Cavaliers Host Virginia Commonwealth
November 13, 1998
Virginia vs. Virginia Commonwealth
November 13, 1998 – 6:00 p.m.
The Series vs. Virginia Commonwealth
Virginia holds a 9-1 lead in the series against Virginia Commonwealth that dates back to the 1976-77 season.
This is the sixth game between the two schools in Richmond, with the Cavaliers holding a 4-1 advantage in games in the state capitol. Virginia was 3-1 against the Rams in Richmond when the teams met in the now defunct Richmond Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament (T-DIT) played on the Rams’ home court at the time at the Richmond Coliseum. Last season the Cavaliers downed VCU 73-67 at the Robins Center on the campus of the University of Richmond.
Curtis Staples scored a game-high 20 points to lead Virginia to its victory over the Rams last season. Staples was joined in double figures by Willie Dersch (13 points), Colin Ducharme (12) and Norman Nolan (11). Ducharme paced Virginia on the boards with eight caroms, while blocking five shots. Kris Hunter gave UVa a big lift off the bench by scoring a career-high six points, grabbing four rebounds (all offensive), blocking two shots and having one assist and one steal in 12 minutes of action.
New Virginia head coach Pete Gillen is 0-1 vs. the Rams in his collegiate head coaching career. His Xavier team lost to VCU 79-76 during the 1993-94 season.
Cavaliers Open Season Tonight
Tonight’s game with Virginia Commonwealth University marks the beginning of the 94th season of Virginia basketball. UVa is 73-20 (.785) all-time in season openers. The Cavaliers have won nine of their last 11 season openers dating back to the 1987-88 season.
Head coach Pete Gillen has compiled an 11-2 record in season openers in his career as a collegiate head coach, winning his last eight openers. He was 7-2 at Xavier (1986-94) and 4-0 at Providence (1995-98).
Dawn of a New Era
The Pete Gillen Era begins tonight for the University of Virginia. Gillen was named the Cavaliers’ head coach on March 28, 1998, replacing Jeff Jones, who resigned following last season.
Gillen brings impressive coaching credentials to Charlottesville.
His career record in 13 seasons as a collegiate head coach is 274-128 (.682). Prior to coming to UVa, he coached at Providence College where he guided the Big East Conference school to a four-year record of 72-53. Two years ago he led the Friars to the NCAA’s “Elite Eight” where they lost in overtime to eventual national champion Arizona in the finals of the Southeast Regional. Under his direction, Providence competed in the NIT in 1995 and 1996.
Gillen’s success at Providence came on the heels of a remarkable nine-year stint as head coach at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. While there, he became the winningest coach in the school’s history with an overall record of 202-75.
Inheriting a program that made only two previous NCAA tournament appearances in the school’s history and never won an NCAA postseason game, Gillen led the small Catholic institution to unprecedented national success. The Musketeers participated in the NCAA Tournament seven times during Gillen’s tenure, reaching the Midwest Regional semifinals in 1990. Gillen was named Coach of the Year in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference five times as Xavier won six regular season conference championships and five conference tournament championships under his guidance.
Gillen is the ninth head coach in Virginia basketball history.
Cavaliers Open Exhibition Season with Win
Four Cavaliers scored in double figures, led by sophomore guard Donald Hand with 23 points, as Virginia defeated the Aussie All-Stars 96-79 in its first exhibition contest on November 3.
Freshman forward Adam Hall scored 21 points and freshman forward Chris Williams recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Junior center Colin Ducharme added 15 points and three blocks. Hand also recorded nine assists.
Hall and Williams combined for nine points in a Virginia 11-0 run to give the Cavaliers a 29-22 lead at the 7:33 mark of the first half. Virginia outscored the Aussie squad 15-4 over the final 4:40 of the first half to take a 50-31 lead at the break.
The Cavaliers continued to build on their lead in the second half, leading by as much as 28 points with 5:19 remaining in the game. Virginia shot 52.2 percent from the field (36-69) and 79.2 percent from the free throw line (19-24) for the game. The Cavaliers out-rebounded the Aussie squad 36-31 and converted 22 Aussie turnovers into 28 points.
UVa Wins by 24 in Second Exhibition
Chris Williams scored a game-high 29 points and Colin Ducharme recorded a double-double as Virginia trounced the California All-Stars 101-77 in its second exhibition contest last Saturday.
Williams was on fire all night, hitting 12 of 16 shots from the field and four of six from three-point land. The freshman from Birmingham, Ala., also pulled down seven rebounds and dished out a pair of assists. Ducharme chipped in with 12 rebounds and was the only player in double-figures for rebounding with 10.
Virginia and the All-Stars swapped the lead three times in the first half with neither team ever leading by more than six points. However, the Wahoos were in control of the scoreboard at the half with a slim 50-47 lead.
In the second half, the All-Stars kept it within five points until the Cavaliers went on a 7-0 run a fourth of the way through the half. That offensive flurry gave UVa a 66-54 lead with 13:49 to play and the Cavs never looked back.
With 12:38 to play, Josh Hare dunked to put the Wahoos up 68-58 and Virginia never led by less than 10 the rest of the way. UVa topped the century mark thanks to a jumper by Cade Lemcke with 39 seconds to play and that capped the scoring at 101-77.
Nine Virginia players found their way into the scoring column. Willie Dersch and Donald Hand joined Williams and Ducharme in double-digits with 13 points and 18 points, respectively. Chezley Watson added eight points along with a game-high eight assists. Adam Hall came off the bench for seven points and six rebounds to go along with three assists and three steals.
As a team, the Cavaliers hit 56.6 percent (43-of-76) of their shots from the field, including a blistering 61.1 percent (22-of-36) in the first half. Meanwhile, the ‘Hoos held the All-Stars to just 40 percent from the field on 26-of-65 shooting.
Virginia vs. the CAA
The Cavaliers are 136-68 (.667) against the nine schools in the Colonial Athletic Association. Most of the games occurred prior to a school’s membership in the CAA.
In all games against the current membership of the CAA, Virginia is 51-26 vs. William & Mary, 48-36 vs. Richmond, 8-4 vs. Old Dominion, 9-1 vs. VCU, 7-0 vs. James Madison, 6-0 vs. George Mason, 4-1 vs. American, 2-0 vs. North Carolina-Wilmington and 1-0 vs. East Carolina.
Since the CAA’s inaugural season in 1982-83, the Cavaliers are 27-5 vs. CAA schools.
This is the Cavaliers’ only game of the season against a CAA opponent. They posted a 3-1 record vs. CAA teams last season.
A First in School History
Tonight’s game vs. VCU was supposed to be the inaugural contest in the Rams’ new Stuart C. Siegel Center. However, construction delays have pushed back the opening of the new facility and moved the game to the Robins Center on the campus of the University of Richmond.
This is the second season in a row the Cavaliers have opened their season at the Robins Center. Last season they lost 83-79 to the homestanding Richmond Spiders in a double overtime thriller.
This marks the first time in school history the Cavaliers have opened at an arena other than their own in two consecutive seasons.
Rookie Starters in the 90s
Freshman Chris Williams started at forward for Virginia in its two exhibition games, averaging 23.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in the two contests. He pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to go along with 17 points in the first exhibition game against the Aussie All-Stars on November 3. He came back four days later to score a game-high 29 points and grab seven rebounds against the California All-Stars.
If he starts against VCU as expected, he will become the sixth freshman to start for Virginia in the 1990s.
Current sophomore Donald Hand started at point guard in last season’s opener.
Other freshmen starters this decade include: Ted Jeffries at center in 1989-90, guard Cory Alexander and forward Junior Burrough in 1991-92, and swingman Courtney Alexander in 1995-96.
Juniors Willie Dersch and Colin Ducharme, and sophomore Donald Hand have been elected captains of this year’s team.
Dersch, a 6-6 forward from Floral Park, N.Y., and Ducharme, a 6-9 center from Richmond, Va., have each lettered twice. Hand, a 5-11 guard from Paterson, N.J., lettered for the first time last season.
Home Away From Home
This is Virginia’s first game of the season in Richmond, a sort of home away from home for the Cavaliers. UVa also plays its annual game against in-state rival Virginia Tech at the Richmond Coliseum this season (Jan. 27).
Last season the Cavaliers played three games in Richmond, all at the Robins Center, posting a 2-1 record.
Besides Charlottesville, Richmond trails only Lexington, Va., as the most frequent site of Cavalier basketball games.
Through the years, the Cavaliers have played 85 games in Lexington, home of VMI and Washington & Lee.
Tonight’s game is the 81st game in the history of the Virginia program played in Richmond. The Cavaliers are 47-33 all-time in Richmond.
Three Starters Return for ’98-99
The Cavaliers return three starters from last season–center Colin Ducharme, forward/guard Willie Dersch and guard Donald Hand.
Virginia also returns two other players who started games last season–Kris Hunter and Chezley Watson.
The Cavaliers lose their two leading scorers from a year ago–Norman Nolan (21.0 ppg) and Curtis Staples (18.1 ppg).
Walk-on Tryouts Held
With a roster that features just eight scholarship players (only seven can play) and two walk-ons, the Virginia coaching staff conducted tryouts among the UVa student body to round out the roster for the upcoming season. Approximately 40 candidates showed up for the open tryouts on October 20.
Five members of the student body survived a round of drills and interviews to make the team.
The quintet chosen following the tryout join sophomore Greg Lyons and freshman Cade Lemcke to give head coach Pete Gillen and his staff a total of seven walk-on players to use in game preparation.
Gillen readily concedes that playing time for these players may be limited. Josh Hare is the most likely to play. He averaged 16.0 minutes in the two exhibition games and scored six points (all against the California All-Stars). Martin was the only other new walk-on to play in the exhibition season. He played two minutes (no points) against the California All-Stars.
The five successful walk-on candidates are listed below.
# Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown 5 Brandon Lloyd G/F 6-4 184 Fr. Springfield, Va.21 Jason Dowling G/F 6-2 191 Fr. Brooklyn, N.Y.22 Josh Hare G 6-2 197 So. Vernon, Conn.25 Marcus Martin F 6-5 218 Fr. Charlottesville, Va.55 Raleigh Harbour F 6-8 217 Sr. Hinsdale, Ill.
Cavaliers Welcome Two Scholarship Newcomers
The 1998-99 Virginia men’s basketball team features two freshmen scholarship players–Adam Hall and Chris Williams.
Hall, a 6-5 swingman from Katy, Texas, was a first-team All-State performer as a senior last season at Katy High School after averaging 20.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. He was a four-year starter and played for the USA Basketball Men’s Junior World Championship Qualifying Team that won a gold medal in the Dominican Republic in July.
Williams, a 6-6 swingman from Birmingham, Ala., led Minor High School to the state 6A championship last season as a senior. He averaged 17.5 points and 10.0 rebounds and earned All-State honors his junior and senior seasons. He was also named the Gatorade Circle of Champions Player of the Year in Alabama last season.
Virginia vs. In-State Teams
This is Virginia’s first of five games this season against an in-state opponent. The Cavaliers face Hampton, Liberty, VMI and Virginia Tech later in the season.
Last season the Cavaliers were 5-2 against in-state foes. The two losses were the most against state teams since the 1987-88 season when the Cavaliers were 1-3 vs. state foes.
In the last 20 seasons the Cavaliers are 83-14 (.856) against in-state opponents.
Pete Gillen is 1-2 against Virginia schools as a collegiate head coach. He is 0-1 vs. VCU and 1-1 vs. Virginia Tech.
No Double Digit Scorers Return
With a team that features no scholarship seniors, Virginia may feature one of the youngest teams in the country this season. Only three scholarship juniors return–Willie Dersch, Colin Ducharme and Kris Hunter.
As the team’s most experienced players, Dersch and Ducharme will be called on to carry much of the load, particularly early in the season.
Ducharme is the team’s leading returning scorer (7.8 ppg) and rebounder (5.0 rpg), while Dersch is tied with sophomore Donald Hand as the leading returning assist man with 99.
It might be somewhat of a surprise to learn that this isn’t the first time in school history the team failed to return a double digit scorer.
The 1968-69 squad featured four double digit scorers, but none returned the following season.
In fact, this year’s squad returns a higher percentage of its points than the 1969-70 squad did. This season’s team returns 34.4 percent of its points, while the team 29 seasons ago returned just 18.4 percent of its points. (As a point of reference both the 1968-69 and 1969-70 teams posted 10-15 records.)
ACC Media Pick Virginia Ninth
The Cavaliers were selected to finish ninth in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season by media representatives attending the 37th annual ACC Operation Basketball in Charlotte, N.C., on October 25.
This season’s predicted conference standings look like this (first-place votes in parenthesis):
1. Duke (79) 7672. Maryland (6) 6873. North Carolina (1) 5764. Wake Forest 4405. Clemson 4336. N.C. State 4097. Georgia Tech 2658. Florida State 1969. Virginia 97
Hand Leads Team in Steals, Assists as Rookie
Donald Hand stepped into the starting point guard role last season during the Christmas holidays and remained there for the rest of the season, becoming another in a long line of freshmen to start at point guard for the Cavaliers this decade (joining Cory Alexander and Harold Deane).
Hand led the team with 37 steals and tied Willie Dersch for the team lead with 99 assists.
He turned in the third-highest assists total by a freshman in school history and ranked sixth in steals by a freshman. Hand also averaged 4.7 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.
He finished second among ACC rookies in assists, fifth in steals and sixth in starts (21) a year ago.
Hand reached double figures in scoring four times and scored a career-high 14 points in a win over Brigham Young in Hawaii’s Rainbow Classic.
He led the team in assists on 12 occasions, including five of the last six games of the season. He recorded a career-high nine assists, the fourth-most ever by a Virginia rookie, against Duke (Jan. 24), the #1 team in the country at the time. He also dished off eight assists against Appalachian State.
New Staff Joins Gillen
When new head coach Pete Gillen came to UVa from Providence after the 1997-98 season, he brought two assistant coaches and his director of basketball administration with him.
Bobby Gonzalez and Tom Herrion, assistants under Gillen at Providence, traveled south with Gillen. In addition, Mike Malone, an assistant at Providence, has moved into the position of Director of Men’s Basketball Administration at UVa.
Gillen completed his staff with the addition of Walt Fuller, a former assistant at William & Mary.
Gonzalez, considered one of the nation’s top recruiters, has been on Gillen’s staff at three different schools–one year at Xavier, four seasons at Providence, and now at UVa.
Herrion began his collegiate coaching career at his alma mater, Merrimack College, shortly after graduation in 1989. He remained there until 1994 when he joined Gillen’s staff at Providence for the 1994-95 season. Herrion’s brother, Bill, is in his seventh season as head coach at Drexel.
Fuller travels west on Interstate 64 to join Gillen’s staff from William & Mary. He spent the four previous seasons in Williamsburg, helping the Tribe post a 20-7 record last season. Prior to his stint at William & Mary, he was on the staff at Drexel, his alma mater, for six years.
Malone is Director of Men’s Basketball Administration at Virginia. He served in a similar capacity for one season and was an assistant coach for two seasons at Providence with Gillen. His father, Brendan, is in his 13th season of coaching in the NBA.
Virginia (1997-98 record: 11-19/3-13 ACC) opens the Pete Gillen Era tonight against in-state opponent Virginia Commonwealth (1997-98 record: 9-19) at the Robins Center on the campus of the University of Richmond. Tip off is set for 6:00 p.m.
Radio: All UVa games are heard on the Virginia Sports Network originating at WINA/WQMZ in Charlottesville. Mac McDonald calls the play by play. Jim Hobgood provides the analysis.
Virginia’s Probable Starters
Pos. # Name Cl. 97-98 Pts. 97-98 Rebs.F 24 Willie Dersch Jr. 6.5 3.6F 33 Chris Williams Fr. 17.5** 10.0**C 52 Colin Ducharme Jr. 7.8 5.0G 10 Chezley Watson So. 2.2 1.6G 13 Donald Hand So. 4.7 2.4
** senior year high school statistics