Steady as He Goes
Last year, when point guard London Perrantes arrived as a freshman, his teammates and coaches worried that the laid-back Californian wasn't ready for the pace of D-I basketball. "They were on my case about going too slow," he says. "But now I don't get any of that."
It's easy to see why. The even-keeled, pass-first Perrantes proved a perfect fit for the Cavaliers, a methodical team that ground its way to the program's first ACC title since 1976. Despite averaging 29.9 minutes as the primary ballhandler, Perrantes had 16 games with no turnovers (including 10 in conference play) while creating open looks for leading scorers Malcolm Brogdon and Joe Harris. When you average the third-fewest possessions in the country, taking care of the ball is essential. "The moment was never too big for him," says coach Tony Bennett.
With Harris gone, Perrantes will try to find ways to score off the dribble. Replacing the team's second-leading scorer, however, will be a collective effort, with more expected from energetic former sixth man Justin Anderson and forward Anthony Gill, who scored in double digits six times last March. "We'll find a way," Perrantes says.
With 2014--15 Projected Stats
ROUND OF 64
TELLING NUMBER 5
Consecutive seasons—since Tony Bennett arrived in Charlottesville—in which Virginia's win total has increased over the previous year. The Cavaliers have improved from 15 victories in his first season (2009--10) to 30 last year.
SIMON BRUTY/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
Perrantes keeps the Cavs under control.