Teams often complain about youth. Virginia, however, has major growing pains with six true freshmen on the roster.
However, despite the inexperience and a culture of losing that has permeated for quite some time in Charlottesville—the Cavaliers are 6-3 heading into exams.
The reason has been clear. Despite some strong efforts by Virginia's veterans, the freshmen have stepped up with some big performances early on.
So how much can we take away from just nine games? That remains to be seen.
Yet, it has become clear that some of these freshmen are growing up quicker than we ever expected, while others fight for their spot on the depth chart.
Who has impressed? Who still has something to prove?
The following ranks the performances so far from Virginia's "six shooters" through nine games this season.
Is there any doubt that Joe Harris has been the most impressive?
Harris was only on coach Tony Bennett's radar because of his recruiting pipelines at his old gig in Spokane, Washington with the Washington State Cougars.
From a small high school to the elite ACC, Harris has shown a shooting touch that most Cavalier fans had not seen in a long time.
The sharpshooter has led the team in scoring three out of the nine games so far this season. His 24-point performance at Minnesota had to be a coming out party.
Playing with confidence, Harris made eight-of-12 shots, including four-of-six from the three-point line.
Harris is second on the team in both scoring and rebounding. While the results may be early, they are more than promising. The young shooting guard has no fear taking big shots and that confidence should continue to grow as he develops his game.
KT Harrell has taken over Mamadi Diane's No. 24 and he appears well on his way to filling the void left by the departing senior.
Harrell played the hero last Tuesday against Radford. In a game where the Cavalier shooting was ice cold, Harrell exploded for 13 points in a 24-5 run that helped put enough distance between the Highlanders for an ugly win.
While his numbers may be up and down, Harrell has been given opportunities. Coach Bennett has bounced the young man from the starting roster and back, but Harrell continues to show offensive promise with his ability to drive and play fairly good defense.
Harrell looks to be a solid starter and has been a decent complementary piece on offense.
With the gross inconsistencies of Mustapha Farrakhan, Harrell will be needed to contribute throughout the season if the Cavaliers want to be successful.
Virginia has been searching for a big man arguably since the departure of Ralph Sampson.
Akil Mitchell still has a great deal to prove to people, but he has shown flashes of talent that can't help but make Cavalier fans excited.
Mitchell's numbers are far from impressive. In nine games, the forward has shot a woeful four-of-14 from the floor and two-of-seven from the line.
Of course, it is hard to reach any kind of consistency when you are only playing nine minutes a game. While the injury to senior Will Sherrill hurts, it may benefit Mitchell for it gives him a bigger role and a chance to grow up quickly.
Mitchell looks like what he is, a freshman. At times he is lost out there, particularly when trying to learn Bennett's defensive scheme.
Nevertheless, Mitchell is tough and gritty kid. He will bang with the best of them and he is not afraid to fight for 50/50 balls and make momentum plays.
Recruiters have doubted if Mitchell has the talent to match his heart in the brutal ACC, but the young man has proved doubters wrong before. The tweener believes that he can push himself towards the top.
If his offensive game can develop, Mitchell will be a very viable option for Bennett in the future.
Billy Baron started the season with a bang. Since then it's been quite a whimper.
Baron clearly exploited William & Mary in the season opener. His team-high 19 points in 21 minutes turned some heads, however those numbers have dwindled considerably as the talent level has increased.
Son of Rhode Island coach Jim Baron, Billy has not scored a point in the last four games.
The confidence and open looks that came so easily in the beginning of the year has left as of late.
As a result, Baron appears to be right on the cutting block. Will he lose his spot in the rotation when the Cavaliers begin conference play?
He certainly cannot feel too good about his status. In the ACC opener against the Virginia Tech Hokies Baron played only three minutes.
In truth, Baron's freshman year may hinge upon his play during winter break. Undoubtedly he will get an opportunity against teams like Seattle, Howard and Norfolk State.
If Baron regains his form and gains comfort in Virginia's sets, he might stay in the rotation.
Otherwise, he will have to wait until Farrakhan graduates.
The other freshman big man, Will Regan, has had such a small sample size from which to judge.
Having played only 47 minutes so far this season, Regan has also gotten an opportunity from Sherrill's injury.
However, it seems clear that Regan is dead last on Bennett's depth chart behind Mike Scott, Assane Sene and Akil Mitchell in the front court.
Even against lowly Radford, a game where Bennett needed a spark from just about anybody, Regan played only six minutes.
Regan may not be an All-ACC star in the making, but he is the consummate team player.
His selflessness has been a calling card for the humble giant his entire basketball career. He has no problem picking up others and that plays a critical role in a Tony Bennett offense centered around screens and ball movement.
Bennett wants smart players who focus on the team first and foremost. By that definition, Regan can still have critical minutes for the Cavaliers this season.
The most anticipated freshman on Virginia's roster has yet to play a minute this season.
If coach Bennett has his way, that is how it will stay.
James Johnson was a highly touted recruit, ranked in the top 100 by just about everybody.
However, the Cavaliers have clearly planned to red-shirt the budding star in hopes that 2011-12 could really be a breakout year for Virginia.
Johnson may be on the end of this list for now, but do not expect this to ever be the case again. At 6'9'' and 230 lbs., Johnson is a force to be reckoned with.
His work ethic is truly commendable, pushing himself harder than just about anyone.
If he lives up to the hype, you better believe that Virginia could be heading in the right direction sooner than anyone anticipated.