blue ridge bank

Jay Huff had a great summer, looking forward to leading Virginia

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo by Matt Riley, UVA Athletics

Remember those back-to-school days of your youth when the teacher would require you to write a “what did you do during your summer vacation” papers?

Virginia’s Jay Huff would have ‘em all beat.

Over this Covid-plagued summer, Huff found some rays of sunshine. He got married and tested the NBA waters. Now, two weeks away from the opening of the college basketball season, Huff is ready to make a big difference for the Cavaliers.

“The getting married part was really great,” Huff said this week. “It was a lot of fun. Me and my wife (Lindsay) have been happily married for a little over seven weeks now. So yeah, that was great.”

The Huffs decided to get married a little earlier than planned, mostly due to the pandemic and the uncertainty of the coming year. Jay said it was a small ceremony and he quarantined from the team for a week just for safety concerns.

“As for testing the waters part, that was really cool,” said Huff, a seven-footer who really blossomed last season. “It’s a really cool experience though it was all virtual, didn’t get to travel around much.”

Huff said he received helpful feedback, but wished that it could have been real, in-person basketball instead of via video conferencing. NBA people told him they were impressed with his 3-point shooting ability and advised he work on his rebounding skills and defense, which Huff said he had planned to do anyway.

As far as being tempted to enter the draft, Huff said he honestly had waited to see what would happen with college basketball, whether there would be a seaso due to the pandemic.

“I wish [Huff] could have experienced [NBA tryouts] like Mamadi [Diakite] did, getting to go to the training camps, the workouts, but because of the pandemic he didn’t really get to do that,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “He probably became an expert Zoom interviewer with the NBA teams. That was really the extent of it. He missed out on the advantages I think of the competition part.”

Bennett watched Huff’s wedding on Facebook and said it was held in one of the most beautiful settings he had seen.

“It was really, really special to see it and I’m just happy for those two,” Bennett said. “When you become married you have to mature … I think you realize more how selfish you are than anything, at least I did once I got married. I think he’s certainly joyful. He’s always been. When you can finally get married to the love of your life, I think there’s a great peace and joy in him and I see that. We always like to tease him about taking dinner home to his wife, what’s going on, but Lindsay’s wonderful and I’m so happy for those two.”

Huff, a fifth-year, has missed some practice time due to rolling his ankles a couple of times, understood what his coach said about marriage forcing one to mature.

“I think I matured quite a bit,” Huff said, “both in terms of basketball with getting feedback from NBA coaches. I guess just knowing like what I should do for this team, not necessarily for the next level but like they were very helpful in terms of you do this really well, you do that really well, I need to work on this.

“While those things will be helpful in terms of my basketball future, I also think that it’ll be helpful in terms of helping this team do well. I definitely think that helps and I think getting married has matured me in a lot of ways. It’s been great, being able to go home after practice to my wife and being able to spend time with her, because there’s not a whole lot of people outside of the team that we get to spend time with during this pandemic. I’m really thankful for that.”

Virginia, picked No. 1 in the ACC preseason poll, and No. 4 in various national polls, is thankful to have Huff around for another season.



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