JT Earning More PT With His Play

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Jamil Tucker is starting to log more minutes as his sophomore year winds down.

A 6-8 forward that can handle the basketball and shoot long-range jumpers. A 241-pound forward that can maneuver in traffic and battle inside. Opponents, big and small, attacking off the dribble. Multiple minutes with no rebounds. Passing up open looks.

Yes, Virginia’s Jamil Tucker has been a basketball enigma at times. But as his sophomore season winds down in the inaugural College Basketball Invitational, Tucker is becoming more proficient and less puzzling.

His Cavalier teammates have noticed.

“He’s definitely relaxed. He’s definitely knocking down his shots. He’s putting his personality, a little stamp on the game every game we play,” senior point guard Sean Singletary said. “He’s doing little things like knocking down open shots and creating for himself and other guys. That’s big for us.”

“I think he’s not letting anything else get to him; he’s just playing his game and he’s been confident in his game and that’s good, real good, for the team,” junior Mamadi Diane said.

The ‘big for us’ theme in those comments is an important one because that’s exactly what Virginia needs Tucker to be. Big. After all, a 6-8, 241-pound forward with diverse offensive skills can only set up mismatches if he is assertive on offense and can hold his own in the defense and rebounding categories.

“I played the wing in high school and when I came here, coach told me right off the bat that with your size, you’re going to play post defense,” Tucker said. “Coach [Steve] Seymour told me a lot and helps me out a lot and also my teammates, like Ryan [Pettinella] and Tunji [Soroye], show me what to do and what not to do so being down there, remembering that helps me out a lot.”

Tucker is progressing overall, but