Mustapha Farrakhan can play as a point guard or a wing.
Coming into the 2010-2011 season, the Virginia basketball teams are facing quite a few questions when it comes to star power and replacing production. The men’s roster, of course, features as many freshmen as upperclassmen as the Hoos look to move on without leading scorer Sylven Landesberg and other unexpected absentees. The women, on the other hand, have to fill the void left by UVa and ACC stalwart Monica Wright.
On the men’s side, senior – yes, senior – Mustapha Farrakhan enters his final year with the Cavaliers with hopes of postseason play in his mind. Farrakhan brings a set of skills to the table that seem to fit what second-year Cavalier coach Tony Bennett likes to do on the court. The Illinois native can heat up the ball as a defender at the top of the Pack-Line defense, he can shoot off screens, and he can play a combo guard role as an offensive initiator or as a wing scoring option.
“I do a lot of being on the wing, but sometimes I can bring it up. The spots are really interchangeable so being able to know both positions is big,” Farrakhan said. “I just make sure I know both spots and know how to execute both positions so it’s definitely a good position I’m in to be able to play both of those roles. … The three [guard and wing] spots are pretty much interchangeable, you just have to read and react.”
On the women’s side, sophomore Simone Egwu may be stepping into a bigger role with the Cavaliers. The center has the size and ability to give the Hoos a low-block presence on both ends of the floor. Virginia coach Debbie Ryan has been pleased with the progress Egwu made over the offseason through the early days of the preseason.
“Simone Egwu is another one that has made tremendous strides for us,” Ryan said. “It amazes me when she does conditioning because she’s way ahead of the pack. She can actually outrun guards at times...
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