The coaches are out making their rounds on the rubber chicken circuit, schmoozing with donors. It appears that head football coach Mike London and assistant hoops coach Jason Williford made a pretty good impression in Suffolk. I'm hoping to catch basketball coach Tony Bennett later this summer when he's speaking to alums down here in my end of the state.
This has been one of the best springs the University of Virginia athletics department has ever experienced. That has all changed, and the University is now mourning one of its own:
George Huguely, 22, of Chevy Chase had been the starting quarterback, an honor roll student and a lacrosse all-American at the renowned Landon School.
Yeardley Love, 22, of Baltimore County had been a four-year member of the lacrosse and field hockey teams at Notre Dame Prep in Baltimore.
At some point, they had a romantic relationship. But early Monday, Love was found dead inside her apartment, and a few hours later, Huguely was charged in her death.
The university community was grappling with Love's slaying. Members of the men's and women's lacrosse teams closed ranks and were keeping to themselves. But the rest of the campus was openly devastated by the news. "This death moves us to deep anguish for the loss of a student of uncommon talent and promise," U-Va. President John Casteen said.
I just can't imagine what the Love family is experiencing, and our thoughts go out to them. What a tragedy, in the midst of what should be a time of celebration, with NCAA tournaments and graduation right around the corner.
Sad. Just sad.
STL informs us that the top-ranked UVa baseball team has won a couple more honors. Second baseman Phil Gosselin was named Player of the Week in the ACC, and Danny Hultzen won Pitcher of the Week in the conference. The official release with all the relevant information is in the extended entry. The Hoos play VCU tonight. It's the last game before a 9-day break for final exams. After that break, Virginia will host the UNC-Chapel Hill Tar Holes in an important ACC matchup.
After tonight, only seven games remaining in the regular season before the fun really begins.
The No. 1-ranked Virginia baseball team swept the ACC Baseball honors for the week ending May 2, as infielder/outfielder Phil Gosselin (Jr., West Chester, Pa.) earned Player of the Week laurels, while Danny Hultzen (So., Bethesda, Md.) was named Pitcher of the Week.
It marks the first such honor for Gosselin, while Hultzen earned the distinction for the third time in his career and the second time this season (March 1).
The ACC hits leader with 77, Gosselin had hits in all five games (including four multiple-hit games) as Virginia completed a perfect week. Last Tuesday, Gosselin broke a scoreless tie with a two-out grand slam in the second inning of Virginia's 6-3 win over Coastal Carolina, which was ranked as high as fourth nationally. The next night, he tied a career high with four hits against Georgetown.
Gosselin then went 6-for-16 over the weekend at Duke, with three doubles. For the week, the Cavaliers' leadoff hitter was 12-for-25 (.480), had a .500 on base percentage and posted a team-best eight RBI.
Hultzen tossed his first career complete game in dominating fashion, facing just five batters over the minimum in a 12-3 road win Friday at Duke. He held Duke to its second-lowest hit total of the year while retiring the last 10 hitters and 21 of the final 22 batters that he faced. Ten of the final 21 outs came by strikeout. During that stretch, only five balls left the infield.
Overall, the ACC's strikeout leader (94) tied a career high with 13 strikeouts while not walking a batter. He went to a three-ball count to just two of the 32 batters he faced.
Virginia plays host to VCU at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Cavaliers' final game before a nine-day break for final exams.
Another great weekend for the baseball team. Yeah, it was just Duke, but still...these are games Virginia must win. The Hoos are ranked number one in the country, swept Duke, and perhaps most importantly, moved into a tie atop the Coastal Division in the ACC standings. Glad to see Coach O'Connor's guys taking care of business.
Tony Bennett is still looking around, possibly seeking to add another player to the 2010-11 recruiting class. Bennett already has about thirty new kids in that class, so what's another one? I'd be pretty surprised if Bennett actually signed someone else. There are six kids coming in as first-years this fall, and I can't imagine they'll want 7 kids in the same class. To add another, it would have to be a player that the staff just couldn't pass up, and there aren't many of those guys still available.
The updated Director's Cup standings have been released, and UVa has dropped to 8th (they were 5th previously). Eighth, of course, is the highest finish Virginia has ever accomplished in this particular competition (UVa was 8th last year and in 1999). The baseball, lacrosse, and tennis teams are almost assured of garnering more points for the University, so Virginia appears to be almost a lock for their highest Cup finish ever. That's a credit to the individual coaches, but also to Craig Littlepage who, as AD, has presided over the rise to prominence of the Athletic Department as a whole (even as the football and basketball programs have cratered).
I know I'm late in posting on this one but, well, I had to recover first. It was a matchup for the ages...at least for me. My two schools went to battle, and the University of Virginia (CLAS '96) defeated Georgetown University (Law '99). With worlds colliding like this, I expected the worst: human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together ... mass hysteria! Nope, all that happened was the expected -- a UVa win.
Let's put the finishing touches on the NFL Draft and its aftermath. We all know that Chris Cook was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the second round. While Cook was the only Hoo drafted, several others have signed free agent contracts:
- Vic Hall signed a contract with the Chicago Bears -- published reports previously linked him to the Baltimore Ravens -- and he will play offense and special teams.
- Will Barker signed a contract with the Dallas Cowboys.
- Mikell Simpson signed a contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.
- Rashawn Jackson signed a contract with the Carolina Panthers.
- Nate Collins signed a contract with the New York Giants.
- Jameel Sewell was invited to the Miami Dolphins' rookie mini-camp for a tryout.
- Denzel Burrell was invited to the Cleveland Browns' rookie mini-camp for a tryout.
I'm still surprised that Collins and Jackson weren't drafted, but I expect that each of those guys will craft a decent NFL career nonetheless.
One more reason to root for the Bengals, by the way: Cedric Peerman just signed a free agent contract to play for Cincinnati, as well. Hopefully he or Simpson, or both, can make the team.
Nice win for the Virginia baseball team yesterday over Coastal Carolina. Ordinarily, a victory over Coastal Carolina in any sport wouldn't be considered much to write about, but the baseball Chanticleers are pretty darn good:
Coastal Carolina's baseball team is not accustomed to losing. Then again, not every day do the Chanticleers face an opponent ranked No. 1 nationally by Baseball America.
This week that team is UVa, and the Wahoos (35-9) showed why Tuesday night. Thanks to Phil Gosselin's second-inning grand slam, Virginia never trailed in a 6-3 win over 10th-ranked Coastal before 2,260 fans at Davenport.
Brian O'Connor's 300th victory as the Cavaliers' coach ended the Chanticleers' 17-game winning streak. Coastal (36-6) hadn't lost since March 28.
"We definitely were jacked up to go against those guys," said UVa catcher John Hicks, who went 2 for 4 and threw out two baserunners.
"They're a very good ball club, and you could definitely tell in the clubhouse before the game that we were ready to go, we were excited for it."
The team is looking really good right now; I'm anxious for the postseason to get here. I'm also excited to see the development of Branden Kline, who got the start against CCU and looked great. He's just going to be a stud next year, that's all.
Three straight hoops posts at the end of April; that's extreme, even for me. But I thought I'd pass along the ACC Sports Journal's pre-pre-preseason ACC predictions. With only five scholarship players returning and six incoming first-years, Virginia is picked about where you'd expect.
While watching the Dallas-San Antonio NBA playoff series, I keep having the same thought, and it came back to me while writing the post below about Sylven Landesberg. We need more former Virginia players in the NBA.
Roger Mason, Jr., is really the only former Hoo in the NBA right now, though Mason's Spurs are playing against a team coached by Rick Carlisle. Marc Iavaroni is still kicking around as an assistant coach. I am convinced that Sean Singletary will have a good NBA career...eventually.
Anyone else I'm missing? That's a pretty thin roster of Hoos who are kicking around the league, only one of whom is a current player. If Singletary and Landesberg make NBA rosters next year, that'll be three, and that's a start. After seeing how much Tony Bennett's NBA career seems to have helped him in recruiting, I can't help but think having former Virginia basketball players playing in the world's best basketball league would help in the recruiting process, as well.
Unfortunately, no one on the current roster appears to be a likely bet to make a future NBA roster. I have high hopes for the incoming recruits, but it's too soon to tell.
Sylven Landesberg has been answering questions here. I know a lot of UVa fans are down on Sylven after the way his UVa career ended, but there's a lot of interesting stuff in here. Including this:
What would you tell high school basketball players if they asked you if UVa was a good place to play basketball?
i would tell them its a great school nd great experience
besides your teammates, what will you miss most about UVA?
hmmm... gus burgers lol
Should i be mad at Coach Bennett for you leaving?
no not at all coach is a great guy
Sylven made a dumb mistake by skipping that class, and Coach Bennett had little choice in his response...but we need to remember that Landesberg is still a kid. He planned on going pro after the season anyway, and I hope he has a ton of success. I hope Hoos will give him the benefit of the doubt.
How about the Hoos? After winning game one of tonight's doubleheader 5-1 behind Danny Hultzen, UVa won the nightcap over Maryland, 27-4. 27-4! The only way that could be sweeter is if Gary Williams were Maryland's baseball coach too.
As UVa fans, we've grown accustomed to seeing our guys picked early in the NFL Draft, despite less-than-stellar results for the team. Not seeing a Hoo picked in the first round last night was a bit of a shock to the system. Check out recent first and second round selections from Virginia: [table id=1 /]
The Draft continues tonight, and cornerback Chris Cook appears to be a good bet to be selected in the second round. Rashawn Jackson and Nate Collins are likely mid-to-late round picks, as well. Others, including Vic Hall and Jameel Sewell, are unlikely to be drafted but stand a decent chance of catching on as a free agent with a team. (On that note, the Redskins recently signed former UVa quarterback Marques Hagans, and we're hoping Biscuit will be able to stick this time.)
It'll be interesting to see where Cook, in particular, is selected. I was kinda hoping he'd sneak into the first round last night, but you have to believe he'll be picked fairly early tonight. My fingers are crossed.
Guess who has the best arm in the UVa football program? That's right...Shawn Moore. I'm not sure whether I should be worried about that or not, but check out that link. It's a good look at Moore's progress thus far as the new receivers coach for the Hoos.
I don't know if Billy Baron will end up being a star or not. He wasn't very highly recruited, frankly, but he does appear to be exactly the type of player that will thrive in Tony Bennett's system. He also appears to be the type of player that UVa fans will enjoy: a hard-nosed kid who plays hard and, perhaps more importantly (given what we've seen over the last decade), who plays smart. There have been times since the New Gillenium began that I would've given my kingdom for a few players who didn't take bad shots and make bad decisions. I'm so tired of that, but I'm very optimistic that Bennett is going to change that.
At any rate, what brought on this rambling post was this Daily Progress profile of Billy Baron. Check it out.
Jay Jenkins has this very interesting profile of Michael Strauss in the Daily Progress:
It is all about jockeying for a spot on a depth chart as a Cavalier now for the 6-foot-3 quarterback.
And based on his decision to ask and be allowed to enroll early at Virginia — typically a taboo thing for Virginia football players — Strauss is ahead of the game....
Strauss knows that he has to shine in practice to move up the pecking order, but is willing to bide his time and did not take it as a knock when he was the third signal caller to take a snap in the spring game.
“I try to do the best that I can when I get in there,” he said. “I just try to take it one play at a time and whoever plays is the guy that plays.
“That’s the coach’s decision.”
I love the fact that Mike London is able to get some guys into school early -- greyshirting, it's called -- to let them get a head start. It certainly has to help Strauss. There has never been a better time to be an incoming quarterback at UVa, because there is a great opportunity to win a spot.