Interview: Virginia Coach Dave Leitao

October 31st, 2007

The start of Dave Leitao's career at Virginia was similar to his previous stop at DePaul.  A first season that resulted in an NIT bid, followed by a 20+ win second season that resulted in a second round NCAA Tournament loss.  Virginia fans are hoping that this year's team can break out of the mold and surpass the return NIT trip the Blue Demons took in Leitao's third year.  With star guard Sean Singletary back, its certainly possible the Cavaliers could be dancing for a second straight season:


CHN) Based on what you saw last year, what’s the biggest improvement your team needs to be successful and get to the next level?

“We’ve got to continue to get better defensively. We’ve made defense a staple of our program and I thought we were pretty good at it, but I think there’s always room for improvement. I think particularly our younger guys need to get better that way.”
CHN) Are you settled with your starting lineup? Expect any particular battles for the open spots?
“No, we are not settled on a starting lineup. As a matter of fact, after Sean Singletary I would imagine that every position is open. There are a number of battles that are ongoing and will be ongoing to determine what will be our starting lineup.”
CHN) It might be hard to pick one, but who is the most talented player you’ve ever coached?
“You’re right, it’s hard to pick out one. I’ve answered that question before two ways. The most talented individual is probably Ray Allen. But for one season, the best season a guy’s ever had was Donyell Marshall his junior year. He had a phenomenal year.”
CHN) Talk about one or two guys who stand out as being underrated contributors to your team’s success.
“Tunji Soroye stands out because he’s quiet and he does a lot of things that help a team win that don’t go in the box score. Another guy who’s probably underrated is Adrian Joseph. He’s been stable for us and he’s made a lot of big baskets.”
CHN) What do you think will be the hardest game on this year’s schedule?
“I think they’ll all be pretty difficult. We’ve got 16 difficult ACC games to play plus the conference tournament, but I think all of the games are pretty difficult.”
CHN) Realistically, what should UVA fans and media expect from your team this year?
“Realistically, a team that gets better week by week. We’re not necessarily starting over again, but we’ve got some holes we’ve got to fill. From an expectation standpoint, we’re going to get better and we’ll work our tails off every night.”

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