Post Combo Brings Versatility

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Darion Atkins

The Virginia men’s basketball team takes the court again Tuesday night when George Mason visits the John Paul Jones Arena. The Hoos hope to remain undefeated at home, which includes the most recent 86-53 win against Longwood. During that victory, an interesting post combination logged minutes for the Cavaliers.

Midway through the first half and again after intermission, sophomore Akil Mitchell and freshman Darion Atkins manned the post area for the Hoos. While the days of a “true” center arguably have all but disappeared for many teams, it’s still not often that teams will use a pair of 6’8″ posts in tandem. The concerns usually center, pun intended, on defensive matchups. Certainly the decision against Longwood partially can be attributed to the Lancers’ personnel – the visitors didn’t list anyone taller than 6’8″ on their roster. Still, UVa coach Tony Bennett said you can use two posts like Mitchell and Atkins “because of the quickness” as long as the posts are “alert” on defense.

“We make that work because we’re both athletic and we both play the four and the five and can switch off,” Atkins said. “I actually think it’s a good thing to have two athletic, pretty big guys in there that can run the floor, run and jump, and crash the glass. I think that’s a pretty good thing to have for the team.”

Of course, it helps that neither Mitchell nor Atkins are 6’8″ when it comes to wing span. Atkins had his wing span measured and it checked out at 7’1″, while Mitchell’s is estimated to be 6’11”. For comparison sake, senior center Assane Sene has a 7’4″ wing span. In other words, both Mitchell and Atkins have arms long enough to allow them to play bigger than 6’8″.

Both players also have some bounce in their legs as witnessed

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