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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

October 6th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball


Virginia Cavaliers


Overall Rank: #34

Conference Rank: #5 ACC


2005-06: 15-15, 7-9, 7th (t)

2005-06 postseason: NIT


Virginia lost five of their last six games and much of that can be attributed to the tired legs of the backcourt.  Sean Singletary and J.R. Reynolds each averaged over 33 minutes per game and appeared to have run out of gas by late February.  Even with issues of fatigue, Singletary and Reynolds supplied 34.7 points per game, over half of the team’s production. 


Who’s Out: The graduation of Billy Campbell and the transfer of T.J. Bannister raise more concerns about the depth of the backcourt.  Neither could really replace Singletary or Reynolds off the bench, but at least were experienced players.  Now the Cavaliers will have to depend on freshmen to fill most of the backcourt minutes off the bench.  Walk-ons Drew Shiembob, Mike Forkin and Matt Deasey will not be rejoining the squad this season.


Who’s In: The backcourt is where the Cavs need some depth.  Will Harris and Solomon Tat have the talent to immediately fill in some minutes on the wing.  Harris has the physical tools and the outside shooting ability to contribute the most of the freshmen.  Tat lacks the perimeter shot to be an ideal option spelling Reynolds or Singletary, but he is a great athlete and a strong rebounder.  Jamil Tucker could see some minutes at both forward spots.  The 6-9 Gary, Indiana product can step outside and hit the long ball, but is most effective using his large wing span driving the lane.  Up front Penn transfer Ryan Pettinella and incoming freshman Jerome Meyinnse will add depth.  Pettinella averaged 4.8 points and 3.0 rebounds for the Quakers two years ago and spent last year not playing basketball while attending Monroe Community College in New York.  Meyinnse has plenty of potential, but hasn’t been playing basketball very long and will need some time to develop his game.  Walk-on forward Andy Burns will also be joining the squad for the 2006-2007 campaign.


Who to Watch: While the flair is in the backcourt with one of the best point guards in the nation in Singletary and an underappreciated long range shooter in Reynolds, the frontcourt has to step up if second year coach Dave Leitao hopes to make the NCAAs.  Jason Cain, Laurynas Mikalauskas, Adrian Joseph and Tunji Soroye all have starting experience in the paint.  Cain led the squad with 7.6 rebounds and Mikalauskas added 4.5 boards and 6.2 points per game.  Joseph is a solid scorer from anywhere on the floor, but he is a liability on defense, which could cost him a starting job.  Soroye is a true center and the 6-11 Nigerian is a force on the defensive end. 


Final Projection: Mamadi Diane, a 6-5 wing, may end up starting at the small forward spot over Joseph and handle backup duties at the shooting guard spot until the newcomers are ready to contribute.  Diane, who started 11 games a year ago, isn’t a great long range shooter, but can put up some decent numbers in the scoring column.  The newcomers, specifically Tat and Harris will have to be productive players off the bench by the end of the year, otherwise it will be another difficult February and March for Virginia.


Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA


Projected Starting Five:

Sean Singletary, Junior, Guard, 17.7 points per game

J.R. Reynolds, Senior, Guard, 17.0 points per game

Mamadi Diane, Sophomore, Guard, 6.0 points per game

Laurynas Mikalauskas, Sophomore, Forward, 6.2 points per game

Jason Cain, Senior, Forward, 7.4 points per game 


35 Xavier » Complete List » 33 UCONN

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