Bannister’s Return Should Help Virginia

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T.J. Bannister had 5 assists against Florida State.

T.J. Bannister wanted to be back on the basketball court. Soon. He wanted to help his teammates and his new coach. Most of all, Bannister just wanted to play. After two short stints earlier this season, Bannister got his wish against Florida State. The other Cavaliers might have had the same wish granted as well. Why? Because Bannister will make life a little bit easier for the Cavs, especially Sean Singletary and J.R. Reynolds.

The reason is simple. Bannister provides the Cavaliers with a lot of non-statistical lifts that will take some pressure off of everyone on the UVa roster:

  • Need an extra ballhandler? Check.
  • Need more outside shooting? Move Singletary off the ball and Reynolds to the small forward. Check.
  • Need a deft passer who takes care of the ball? Check.
  • Need some more experience and leadership in practice and games? A team with no seniors can use all the junior support it can get. Check.

The list easily could be longer, but the case is already pretty strong. A team with little experience and depth needs players like T.J. Bannister. And he’s glad to be there for his team. Bannister was not happy to return in a losing effort, however, saying that it is never good to return in a loss. He also said that some players needed to push themselves even harder for coach Dave Leitao.

“When your team doesn’t come out victorious, it’s a bad feeling,” Bannister said. “I feel really bad for Coach Leitao because some guys aren’t playing as hard as they should. He keeps trying to enforce that every day in practice, but some people haven’t picked it up yet. We’re already in the middle of the season and some people haven’t picked it up yet.”

Though the Cavaliers lost to Florida State on Wednesday (87-82 in overtime), Bannister’s impact was statistically evident. He played 18 minutes,