Zeglinski Draining 3’s, Soaking Up Coaching

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Sammy Zeglinski has started every game this season and is third on the team in minutes played.

In late October, several weeks before the men’s basketball season started, Sammy Zeglinski stood courtside at the team’s practice court in John Paul Jones Arena, unavailable to participate due to a sprained ankle. Standing next to him was Tony Bennett – the new Cavalier coach, and a four-year point guard with the Charlotte Hornets.

Side-by-side, the head coach and his apprentice, Zeglinski – who Bennett said during the preseason would be something of an extension of himself – observed five-on-five drills. Every so often, Bennett turned to Zeglinksi to offer a tidbit of advice, and the younger point guard soaked it in.

“There’s a value [in watching],” Bennett said. “I said, ‘You can sit back, and you can really watch, and it should stick out, especially when we’re loose with the ball, or guys aren’t back in transition, or it’s a good shot or a bad shot.’ I just try to tell him to study the game, like any coach does.”

Of course, Zeglinski is no stranger to studying the game rather than playing it. He is the only player on the roster with a medical redshirt, after he missed the majority of his freshman campaign with an ankle injury. But, whether he’s watching or playing, learning from Bennett is different – more emphasis than ever is on the point guard. The core of the Bennett offensive philosophy is limiting turnovers. The Pack-Line defense feeds off of the point guard’s ability to pressure the opposing ballhandler – or, as Bennett likes to say, “heating up the ball.” Moreover, Bennett was an outstanding point guard in his heyday, and Zeglinski is eager to be a sponge.

“Every time he was over here,” Zeglinski said that day, “I was trying to talk to him, see what he was thinking about.”

So, how has Zeglinski panned out so far