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Circling Back

Posted on February 7, 2018, in Our Blog by Seattle Hoo.

Devon Hall has started every game since midway through his sophomore campaign.  The first game in that string was the last time UVA visited Florida State.  Coming into the 2015-16 season, Virginia needed to replace the departed Justin Anderson in the rotation and starting lineup.  The sophomore trio of Hall, Darius Thompson and Marial Shayok - at some point the following season to earn the informal nickname Cerberus in some circles - were all candidates.  It was a difficult decision that Coach Bennett clearly had difficulty making, as none of the trio established himself as the clear frontrunner.  Darius Thompson had first crack at it.  Then it fell to Marial Shayok.  The team continued to struggle with inconsistency, including some horrendous defensive outings, as the veteran leaders contracted Senioritis.

Through it all, Devon Hall gradually distinguished himself as the most fundamentally sound and consistent defender of the Cerberus.  With Malcolm Brogdon hitting the snooze button on his help defense throughout December and January, Devon's off-ball defense was needed.  Following two terrible performances in road losses at the Techs and a shaky home win over Miami, Bennett turned to Hall for the visit to Florida State.  The game ended badly as Brogdon and London Perrantes combined to go 8-30 from the floor and future pros Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley wore out the Virginia defense with the bounce, but Hall was a bright spot. He was efficient with 6 points on 2-3 shooting and 2-2 from the line, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 0 turnovers in 26 minutes.  He played sound positional defense.  The performance earned him another start, and he solidified his grip on the fifth starting spot with his consistently high level defense.  While Shayok had more scoring punch, his defense was mistake-prone, and the Hoos could not afford the breakdowns.