Kris’ Monday Musings – Landesberg’s Growth

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Sylven Landesberg is developing more offensive weapons.

The Virginia men’s basketball team hits the floor for a pair of games this week, including the Hoos’ ACC opener at N.C. State on Saturday. That will be Sylven Landesberg ‘s first look at conference defenses this year, one season after being named the ACC Rookie of the Year. Is Landesberg, who struggled at times against some league teams as a freshman, ready for the challenge?

After all, teams with high level athletes and long-armed defenders have given Landesberg trouble at times in his career. The runners and floaters Hoo fans are used to seeing fall frequently come up short or seem rushed against teams with those types of defenders. Look no further than the most recent game against UAB for both the good and the bad side of that fact. The athletic bodies and defensive length of the Blazers caused issues for Landesberg in the Cavaliers’ 72-63 victory; he made just 6 of 16 shots (37.5%) and missed many of his looks on moves to the basket. Thus, the bad.

It’s something that teams have been able to do to Landesberg at times, particularly as the opposing coaches have gotten more film and scouting reports to plan to slow him down. The gameplan if you have enough good, long defenders is to give the forward some space to take away the driving angles and force him to take jump shots; plus, you have to keep him off the free throw line. Look at some of these examples:

  • UNC, 1/15/09: 1-of-9 shooting to finish with 2 points and 1 assist.
  • Florida State, 2/10/09: 6-of-19 shooting to finish with 14 points; Landesberg did have 3 assists. One extra note is that FSU sent Landesberg to the line just four times after allowing him to make 14 of 14 free throws in the first meeting of the season.
  • Miami, 2/26/09: 3-of-7 shooting for 13 points and the only made field goals were 3-pointers. He had 0 assists.
  • Wake