NCAA Basketball

New-look Virginia back to work after winning NCAA title

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

By HANK KURZ Jr.

AP Sports Writer

Tony Bennett's first offseason as a national champion coach has come with benefits on the recruiting trail. His first season at Virginia after winning the title, however, will bring challenges.

Five players who helped Virginia beat Texas Tech to capture the first basketball title in school history are gone, and that's four more than expected. Center Jack Salt graduated, and guards De'Andre Hunter, Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy declared for the NBA draft. Seldom-used Marco Anthony transferred.

Recruiting was already well underway before the Cavaliers won it all, but Bennett said Wednesday the result "certainly can't hurt and I think it has helped. It validates a lot of good stuff that's happened in the past."

Virginia hopes the spoils of those improvements are evident quickly in incoming freshmen guard Casey Morsell, big men Justin McKoy and Kadin Shedrick and junior college shooting guard Tomas Woldetensae.

Virginia opened its summer practice period on Tuesday, and Bennett said he's not sure just yet who will be ready to contribute.

"Everyone will have ample opportunity, the newcomers, so to speak," he said. "To say who, you just don't know. ... There are some opportunities out there. So it's the returners and we can go down the list of the guys we brought in, but I think they're excited about the opportunity.

"There's always a learning curve any time you go from whether it's high school to college or junior college to college or coming from a redshirt to being eligible. ... Going up a level and playing in the ACC, for any of these guys, there's the challenge of the physicality and the level of talent and the speed."

Woldetensae, a left-handed shooter, averaged 17.3 points per game and shot 47.6 percent from 3-point range last season at Indian Hills Community College.

"We thought we needed to add some experience and a quality player on the perimeter and when he was mentioned and we did our homework and watched film and all those kinds of things," he said. "His personality came out as a young man of character and we always start there. He seemed wanting to challenge himself at a very high level."

The Cavaliers were delighted that Mamadi Diakite decided to come back for his senior year after testing the professional waters. And they added senior transfer Sam Hauser, who averaged 14.9 points and 7.2 rebounds last season at Marquette. Hauser will be eligible to practice with the team, but won't be able to play until 2020-21.

Bennett's offseason included numerous speaking engagements, recruiting, talking to NBA scouts about his players and some time to decompress.

He also checked an item off his bucket list when, with his father, longtime college coach Dick Bennett, he played Augusta National Golf Club, home of The Masters. That, he said, "was amazing."

Now, it's back to work.

"I'm grateful for the busy-ness of it," he said of the offseason. "It means something good happened."

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Updated June 12, 2019

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Teams Score Time
Interleague
Colorado 8 F
New York 4
Miami   8:10pm
Chicago  
Baltimore   9:40pm
Arizona  
American League
Boston 0 F
Baltimore 5
Chicago 2 F
Tampa Bay 4
Kansas City 4 F
Cleveland 5
Toronto 3 F
Detroit 4
Oakland 6 F
Minnesota 7
Texas 3 F
Houston 5
Los Angeles 9 F
Seattle 3
Cleveland   7:07pm
Toronto  
Boston   7:10pm
Tampa Bay  
New York   8:10pm
Minnesota  
Oakland   8:10pm
Houston  
Texas   10:10pm
Seattle  
National League
St. Louis 3 F
Cincinnati 1
Philadelphia 2 F
Pittsburgh 1
San Diego 5 F
Chicago 1
New York 2 F
San Francisco 3
Miami 0 F
Los Angeles 9
Milwaukee 7 F
Arizona 4
Washington 1 F
Atlanta 7
Colorado   7:05pm
Washington  
St. Louis   7:05pm
Pittsburgh  
Cincinnati   8:10pm
Milwaukee  
Chicago   9:45pm
San Francisco  
The Open Championship
Pos Name Score Thru
1 Shane Lowry -15 F
2 Tommy Fleetwood -9 F
3 Tony Finau -7 F
4 Brooks Koepka -6 F
4 Lee Westwood -6 F
6 Rickie Fowler -5 F
6 Tyrrell Hatton -5 F
6 Robert McIntyr -5 F
6 Danny Willett -5 F
MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES AT NEW HAMPSHIRE
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 4 Kevin Harvick 14
2 11 Denny Hamlin 23
3 20 Erik Jones 4
4 12 Ryan Blaney 5
5 95 Matt Dibenedetto 7
6 19 Martin Truex Jr 6
7 6 Ryan Newman 26
8 18 Kyle Busch 2
9 22 Joey Logano 8
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT NEW HAMPSHIRE
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 20 Christopher Bell 2
2 00 Cole Custer 1
3 7 Justin Allgaier 8
4 2 Tyler Reddick 11
5 12 Paul Menard 4
6 98 Chase Briscoe 5
7 8 Ryan Truex 9
8 93 Ryan Sieg 15
9 19 Brandon Jones 6
NASCAR GANDER OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES AT KENTUCKY
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 17 Tyler Ankrum 9
2 52 Stewart Friesen 32
3 18 Harrison Burton 6
4 45 Ross Chastain 5
5 15 Dylan Lupton 20
6 22 Austin Self 16
7 24 Brett Moffitt 7
8 11 Spencer Davis 21
9 44 Jeb Burton 28