Sunday, July 01, 2007

He's Back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Virginia basketball got a huge boost to its program when Virginia all-star point guard Sean Singletary took his name out of the NBA draft to return to Charlottesville for his senior year.

The 6'0 (on a good day) guard had several work outs in Orlando for the Trailblazers and the Philadelphia 76ers. However, it appeared that Singletary would not be a first round draft pick, if drafted at all. Through the experience Singletary has learned in what aspects he must improve his game. If he can make progress, not only will his draft stock rise but so will the Virginia Cavalier program.

The biggest critique most NBA scouts seemed to find was that Singletary's defense is not quite where it should be. Even though the NBA and defense seem mutually exclusive, with Singletary's lack of height, his speed must be a critical tool in his arsenal. He has done a great job so far of using his speed to get to the lane, now he must master using that speed to torment people when they have the ball. Singletary had many memorable moments last year, obviously the shot against Duke has become emblematic of his three years here. However, another big moment came when he skied high to steal the ball against Arizona and ran down the court for an impressive dunk from the point guard. If fans can see some more of these high intensity plays, fans can expect some major success.

The second major area for improvement will be moving towards a pure point guard. Singletary is an incredible player, but he still has room to improve when it comes to managing an offense. Some of these problems have come from a lack of scoring options. His sophomore year he only had 7 scholarship players and he still lacks a quality center he can use as a safety valve when pressured by the defense. This year, however, Singletary will have many scoring options. Mamadi Diane comes back as the most improved player and a threat to score anywhere on the court. Adrian Joseph made major strides near the end of last year and a crew of talented freshman shooters give Singletary some options to help get into the game. If he can work on his passing these options will have success. Most importantly Singletary must walk that thin line of knowing when to let others be involved in the offense and when he must take over. While Singletary has won his fair share of games for Virginia sometimes he has shot them out of games on the road by trying to force the issue instead of giving the ball up to the hot hand. With a severe lack of front court options and the departure of J.R. Reynolds, Singletary will face defensive schemes entirely concentrated on him. Therefore, he must find a way to make his supporting cast effective or the results will suffer.

Still, Singletary is a star and someone that puts people in the seats. The little guy has a heart and tenacity that few will ever possess. He has shown his potential from the beginning of his career, breaking two freshman records in the first two games. He has a mental fortitude that awes the usually stoic Dave Leitao and a game that the entire ACC respects. This year, Virginia will try to improve upon a tremendous season last year where the Cavaliers tied for the ACC Regular Season Championship with North Carolina and came within inches of reaching the Sweet Sixteen. It's a moment that most fans in Virginia would like to forget. Singletary fallen on the floor, like a hero slain in battle. Well he has been given a reprieve and I think everyone understands, it's a finale that no one will want to miss.