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For JPJ regulars, watching the development of Assane Sene over the past four years has been similar to watching your middle-schooler become an accomplished high school player.
That's in no way to devalue Sene's abilities, which have risen to ACC competition levels and made him an integral part of UVA's expected ascension through league ranks. The reason is simple: There just aren't that many seven-footers out there who can make serious contributions to their teams.
Assane's single biggest improvement over his entire time in Charlottesville would have to be the strength in his hands.
He's been a liability on the offensive end, where Virginia has already had few-enough options, first because he didn't catch well and secondly because he didn't shoot foul shots well. That left Coach Bennett with either the option of trying to protect late leads four against five or having to remove the last, best line of defense against dribble penetrators should they break through the Pack Line.
That too may have changed as Sene, a 52-percent foul shooter in his first three seasons, is hitting at an 81-percent rate in the early going this year, leading to the possibility of Sene mustering increased late-game playing time.