2005 Virginia Cavaliers Basketball Preview
2005 Virginia Cavaliers Team Preview
This is a building year for the Virginia Cavaliers in more than one way. Across from the long outdated University Hall, where the Cavs still play their games, the school is constructing a new arena that will house the basketball program. Someone who expertly regenerated the DePaul hoop program—Dave Leitao, is rebuilding the team itself.
In three years at the helm of DePaul, Leitao led his club to
a 58-34 record and coached them to the Tournament in 2004 and
also to two NIT berths. Virginia wants similar if not better
results from him. And it’s not as if the new coach has
been left without a team. It’s simply not a team that
can be competitive in the ACC.
Fired former coach Pete Gillen left Leitao with swingmen galore and no inside game. The Cavaliers have not made it to March Madness since 1995 and that’s left Virginia fans and boosters frustrated and angry.
For Leitao his major challenge is creating a competitive frontcourt that can show up and hammer it out every night against some of the best bangers in the NCAA. Junior forward Jason Cain and junior swingman Gary Forbes will start up front. At 6’ 10” and 205 pounds Cain should be able to knock around inside. Forbes can shoot and rebound but must to be more selective in deciding when to throw it at the hoop. Center Tunji Soroye replaces Elton Brown (12.8 PPG and 8.1 RPG) at that position. Soroye will need a lot more polish and skill development to come close to replacing Brown’s contributions, and first year center Sam Warren is far from being a force around the basket.
The guard situation is better but in no way perfect. J.R. Reynolds and Sean Singletary can both score. Last year Sean Singletary was the ACC’s top freshman scorer (10.5 PPG) and a fine playmaker (3.9 APG). Reynolds, who notched 10.7 PPG in 2004-05, has the potential to be even more dangerous this season.
For a while Leitao will be playing with someone else’s deck. He’ll be forced to improvise the best solutions he can manufacture while recruiting the type of inside player the ACC demands.
For more info on the 2005 Cavaliers check out the official Virginia athletic site.