J.R. Reynolds and his fellow returnees know what to expect during practices.
Every one is excitedly waiting for the opener in November, but before the Virginia men’s basketball team hits the hardwood for games, the Hoos have to put in some hard work on the practice floor. And rest assured, as long as Dave Leitao is in charge, the players will put in plenty of hard work.
The team has been practicing for nearly a week and if Saturday’s open session for the media is any indication, there are some tired and sore players roaming around Grounds right now. The practice was demanding, detailed, and focused. For the time that reporters were in the gym, the characteristics of a Leitao-coached team (at least if the 2005-06 season was a barometer) were apparent in drills that focused on rebounding and fast-paced basketball.
“We still, obviously, have many things to concern ourselves with, not the least of which is to continue to get them in better shape and understanding what our baseline is going to be, what the foundation was going to be,” Leitao said afterward. “Maybe some part of it, I might have assumed going from last March to this October that we’d carry things over but we’ve got to make sure that we start brand new and re-teach everything we were trying to teach last year. For the guys that were here, they’ve got to get back to the rhythm of what we try to do philosophically and obviously for the new guys, it’s a whole new learning experience.”
Certainly, the returning guys knew what to expect when practice opened last week and they showed their understanding through a diligent and dedicated work ethic during each drill. Jason Cain was among the returnees that drew attention. He was very active and he looked to be in better physical condition.
At 6’10” and 225 pounds, Cain has a more chiseled look to him and that should only help him improve his all-around game. It certainly won’t hurt his propensity for rebounding, something he showed a knack for last season, particularly on the offensive glass. Leitao...
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