Countdown to Tipoff: Virginia Cavaliers
Tony Bennett, Virginia Head Coach
On April 1, 2009, Tony Bennett was introduced as the 11th head coach of Virginia's basketball program ... Bennett's third Virginia team posted a 22-10 record last season while securing the progam's first NCAA berth since 2009 and a return to postseason play for the first time since 2008 ... In 2011, Bennet's second Virginia team secured the program's first winning season since 2008, despite losing leading scorer and rebounder Mike Scott to injury in December ... victories included an 87-79 win over Minnesota in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge ... Bennett's first Virginia team finished the 2009-10 season 15-16 overall, an improvement of five wins over the 10-18 mark in 2008-09 ... included among the 15 wins were three victories over nationally-ranked opponents ... in three previous seasons at Washington State, Bennett led the Cougars to a 69-33 record, including a 32-22 mark in the Pac-10 ... Washington State's 69 wins were the most in a three-year span in school history ... the 2007 consensus National Coach of the Year, Bennett led the Cougars to NCAA Tournament berths in 2007 and 2008, marking the only time that Washington State made consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances ... in 2007 Bennett took a team projected to finish last in the Pac-10 and guided it to a school-record-tying 26 wins, a second-place finish in the Pac-10 with a 13-5 mark and the school's first NCAA Tournament appearance in 13 years ... was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year and the National Coach of the Year by nine organizations, including the Associated Press, The Sporting News and the United States Basketball Writers Association … Bennett played for his father, Dick Bennett, at Wisconsin-Green Bay from 1989-92 and finished his career as the Mid-Continent Conference's all-time leader in points (2,285) and assists (601) ... a two-time MCC Player of the Year, Bennett was the 35th overall selection in the 1992 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets and played with the team for three seasons.
Joe Harris, Jr., Guard
Two-year starter and the team's leading returning scorer (11.3) from a year ago ... suffered a fractured bone in his left hand at North Carolina (F11), but continued to play the rest of the season with protection on the hand ... was averaging 12.7 points per game coming into the game with the Tar Heels ... scored in double figures 21 times and led the team in scoring on six occasions ... shot .442 from the floor and .772 from the charity stripe.
Jontel Evans, Sr., Guard
Started all 32 games a year ago, averaging 7.3 points and 2.0 rebounds per game ... named to the 2012 ACC All-Defensive Team ... finished fifth in the ACC in assists (3.9), sixth in steals (1.6) and seventh in assists-to-turnover ratio (1.61:1) ... shot .471 from the floor, scored in double figures 11 times and had 13 games with five-or-more assists ... his 70 career starts are the fifth-most among active ACC players entering the 2012-13 season.
Akil Mitchell, Jr., Forward
Averaged 4.1 points per game and finished second on the team in rebounds (4.4) as a sophomore in 2012 ... started the last 15 games of the season for the Cavaliers, averaging 4.8 points and 4.7 rebounds over that span ... improved his field goal percentage from .338 as a freshman to .505 a year ago ... over the final three games (Maryland, NC State, Florida) averaged 7.0 points and 7.0 rebounds and hit on 8-of-11 (.727) from the floor ... had two games (Maryland, NC State) with 10 or more rebounds.
Malcolm Brogdon, So., Guard
Missed the last four games of the season with a broken bone in his left foot ... finished eighth among ACC freshmen in both scoring (6.7) and rebounding (2.8) ... averaged 22.4 minutes per game ... scored 10 or more points five times ... averaged 8.2 points per game in five games against ranked opponents, including a season-high 16 points in the Cavaliers' 70-58 win over 14th-ranked Michigan in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge ... had three or more assists five times and was second on the team in free throw percentage (.800).
Darion Atkins, So., Forward
Averaged 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in 27 games as a freshman in 2011-12 ... had career-highs in points (13) and rebounds (7) against Maryland-Eastern Shore (D27) ... shot .581 (25-for-43) from the floor ... played 10 or more minutes 13 times.
Paul Jesperson, So., Guard
Saw action in 21 games, averaging 1.5 points and 0.8 rebounds ... made his collegiate debut scoring five points against Maryland-Eastern Shore (D27) ... scored a season-high seven points against Virginia Tech (F21).