Cavalier Corner

December 2014

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Page 40 of 62

HOO TO WATCH: LONDON PERRANTES While Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell were key com‑ ponents of last year's ACC championship team, London Perrantes was arguably Virginia's most indispensable player. The first‑year point guard from Los Angeles was an extension of head coach Tony Bennett on the floor and helped guide UVa to one of its best seasons ever. In October, Perrantes suffered a foot injury that limited his practice time, but Bennett was still optimistic about him taking another step in his development. "He had a good offseason in terms of develop‑ ing his physical abilities," Bennett said. "I think he's a little stronger, more explosive. He brings that steadying hand to our team that will certainly be important as we get into competition." Last season, Perrantes beat out Teven Jones and Devon Hall for the point guard job en route to making the All‑ACC Freshmen Team. The laid‑back Californian's feel for the game often left television commentators such as Bobby Knight and Jeff Van Gundy gushing. Perrantes ranked first in ACC competition in assist‑to‑turnover ratio (4.47). With the help of strength and conditioning coach Mike Curtis, Perrantes got leaner over the summer. In the pro‑ cess, Curtis believes the 6‑2, 190‑pounder improved both his strength and stamina. Perrantes, who has switched to No. 32 — the number he wore in high school because of Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson — for his sophomore season, feels his added strength will help him finish better around the basket. "There will be some things that people haven't seen from me, but maybe people from high school have," Perrantes said. "I'm just going to do whatever the team asks me to do to win. Last year I did what I did, and now I have to step up my role a little bit." Perrantes shot just 30 percent, including 31 percent from three‑point range, in his first 22 games of last season. However, he shot 49 percent overall and a sizzling 56 percent from three‑point range in his final 15 contests. Per‑ rantes tied the school record by making eight consecutive three‑pointers from Feb. 22 to March 9. "I feel like the confidence that I got with [perimeter shooting] toward the end of the year is definitely going to spill over," Perrantes said. Last season, Perrantes said he knew Virginia didn't need him to score very much. "I felt like we had a lot of offensive weapons and I could just [sit] there and give them the ball," he said. "I feel like I have a lot more." — Whitelaw Reid Last season, Perrantes ranked first in ACC competi- tion in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.47). PHOTO BY JOE ROBBINS/COURTESY UVA

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