Here's how the UVAMBB Power Rankings work:
At (semi-)regular intervals during basketball season, I will unveil the power rankings for all of the players on the basketball team. This is essentially a relative measure of how they've been playing in recent games, coupled with an in-order listing of each player's value to the team moving forward with the season. Also, don't forget to look to the right to see the frequently-updated Virginia's NCAA Tournament Résumé!
On with it...
#1 - Malcolm Brogdon (previous rank: #3)
I had a hard time getting away from the idea that Uncle Malcolm was not our best player, but simply our most opportunistic player. But the longer the season goes, the more clear it becomes that Brog's our best player, gross mouthguard chewing and all. (Patent pending: "The Brogdon Chomp.") It's his solid defense, strong rebounding (5.7 rpg), ability to hit free throws when nobody else on the team can, improving 3-point shot (now up to 39%), and never failing to notch a double-digit scoring effort in conference play (seriously, take a look, 14 games: 11, 14, 13, 17, 16, 16, 18, 16, 16, 17, 14, 14, 14, 12, average: 14.9 ppg). I'm waiting for a 25+ point explosion, and I bet it's coming at some point down the stretch this season. Brog's our best, most important player.
#2 - Joe Harris (previous rank: #1)
Quasi-slump aside, he's still a 43% shooter from deep. He does all of the little things you need from a star player, and he seems to be comfortable with this role this season. We know he's capable of an explosive scoring game when we need it the most, and I suspect he'll be the engine that drives us deep into March.
#3 - Akil Mitchell (previous rank: #2)
I'm bullish on Akil. We'd be sunk without his toughness, hustle, rebounding, defense, and grit. And the Hack-Akil strategy hasn't hurt us yet, as Tony has been good with his offense/defense subs in endgame situations. As an added bonus, Akil is scoring a bit more lately.
#4 - London Perrantes (previous rank: #5)
I don't care about the 31.5%, you just need to shoot more of your open looks, London! If we can find a #3 perimeter shooter for this team, we'll be... really tough to beat in March, let's just say that. The yin to the yang here is that teams have learned to dribble-drive right at young London Perrantes (officially "PAIR-on-tays"), so I think we'll see a bit more of Brog (and Justin Anderson) on opposing point guards. It creates weird matchup issues for us on defense. Still, London's steady, effective, mature-beyond-his-years play has been a key to this season's success, and we really need him to knock down whatever freshman wall might appear before him.
#5 - Anthony Gill (previous rank: #6)
We've noticed, Mr. Gill. We've noticed. As Mike Tobey struggles and Akil Mitchell settles into his complementary role, a new go-to low post scorer has emerged. THE JANITOR. Gill has scored in double figures in three of the last five games, and is settling in at over 20 minutes per game. Being able to bring this kind of firepower into the game from off the bench is a pretty big deal.
#6 - Justin Anderson (previous rank: #4)
I hate - HATE - having Justin ranked this low, especially after he bagged those two critical threes and the highlight reel dunk late against Tech. The thing is, Simba has become consistently inconsistent, just like many/most 6th men in the country. He's been settling for way too many threes (and shooting 13.6% from deep over the last month, including the two he made against VT -- it was 6.3% before that, 1-for-16, horrendous). I want to see more of those runaway freight train takes to the basket, and less jump shots. JA's hustle and defense are still bright spots on the team, but I can't in good conscience rank him any higher than 6th on this list right now.
#7 - Mike Tobey (previous rank: #7)
He's been a liability on defense, with teams killing us with the pick and roll against him. With his scoring (except against Clemson) and rebounding down, he's ceding minutes to Gill and now Darion Atkins, who is a much better defender. All of this being said, Tobes will still have a really good game or two down the stretch, and he's the kind of offensive player we might be able to saddle up and ride a little bit in the postseason.
#8 - Darion Atkins (previous rank: #9)
~13 minutes per game lately, with good rebounding, defense, a block or two, and some sweet hook shots. He's still an end-of-bencher, but he's earning playing time and being productive with it. I do think we'll begin to see Mike Tobey's 19 mpg and Darion's 13 mpg get closer to an even 16/16 split between the two.
#9 - Evan Nolte (previous rank: #8)
He's getting stuck to the bench, which is kind of sad to me, given our need for additional perimeter firepower. I hope Nolte realizes the opportunity to claim a big role on the UVA team next season and doesn't start to get wanderlust during the offseason...
#10 - Teven Jones (previous rank: #10)
DNPs in three of the last six games, and nothing more than a few minutes of action in any given game. I like the idea of Teven being the defensive-minded counterpart to London Perrantes, but that works better in theory than reality.
Notre Dame on Saturday, Miami next Wednesday, then the big one against Syracuse. Big three-game homestand for the Hoos. Let's bring it on home and put a ACC Championship banner in the rafters at the JPJ.