Time To Take Notice Of Tucker

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Jamil Tucker scores on this reverse.

Shortly after Virginia’s 77-75 win Wednesday night, South Florida coach Stan Heath remarked, unprompted mind you, that UVa’ Jamil Tucker was the “biggest surprise” and did more than the Bulls “expected” in the Cavaliers’ victory. Tucker posted a line of 15 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block. And while Heath was not surprised, it may be time for opponents and fans to take notice of Tucker.

Doubt it? Take a look at Tucker’s production over the last 10 games where he’s been a fairly consistent performer for the Hoos:

  • Miami – 14 points (then career-high), 3 rebounds
  • Georgia Tech – 2 points, 4 rebounds
  • Duke – 5 points, 8 rebounds
  • Maryland – 13 points, 6 rebounds
  • Georgia Tech – 3 points, 4 rebounds
  • Richmond – 10 points, 5 rebounds
  • Old Dominion – 11 points, 6 rebounds
  • Bradley – 0 points, 5 rebounds
  • VMI – 14 points (matched career high), 3 rebounds
  • South Florida – 15 points (new career high), 7 rebounds

In other words, Tucker has scored in double figures 6 times in 10 games, setting or matching career highs in three of them. The biggest improvement, however, has come on the glass where he has had at least four rebounds in 8 of his last 9 games. Tucker’s boardwork was a notable weakness when he first arrived at Virginia and he averaged just 2.1 rebounds as a freshman. In fact, his lack of success – and sometimes fundamentals – on the glass kept him out of the rotation or on a short leash for stretches of his two seasons.

Toward the end of 2007-08, however, things clearly started to click for Tucker on the glass. He picked it up in ACC play in February and continued to put