Virginia Basketball: Bryant Stith's Son Commits, How Will He Fare?
Virginia basketball has been sporadic the past decade or so.
While the Cavaliers have had some moments of brilliance along the way like in 2001 and 2007, the landscape has mostly been mired with disappointment and failures.
Cavalier coach Tony Bennett knew that turning around the program would take time, it is one of the reasons he invested in the program's rich history when he selected former Virginia player Jason Williford as an assistant.
Well, Virginia looks like it will get one more connection to the past. The Cavaliers received an early commitment from B.J. Stith, son of the all-time leading scorer in Virginia history, Bryant Stith.
B.J. Stith is only a sophomore in high school, making him the youngest commit since point guard Sammy Zeglinski signed on to be a Cavalier.
We all know that trying to live up to the legend of your father can be difficult. Players like Patrick Ewing Jr., Jeffrey Jordan and others sometimes struggle to live up to the hype.
Some players try to avoid their father's college, in hopes of making a name for themselves somewhere else. Some colleges avoid going after legacies just for that reason.
Minnesota picked up Ralph Sampson III, the son of Virginia's most famous player of all-time mostly because the Cavaliers showed little to no interest.
Clearly, Bennett, himself a legacy of his famous coaching father Dick Bennett, does not appear to have this problem.
Will Virginia make the NCAA tournament before 2014?
Stith will give Virginia a valuable history lesson, harkening back to a time when the Cavaliers were one of the premiere programs in the ACC. While it would be hard to ever compete with the likes of Duke and North Carolina, a sizable void has appeared to take the mantle of the third or fourth best team in the conference.
Just the name Stith rejuvenates the fan base and gets them more motivated to watch and support their team. The only problem is that this will not take place until 2014.
Knowing the struggles of recent years, who knows how the program will look between now and then.
Fortunately for Virginia, they may not have to wait that long to see a Stith don the orange and blue once more. B.J.'s brother, Brandan, is a junior and according to reports is also looking to join the Cavaliers.
To have two Stith's on the same team could be a huge accomplishment for Bennett and something that could build towards the future.
While time will tell how they will fare compared to their dad, the exciting part is that what made their father great was not just his physical gifts but his attitude.
Despite being 6'5, Bryant Stith hit the boards with reckless abandonment, he is still second all-time in career rebounds. Stith led Virginia to four 20-win seasons and an NIT championship. He knew how to handle difficult situations and practiced diligently.
In truth, Stith was the ultimate Tony Bennett type of player. He rebounded, he defended and he knew how to make shots. If his sons have learned from his father, things could really be going in the right direction for the Cavaliers.
Until then, Virginia is not going to simply wait for a miracle. Coach Bennett is in year three and realizes the pressure is on to perform. With the return of Mike Scott, the Cavaliers need to play well in 2011-12.
If they do that, the pieces are place to build a foundation that could last for quite some time.
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