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Thursday, September 19, 2013
More than 17 seasons after his playing career came to an end in the Australian National Basketball League, Virginia coach Tony Bennett still has an eye for the south Pacific.
At the end of a visit to Charlottesville this week, 6-foot-10, 205-pound Jack Salt from Auckland, New Zealand, became the first international player to commit to the Cavaliers in Bennett’s five seasons.
Bennett recruited several players from the south Pacific when he was the head coach and as an assistant to his father at Washington State, including 6-6 Thomas Abercrombie from Westlake Boys High, the same school Salt attends in Auckland.
Salt, also a standout volleyball player, had been claimed as a developmental player by the New Zealand Breakers’ professional term and had considered bypassing college.
Salt, a left-hander, is the third player to commit to Virginia for 2014-2015 as the Cavaliers await word from Robert Johnson, a 6-2 guard from Benedictine High School in Richmond who has said he will announce his decision Friday.
Johnson has taken visits to Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida State.
Running the gauntlet
Georgia Tech football coach Paul Johnson said he received no forewarning from the ACC prior to the release of this year’s schedule, which has the Yellow Jackets playing three Coastal Division opponents over a 12-day span.
The Yellow Jackets will have a five-day break between Saturday’s game with North Carolina and a Thursday visit from Virginia Tech.
The Hokies, who entertain Marshall this weekend, also have five days to get ready for their showdown with the Yellow Jackets.
“No, we didn’t get any heads-up from the league,” said Johnson, whose Yellow Jackets are coming off a 38-14 victory over Coastal foe Duke. “It’s just one of those things. Either we’re going to dig ourselves quite a hole in September or we are going to be in pretty good shape.”
No ACC coach is as quick to take responsibility for his team’s shortcomings as Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe, whose Deacons fell to 1-2 when a late two-point attempt failed in a 21-19 loss to visiting Louisiana-Monroe.
“This is my fault,” said Grobe, once the head coach at Liberty High School in Bedford. “This is nobody’s fault but the head coach when the offense plays like they’re asleep at the wheel.
“The deal is, a dropped ball is no big deal and a bad throw is no big deal. That’s my fault. I’ve allowed that to happen. We’re just a very lethargic, sloppy football team. That’s me, the head coach. I control my assistants. The assistants control the kids.”
The starting quarterback for the Tulane team that goes to Syracuse is Nick Montana, a 6-3, 208-pound transfer whose father is NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, who played at Notre Dame. Nick Montana signed with Washington before enrolling at Mt. San Antonio Junior College.
“I idolized his dad,” first-year Orange coach Scott Shafer said. “I was a quarterback in college [at Ohio University] and, holy cow, you see the Montana name, you know that guy was the best. His son knows how to play the game.”
Marshall starting defensive tackle Brandon Sparrow, a former All-Timesland pick from Liberty High School, is questionable for Saturday’s game at Virginia Tech because of a sprained right ankle. Sparrow started every game for Marshall last year, when he had 52 tackles and five sacks, as well as the first two games this season.
A moment of silence was observed at Hampden-Sydney’s opener in honor of Roanoke businessman Mike Warner, a former high-school coach and Tigers’ fan who passed away earlier this summer.
“It was very powerful, [with] 115 kids on one knee,” said Hampden-Sydney coach Marty Favret, one of the pallbearers at Warner’s funeral in Roanoke. “I cried like a baby before kickoff.”
Joey Kernan, grandson of Warner’s brother, Denny, caught a touchdown pass in the Tigers’ 42-12 win over Averett.
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