COLUMBIA, S.C. — Before No. 1-seed Virginia defeated No. 16-seed Gardner-Webb in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, shield Ty Jerome’s phone buzzed with a text from an acquainted number. “Don’t place so much pressure on yourself,” the textual content read. “Continue to lead the group, and just be your self and agree with your paintings.” The sender changed into Milwaukee Bucks shield Malcolm Brogdon.
Jerome’s UVa profession began in 2016-17, right after Brogdon left the program for the NBA and have become Rookie of the Year, but they have evolved a bond. Their connection mirrors the relationships many Cavaliers have with players who have come via Coach Tony Bennett’s application. “That’s one of the unique matters about this program, is how all the former players simply buy into this software and want to provide returned and come again and cling out with us and mentor us in any way they can,”
Defend Kyle Guy stated. The Wahoos truly has a broad array of carried out alumni to study from. Brogdon is considered one of four former Cavaliers gamers inside the NBA, all of whom played underneath Bennett, who took over at Virginia in 2009. There’s additionally Atlanta Hawks ahead Justin Anderson, Philadelphia 76ers ahead Mike Scott and Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Harris, who gained the 2019 NBA Three-Point Contest. Guy stated he’s specifically close with former ahead Isaiah Wilkins. The 2018 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, who now performs for the G-League’s Greensboro Swarm, has been open about his struggles with mental fitness, much like Guy. “He’s all approximately looking after your enterprise however don’t forget to have amusing in it. So what’s what he told me leading into this tournament,” Guy said.
Bennett stated he couldn’t assist but grow to be connected to his players, given the emotional highs and lows of seasons. He’s taken after his father, Dick, who coached Division I men’s basketball for components of 30 years and kept to connect with former gamers. “They’ll nonetheless go and go to with him,” Tony Bennett stated. “They’ll play a round of golf, or they’ll cross and take a seat, and my mom will make them their hot fudge sundaes that she used to make when my dad recruited them. … That’s the good stuff. That’s the lasting stuff.” Bennett additionally stated preserving former gamers around is right for the health of this system. “I understand the sort of young men they’ll emerge as, and I know how they’re going to pour returned into this system,” he said.