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Insider

Tony Bennett has found his recruiting niche

10/28/2014

Heading into the 2014-15 season, Virginia is being discussed among the top teams in the country (No. 9 in ESPN.com’s Power Rankings), and coach Tony Bennett is regarded as one of the better coaches in the loaded ACC. The momentum has carried over to the recruiting trail, too: Bennett is recruiting to his system, finding players that fit, and landing high-major transfers.

But it didn’t always line up perfectly for Bennett and Virginia. Four members of his six-player 2010 class -- his first full recruiting class with the Cavaliers -- transferred. Three of his first four top-100 recruits left the program.

It took awhile for Bennett to really find his groove in Charlottesville, but he has been very good with unheralded prospects and under-recruited, back-end top-100 players. Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell were both three-star prospects coming out of high school but had terrific four-year careers for the Cavaliers. Justin Anderson and Mike Tobey were top-100 prospects but have bought into their roles in Virginia’s system. Anthony Gill transferred in from South Carolina but had no qualms playing a bench role behind Mitchell and Tobey last season.