“Well, at least there’s basketball season.”
For the die-hard, dyed-in-the-wool college sports nut, this trusty little cliché is akin to self-medication. In a fall funk? Leaves turning brown and your football team falling down? Never fear, basketball is here.
ACCers, on a first-name basis with football follies since 1953, always have a bottle handy. Dukies wouldn’t be caught dead without it. And yes, Cavaliers know a thing or 12 about its potent effects, too.
If ever there was an autumn to pack up the tailgate, throw a glance at the John Paul Jones Arena in the rush to the interstate, slap your buddy on the back and yell “Hallelujah Hoops!,” this is it. The football program isn’t struggling; it’s in crisis. Fans are fed up with the coaching staff, and the outcry for upheaval is unmistakable. Perhaps most serious of all, there appears to be a growing disconnect between the athletics administration and its base. Good times these are not, though last Saturday’s 31-0 “we must protect his house!” shellacking of Maryland should wean Wahoo nation off of anti-depressants for at least a few days.
Problem is, the basketball situation isn’t much sunnier. UVa staggered to a 5-11 conference mark with all-world point guard Sean Singletary at the controls last year. Singletary is now in an NBA training camp near you (has he been traded for a 14th time yet?), and prospects for the approaching winter without No. 44 don’t look promising.
“Thanks God for hoops season” is now followed, caustically, by “oh wait,” or “never mind, ” or worse yet, “lacrosse can’t be far away, can it?!”
The word that’s missing is buzz. The two money-makers in UVa athletics are buzz-less. They’ve become buzz kills.
Unfortunately, this columnist isn’t rife with solutions. After all, odds are if I can think of it over a white mocha at a local coffee joint, then handsomely paid full-time administrators have bounced the idea around a McCue Center boardroom 10 times over.
But I do have one idea, and this one goes directly to the desk of basketball coach Dave Leitao, who faces yet another rebuilding...
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