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Tony Bennett Gives Final Thoughts on 2021-2022 Virginia Basketball Season

Bennett reflected on the entire basketball season and gave some insight into the future

With Virginia's loss to St. Bonaventure in the quarterfinals of the NIT on Tuesday night, the 2021-2022 UVA men's basketball season comes to an end. In the postgame press conference after the game, Virginia head coach was asked to reflect on the season and give his thoughts on team moving into the offseason. 

Putting the 2021-2022 Virginia men's basketball season in perspective: 

“I mean, the positive, as I said, they improved, some guys found themselves, some guys learned some valuable things. It's a positive and some of the hard things that they had to look in the mirror and say, ‘Hey, I got to go to work in the weight room. I’ve got to improve my shot.’ That's so important; again to be in these pressure cooker situations and the hard fought ones but I just loved how resilient they were. I said it on the Coach’s Radio Show. They always rejoiced when one guy did well, they're always so happy for each other. They're character young men, and I'll never forget it. I say it all the time you have to have young men you can lose with and a staff [you can lose with]. They were that. There's a lot of expectations and pressure on these young men, whether they put it on themselves, whether from another side; where this program has been the last eight years, it's been at a level that is second to none. So when you come in and maybe you don't have quite that kind of talent or that kind of experience, and you're trying to grow, that's a lot to live up to when they're trying to do that. So just watching them, no matter what, [they] show up and are very compliant. Very good young men, they want to win and they pull for each other and they show up again. I think we have to improve in some areas, prove our shooting, get tougher, stronger, but they took steps in that direction.”

Moving forward into the offseason and onto next season: 

“There's no substitute for experience. We must improve every player that returns in this program. They better take a step in terms of commitment and their strength and their ability and to commit and work. If they don't want to, they shouldn't be here. But I believe they will. That's the entry for this high level. So they got to decide, and nothing's guaranteed, playing time is not guaranteed; you work, you come together. We were shorthanded this year with a tight rotation so guys got invaluable experience. I hope there'll be more competition next year for playing time which is healthy. Again I want to be real with the new guys coming in, everybody's all excited about this new class, they'll have their work to do. It's hard coming in as a first year. You’ve got to have patience and if they're good enough, they'll play, if they're not ready. they'll improve and they'll get ready at some point just like the guys in this program. But certainly those guys that come back that played a lot, they should be better, the guys that didn't play that much this year, eye opening experience and I expect hopefully some good continuity. But to Doug's question, you don't know in college basketball now. You really don't and it's kind of sad but it's reality.”

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