Cavalier Corner

February 2018

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24 CAVALIER CORNER Bartley — who Bennett said embodies the team's mantra of serving his teammates before himself — grew up in a family of basketball greatness. His godfathers were former North Carolina point guard Kenny Smith and former Georgia Tech point guard Kenny Anderson, two collegiate stars who went on to play in the NBA. His father, Bryan Bartley, played profes‑ sionally in Portugal and served as an assis‑ tant coach under Jeff Lebo at Auburn. Like a child getting groomed to take over the family business, Bartley's plan was al‑ ways to follow in the footsteps of his deco‑ rated relatives and earn a Division I scholar‑ ship, though he never could have predicted how it would play out. Growing up in Buford, Ga., Bartley made the transition from his public high school squad to play for Montrose Christian Acad‑ emy in Rockville, Md., for the 2013‑14 cam‑ paign — an attempt to master his skill set and gain more exposure from college coaches. He was a model teammate and student, serving as team captain while maintaining a 3.7 GPA. Bartley played well on the court, averag‑ ing 10 points and six rebounds per game and his academic success led to interest from programs like Cornell, Columbia and DePaul. "Coming out of high school, I was com‑ mitted to play at Cornell, but things didn't work out. I decided to play a year at prep school and got a few offers from mid‑major programs, but in the end I was sold on UVA and everything it had to offer." The 6‑5, 212‑pound guard understood the Hoos roster was laden with some of the top talent in the country, and while he might have an uphill climb ahead he embraced the chal‑ lenge. He was equally as interested in the challenges that came with UVA's rigorous aca‑ demic workload and relished the opportunity. On Jan. 3, Bartley — who had never seen action in a game against Virginia Tech dur‑ ing his first two years with the program — prepared like he always does. His fo‑ cus was providing positive support for his teammates, while staying ready in case his number was called. On this night, Bennett's squad was click‑ ing on all fronts. Bartley watched the lead grow, and realized he might get a chance to get in the game. With less than a minute remaining and UVA holding a comfortable lead, Bart‑ ley checked in. He entered the game and drained a three‑pointer, just the second made shot from beyond the arc during his tenure at Virginia. The locker room was a joyous scene and just as he does after every victory, Bartley's focus was on congratulating his teammates. But something was a bit different this time. All of the focus was on the walk‑on reserve guard. "I knew I wanted to do it, but didn't know when," Bennett said. "But with about 30 seconds left in the game I told our captains I was going to award Justice our final scholar‑ ship available. "Justice was so incredibly grateful and it was one of the best moments of the night and season. He's worked so hard behind the scenes, never complaining. "He deserved it." Three years ago, Bartley made a choice. He chose the University of Virginia because he believed he belonged there. On that Janu‑ ary night in Blacksburg, Va., his decision was reaffirmed. His lifelong dream of earning a scholar‑ ship on one of the top collegiate teams in the nation came true, and while it's not always glamorous, Bartley's role on Bennett's squad is a critical one. Head coach Tony Bennett said Bartley embod- ies his squad's mantra of serving your team- mates before yourself. PHOTO BY MATT RILEY/COURTESY UVA JUSTICE IS SERVED Walk-On Justice Bartley's Hard Work Pays Off "It's something I'm going to remember forever. It wasn't just a scholarship for me, it was a scholarship for my whole family. Everyone has ups and downs and things have been hard at times, but the timing was perfect." BARTLEY ON EARNING A SCHOLARSHIP BY SEAN LABAR U VA THIRD-YEAR JUSTICE Bartley has had a long, winding path to earning a roster spot on one of the top college basket‑ ball programs in the country. On a January night earlier this season, the walk‑on's journey culminated when he earned a scholarship from Virginia head coach Tony Bennett. "It's something I'm going to remember forever," Bartley said gleaming with excitement. "It wasn't just a scholarship for me, it was a scholarship for my whole family. "Everyone has ups and downs and things have been hard at times, but the timing was perfect."

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