While visiting ATL this week, made it a point to get to the Virginia-Georgia Tech game last night. It was a great game as UVA won in OT, 88-84. Big road win for the Cavs, who hadn't won on the road this season, losing at Syracuse and at Minnesota.
UVA did a good job trapping the ball and rotating out. They mixed in some zone defense with their man to man.
Several NBA scouts were at the game, including CLE, MIN, MIL, and MIA.
As is the tradition with UVA, guard play is a key for the Cavs, who are led by 6-foot-6 frosh Sylven Landesberg, a McDonald's All-American last year from Queens.
He's a 2/3 man, but because of his ballhandling skills, can play some point when needed. Needs to work on becoming a more consistent shooter, but he's already earned Freshman of the Week honors three times.
Landesberg scored a lefty layup five seconds into game. He knows how to make backdoor cuts. Plays at a good pace. Can get in the lane and can really score in transition. Finishes well on floaters. He will improve as an outside shooter. Played unselfishly and with a lot of poise. Did not force shots. Has a nice crossover dribble. Draws contact off dribble-drive. Had 26 points in 41 minutes.
For Georgia Tech, Gani Lawal is a 6-foot-9 4-man who could be a late first-round or early second-round prospect if he improves his perimeter skills. At this point, he has limited range. [At the top of the key, UVA did not even guard him.]
Strong player who rebounds well and can finish inside. Lawal is very active and looks to post up and seal in the early transition. Has ability to draw fouls (he got to the FT line 14 times against UVA), but needs to work on his ball skills and his lateral quickness.
Finished with 21 points and 9 rebounds.
[I watched Lawal play last week against USC and he was outplayed by Taj Gibson, who scored 15 points and had 14 rebounds to Lawal's 3 points, 5 rebounds, 3 turnovers.)
UVA center Alade Aminu is an athletic player (he was a triple-jump star in high school), but struggled to finish inside, missing a couple of dunks. Not an offensive threat, though he scored on offensive tip-ins. [Had one offensive move he showed: From the right block, he shoots a jump-hook baseline off the glass.] He had 13 points and 12 boards before fouling out.
A senior, Aminu plays within his limitations and plays hard. He could be a low-level European League prospect.
Senior guard Lewis Clinch (who missed the first seven games of the season with academic issues) plays the off-guard, but with Mo Miller out with a broken nose, he's seeing some time at the PG spot.
At the 2-position against UVA, he was 3-10 from 3-point range and 3-7 from the line. Playing with confidence. Has the ability to get in the lane. Does not have NBA speed or quickness, though he might be a D-League prospect as a possible backup. His third three of the game was the go-ahead basket. Did a great job from the guard spot on the defensive glass with nine rebounds.
Georgia Tech's freshman PG Iman Shumpert has a scorer's mentality. At times he over-dribbles and can be careless with the ball (7 TOs vs UVA), but he has good size for a point guard. He was in foul trouble which affected his defense late in the game. A former McDonald's All-American, it will be interesting to see how he develops his PG skills. Finished with 18 pts, 6 assists, 5 rebs.
As you can read here, free throws had a huge impact on this game. GT did a good job getting to line (33 FTA), but only made 16 (48%). They came into game with a 59.9 free throw percent (last in the ACC). On the other side, UVA hit on 17-22 of their FTs (77%).
Many thanks to UVA assistant Rick Brunson for his hospitality at the game.