On his teleconference on Tuesday, Virginia coach Tony Bennett referred to freshman point guard Teven Jones as a "pleasant surprise." It got me thinking: Who has been been UVa's most pleasant surprise this season?
It's really a pretty tough question to answer.
Jones has been instrumental in Virginia recovering from a 1-2 start. His point-guard skills were so badly needed.
However, statistically speaking, junior Akil Mitchell and sophomore Darion Atkins have been much more impressive.
Who in their right mind thought that Mitchell would evolve into such a double-double machine? The junior averaged 4.1 points and 4.4 rebounds last season, but is somehow averaging 13.4 points and 9.2 rebounds this season. The dude has scored in double figures in all but one game! He's definitely been making some people say, "Mike who?"
And what about Atkins? We all figured the sophomore could be a human pogo stick on defense and get some garbage points on the inside, but what about some of these low-post moves we've been seeing out of him? He is looking so confident right now.
But I guess, if you put the proverbial gun to my head, I would have to pick Jones as the team's most pleasant surprise.
Nobody that I talked to during the summer and even into this preseason seemed to think that he would be able to perform like he has. I guess some guys just play better when you put them under the lights, in real game situations.
The best part about Jones is that he seems to have a lot of room for growth. Bennett has talked enthusiastically about his jumper.
If Jones starts knocking down perimeter shots, look out. We already have seen that he can run a team and play defense. If Jones proves he can shoot, too, then I might have to start putting some stock in those reports I heard on Jones coming out of Fishburne that referred to him as "Jontel with a jumper."
No offense, Jontel.