basketball Edit

Q&A: Sanchez talks about how UVa must integrate its newest pieces

Publisher's Note: Each preseason, CavsCorner does a series of stories with Virginia's three assistant basketball coaches. This is the third of those conversations featuring associate head coach Ron Sanchez. You can read our previous Q&As with Jason Williford here (Part I) and here (Part II) as well as with Brad Soderberg here.

What were the goals you guys had as a coaching staff going into the trip to Spain and how do you feel like the players did coming out of that?

I think the primary goal was to bond as a unit, so guys could get to know each other more on and off the court. I feel like we did a pretty good job with that. Also, it was important for us to get eyes on them against someone else and to get a gauge of where we were, particularly on the defensive side of the floor. It's a lot of new pieces, after all. So we needed to see more of them and I think we did that.

Speaking of new pieces, you don't usually have this many new pieces at the same time. Usually, it's such an experienced team but this isn't really that, is it? Did that change anything in terms of how you guys prepared for the season?

I don't think it really changed much for us really. We sort of have our formula at this point and we are very practical about the things we do. We know what things are needed for us to be successful. So we focus on those things and we try to improve on those details on a daily basis. It's a not a question of veteran versus returner really. Now, we had to teach a little more because of the lack of experience but we didn't change what we were teaching or how we were teaching.

What was the challenge from the staff to the returning guys after last year knowing the types of contributions you'll need from them this season?

Tony really challenged the returners at the end of the season and basically said, "In order for us to be a better team, individually you guys have to improve." If each of them does that, then we as a unit will be better. And I think they took that to heart and went to work individually on their skills. I think they showed just how committed they were to coming back better than the way they ended and that's always refreshing.

What are you expectations in the post this year, particularly for Austin Nichols?


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