Let me start off this post by saying that the Lion King is the best Disney movie ever made. Period. If you disagree with me I would love to know how you learned to read given your obvious learning disability.
Justin Anderson ended the 2012-2013 with a bang, stuffing the stat sheet with 24 points, 6 boards, 5 blocks, 3 steals and 2 assists. It was a monster night. It's the kind of game we've been seeing from him in the NIT. It's the kind of game that UVA has needed, given the recent struggles of Joe Harris, who it may come out in the next few days has been nursing an injury. But while Justin Anderson can stuff a stat sheet with the best of them in the ACC, his greatest strengths lie in a place that cannot be measured on the stat sheet. And those skills could help Justin Anderson become, brace yourselves everyone, one of the best players in the history of this program.
We've had the good fortune to be able to go to the last few NIT games, in which Justin has really shone. For all the big time blocks and huge dunks, it is what Justin does after those plays that impresses me the most, and gets me most excited for what this kid can become. Justin plays with such energy and enthusiasm, and that energy extends to the crowd, transforming JPJ from a great place to watch a game, to a terrifying place to come play. JA can pump up that place like no other, and it all stems from his greatest attribute. Beyond his incredible athleticism, his motor is unreal. JA goes 100 miles an hour from the time he hits the floor, to the time he heads back to the locker room. It is that desire, that fire, that drive to be the best, that will drive this kid to levels that we haven't seen in quite some time, and could easily make him the face of the Tony Bennett era.
Does his game have faults? Sure it does, but he's only a first year. He already has the body and athleticism of an NBA player, which means he can spend all summer working with Bennett and the coaching staff on developing his game. I've long said that JA is the key to Bennett's ultimate success as a coach here, because he is an all-world talent. I am anxious to see what this kid can do with a summer to learn under this coaching staff, which excels at player development. Need proof? I'll point you towards the Big Fundamental (Akil Mitchell). If Justin can add a penetration game, including a pull-up jumper, in addition to improving his 3 point shot, he will be a menace and unstoppable force on the court. Who is going to guard him exactly? You throw a shifty and quick 2 at him, JA can take him on the block. If you try a bigger 3/4 on him, JA has the athletic ability to blow right past him. I say this knowing exactly what I am saying, JA is a poor man's LeBron James.
I'll get some backlash for this, but I am 100% confident that if JA puts in the amount of work I think he will in the offseason he will be our best player next season. THAT is a big statement. This is not meant as a slight to Joe Harris, but rather the astronomical potential JA possesses. This kid has a chance to become the face of the program, and one of the greatest players in UVA history.