College Basketball Nation: Sylven Landesberg

Landesberg lands in Israel

July, 26, 2010
The college career of Virginia guard Sylven Landesberg ended with a whimper. The guard was suspended at the end of his sophomore season for academic reasons by Virginia coach Tony Bennett, and the beginning of that suspension was the beginning of the end of Landesberg's collegiate hoops career.

Then, instead of coming back for his junior year, Landesberg decided to take his talent to the NBA, where he went undrafted before playing a few summer league games with the Sacramento Kings.

Now, Landesberg has found a pro hoops home; he signed a two-year contract with Israeli power Maccabi Haifa. Considering the way the guard's college career ended, it's not the worst outcome in the world. Haifa is a bigtime pro destination and NBA scouts will have plenty of access to Landesberg's game footage. There's a chance, albeit small, that the guard finds a way to the NBA sooner rather than later.

It's unfortunate for Virginia that Landesberg couldn't rein in his academic issues and make a go of it as a junior. Virginia was never going to compete for the ACC title in 2010-11, but Landesberg could have been a star. But his story could still have a happy ending, and I suppose that counts as good news.

Halftime thoughts: Virginia 34, BC 27

March, 11, 2010
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- I hadn't seen Tony Bennett coach in person for a couple of years, since he had it rolling at Washington State. I forgot how much I like watching him work and his teams play. Bennett is involved without being insane. He's more of a supporter than a screamer. He'll correct, but then he'll let mistakes go and move on to the next possession. Just wait until he's got enough good players in Charlottesville; they'll compete for league titles.
  • The Cavaliers are competing over their heads today. Lacking leading scorer Sylven Landesberg, suspended for academic reasons for the remainder of the season, they are running poised offense and getting timely shots from several players -- most notably guard Sammy Zeglinski, who came in averaging 8.8 points per game and has 16 at intermission. Wow. Virginia has made 6 of 11 3-point shots.
  • Boston College, meanwhile, has 17 combined points from Reggie Jackson and Rakim Sanders, and 10 from everyone else. Leading scorer Joe Trapani was 0-for-6.
  • There are a lot of empty green seats here, but the atmosphere isn't as crypt-like as I've seen at some matinee quarterfinal games in other leagues. ACC fans are more willing to turn out to watch teams they're not affiliated with than a lot of other conferences. Good fans.
  • That said, there are plenty of word-of-mouth stories about this being a surprisingly soft ticket. When the tourney is in Greensboro, tickets are legendarily hot items -- but the balky economy and miserable status of North Carolina and North Carolina State are being blamed for the downturn in interest this year.
  • Duke assistants Chris Collins and Steve Wojciechowski are scouting this one from the baseline, since the Blue Devils will play the winner tomorrow. They don't look overly concerned.

Naismith Award nominees down to 30

February, 24, 2010
The Atlanta Tipoff Club, which awards the Naismith each year, has narrowed its preseason list of 50 "watch" players down to the much more manageable 30 -- what it calls its midseason candidates list, even if, on Feb. 24, the whole "midseason" thing is a bit of a misnomer. But that's beside the point. The point is that we have 30 players to mull over now. True, most of the list won't even crack consideration for the final player of the year award, which is almost certainly going to go to Ohio State's Evan Turner or Kentucky's John Wall. But the tally is fun to look at anyway.

One minor quibble: The list of 30 manages to include six ACC players -- just one behind the Big East's leading seven -- without including Virginia Tech guard Malcolm Delaney, who happens to be leading the conference in scoring with 20.2 points per game for a 21-5 Tech team that's overcome its horrid nonconference schedule to (probably) play its way into the NCAA tournament. Nothing against Al-Farouq Aminu or Gani Lawal or Sylven Landesberg or Trevor Booker but it's hard to see how you could include those four and leave Delaney off the sheet.

Anyway, the full list is after the jump. Other quibbles? Let's hear 'em in the comments.

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