Tony Bennett Shares Intel on Newcomers

tony bennett

UVA coach Tony Bennett speaks with the media Tuesday.

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Only a week from the season-opening game at Syracuse, Tony Bennett addressed a number of topics about his Virginia basketball team, reigning national champions. We will write extensively about all those points throughout the week.

We were curious about what Bennett thought about his newcomers into the program, a wave of new faces that he will have to depend on to some degree as the season progresses.

One thing that the UVA coach liked collectively about the recruiting class was the assertiveness of those players. He let them know early on that they would have to be assertive if they were going to get opportunities the first year and they haven’t disappointed.

I asked Bennett to give a breakdown of each new player, and here his short analysis of each one in his own words:

Kadin Shedrick, 6-11, 190, center, Raleigh, N.C.: “He’s rangy, mobile, a shot-blocker, pretty good motor. He’s just got to get stronger. I think it’s a 7-4 or 7-5 wingspan, so he’s one of the longest wingspan guys [on the team]. He’s just scratching the surface. We’ll make a final decision on him.” Wears No. 23. There has been a lot of chatter about Shedrick likely redshirting this season, something that has been very successful in the Virginia program, but as Bennett reiterated Wednesday, it is always the player’s decision. Coach just wants what’s best for the player and the team.

Justin McCoy, 6-8, 225, forward, Cary, N.C.: “Was a late signee in the spring. Real good motor, continuous. He’s physical, he’s aggressive. He just plays really hard and works. Long arms. He’s had some good stretches [in practice and in scrimmages]. He’s not afraid. Again, an aggressive nature, not afraid of contact.” Wears No. 4.

Casey Morsell, 6-3, 190, guard, Ft. Washington, Md.: “Highly touted. Signed early. I think he can be a good two-way player. He can guard the ball. He’s learning our system defensively, has a good body, and not afraid to step up and take shots. He’s going to be good.” Wears No. 13.

Tomas Woldentensae, 6-5, 195, guard, Bologna, Italy: “Obviously a junior college player from overseas. He has a very good feel for the game. He was injured for a while with his wrist. He’s healthy now. At times he shows some beautiful feel. He has the ability to makes some 3’s. Like the new guys, he’s adjustting to the defensive philosophy. I’m glad he’s here and brings some depth in the backcourt, which we need.” Wears No. 53.

Chase Coleman, 5-9, 150, guard, Norfolk, Va.: “A walk-on for us, he’s done a nice job in practice and in our scrimmages. He’s very quick. I watch he and Kihei (Clark) in practices and they’re so quick in how they challenge each other. I’ve thrown him in there in opportunities in scrimmages and he’s done a nice job.” Coleman and Clark are almost exactly the same size. Wears No. 12.

Francisco Caffaro, 7-0, 233, center, El Trebo, Sata Fe, Argentina (a redshirt freshman that the players and coaches affectionally call ‘Poppy’): “He’s recovering from a deep knee in the thigh so we have to wait and see how long it will be before he can return to practice. He was practicing well before that happened. He’s a little bit like Jack Salt in terms of physicality. He loves contact. Very physical and new to the game but in time with get there. His physicality will be useful. He has an unorthodox game.” Wears No. 22.

That’s Bennett’s analysis of the new players on the team. We’ll be featuring a different story on the National Champs every day up until next Wednesday when we’ll take the trip up north for Virginia’s season opener at Syracuse.




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