Hoo Preview ’09: Q&A – Solomon Tat

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Solomon Tat hopes that good offseason training with Mike Curtis will provide more opportunities to help his team on the court this season.

It’s easy to forget, but Solomon Tat started 8 of Virginia’s last 10 games last season. That’s right, Tat started nearly one-third of the Cavaliers’ contests a year ago. Viewed as a gimmick by some observers, to then-coach Dave Leitao the reasoning was simple. He thought the team needed more passion and energy.

Tat delivers those things in heavy doses.

So starting with the second half of the Boston College game at the John Paul Jones Arena, Leitao turned to a line-up that included Tat, though it placed the Nigerian native at power forward. Against BC that night, Tat logged 22 minutes. Unfortunately, many of the latter starts faded into on-court cameos – he played 3 minutes in an overtime game against Clemson, 5 minutes at N.C. State, and 5 minutes vs. Wake Forest. The string of eight starts ended on Senior Night against Maryland, a game in which Tat didn’t play; he logged must two minutes in the ACC Tournament loss to Boston College.

“[I chose] five guys that I thought would play with the most energy,” Leitao said after the Boston College game. He also added that “Solomon’s energy is helpful. He missed some point-blank stuff and is not a great scorer, obviously, but I think you have to start with passion and energy, and playing hard and all that, and you have to put pieces together from there.”

It’s no wonder, though, that Leitao pegged Tat as someone full of energy. He is one of the most excited and supportive bench players you’ll ever find. His enthusiasm is infectious. It’s hard to keep the camera off of him at times because he’s always cheering on his teammates and always