comparison McConnell average 0.3 blocks and 2.8 steals last season. I would call that a slight upgrade. McConnell couples his strong defense with a nice scoring ability, averaging 11.4 points per game shooting 50% from the floor, 83.6% from the line, and a very very solid 43.2% from beyond the arc. Sorry Jontel, but you just can't match that. McConnell would be a very very good player and would help bring this team closer to where it needs to be.

As of now the only other visit McConnell has scheduled is to Arizona where former Xavier coach Sean Miller looms as a major threat. Miller has strong ties to the Pittsburgh area where McConnell is from. However the Hoos are in a great position. It was paramount for us to get the first visit because of the 'wow' factor you can get from just being in Charlottesville and seeing JPJ Arena. That being said, Arizona is no slouch of a school either. Getting McConnell here first at least allows us to put in our two cents in case he chooses to committ to Arizona right away. If I had to guess I would say we are in a good spot here. But it is far from over.


Photo: http://media.thestate.com/smedia/
Anthony Gill
Power Forward
6-8 211 pounds 
Charlotte, NC
Transferring from: South Carolina

The Hoos are also in a good spot to land Anthony Gill, this for a completely different reason, though. Gill chose South Carolina over UVA and Wake Forest while he was being recruited in high school. And while he was in high school he just so happened to play with current UVA power forward Akil Mitchell. Gill has the potential to develop into a monster. He was ranked number 144 coming out of high school. If he can bulk up a little he is speculated to be our Mike Scott 2.0. Examining their games Gill does look a lot like an early Mike Scott, before he started to fashion his game to appeal to NBA scouts. Will Gill turn into a pure back to the basket scorer? No probably not, but he will definitely bring a low post presenence that this team is drastically searching for.

Getting Gill on board will most likely have other ramifications throughout the recruiting classes. While UVA will most likely still go after a big man in 2013 this signing would probably force the hand of Brandan Stith a little and make his decision to defer to 2014 that much easier. One person who would most likely be thrilled about that is Fishburne Coach Ed Huckaby, who most likely will be getting Stith for his prep year, considering the job he did with Teven Jones and the admiration he has for Coach Bennett.

There is one problem with Gill, and that is reports that our good friends the Tarheels are also interested. While this makes sense and could be a dream for the Charlotte native, if you step back and look at it I'm not sure why he would choose to go to the Heels, and quite frankly why they would take on a transfer player. The Heels could easily get their pick of big men in the class of 2013, and the #1 center in the class of 2012 - Nerlens Noel - is still available. If UNC needs a player they don't have to look as hard as we do, making their depth chart that much more crowded. If Gill were smart he would see a scenario with much more stability and playing time potential at UVA and hopefully chooses to come here. Hopefully Akil can get in his ear because he would fill a huge hole for us.

One thing is certain with these two targets, and that is that the coaching staff will move on them very fast. If we can somehow manage to land both of these guys, it would be huge for this program and hopefully help get us to the next level.

Go get 'em Coach Bennett!


The lax team has played a couple of critical games against top-tier opponents recently, splitting the pair against teams from the worst state in the union. The Hoos lost a heartbreaker in OT (including an inexcusably-poor missed call from the referees in the final minute) to No. 2 Johns Hopkins last Saturday, but bounced back by trouncing No. 9 Maryland a week later. Here are my notes on how the team is doing:

-Steele Stanwick: Lacrosse :: Mike Scott: Basketball
-Actually, Steele is Mike Scott with less hyperbole and more most-dominate-player-in-the-sport-by-far
-Seriously, just watch this:

-Rob Forunato had a GREAT game against Maryland and has really been playing well all year. I thought we had a pretty big question mark in goal coming into the year and Rob has proved me wrong.
-Another question marked turned strength? Faceoffs. 13-24 vs Hop. 13-23 vs the Terps. Can't argue with that.
-The Hoos can score in bunches from all over the field. Briggs, Bocklett, White, Emery, and Stanwick...if someone has an off game, you've still got 4 ELITE scorers to look to.
-Ryan Tucker (freshman) is going to be a star. I love his confidence in his shot. This isn't a guy who hesitates on open looks. Oh and he shoots it about 100 mph (no joke).
-LOVED seeing Matt White playing attack in the second half against Maryland. Critical adjustment by Dom.
-Lost in all the goal scoring fun is how entertaining Chris LaPierre is to watch.
-The only weakness I see in the team are the occasional sluggish plays on defense and sloppy passes every once in a while. Minimal occurrences, both, but definitely things to work on.
-Really though, this team should be looking at nothing short of another National Championship.
-Stanwick needs just 13 points to tie Doug Knight for the program record. It'll probably happen in the ACC tournament, but I truly believe he could do it against UNC if he really wanted to. The guy's unstoppable.

Next Game: @UNC April 7th.