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When Assane Sene first arrived on Virginia's campus, he was not ready.
The 7'0" center from Senegal could barely hold on to the ball and had almost no clue what to do with it when he did.
Sene was all potential but virtually zero experience. Necessity thrust him in early, but his inability to make layups frustrated fans to the point that Sene was the butt of every joke.
Former Virginia center Tunji Soroye was another big man lacking experience. The Nigerian never had any offensive ability and truly made fans nervous whenever he touched the ball.
Sene was headed down that path but appears to have found a fork in the road.
Much like former-forward Jason Cain, a hyped up player who sputtered in his first two years to the point of ridicule, Sene looked like he would just be another Virginia big man that never lived up to expectations.
Well, just like Cain, Sene is proving his doubters wrong.
Now on one hand, Sene is never going to be the number one option on offense. However, when Mike Scott went down last year, Sene was the only man in the middle left.
That extra attention allowed him to surprise even himself.
In his first two years at Virginia, Sene scored 95 points in 697 minutes. In fact, he had more fouls than points.
In year three, Sene had 157 points and shot over 52 percent from the field.
In fact, he even went 39-of-70 from the line.
Sene looked comfortable in the paint for once and went from being the occasional shot-blocker to a better all-around player.
This season, Sene has Scott beside him and that means opposing defenses are going to lay off. That is why Sene has continued to improve offensively, scoring 62 points in just 11 games this season.
While he may not put up huge numbers, his contribution is an added bonus for the Cavaliers. His work ethic is obvious, having practiced for months catching footballs to work on his hands.
Sene is no longer king of the bricks. Now he just want to be king of the Big Dance!