The guys are putting out some excellent stuff right now, recruiting primers and program goals and re-examining everything, etc. It's truly some awesome, awesome stuff. If you haven't spent hours reading and digesting what Seattle and StLou are writing, I feel sorry for you. You're missing out.
Anyway, I think the 16-1 upset shook us all up, in a lot of different ways.
While I totally appreciate, respect, and admire what Seattle and StLou are doing, I don't think I totally agree with their ultimate point -- I don't think we suffered the 16-1 because of our crappy offense, or because of specific player limitations, or because of anything scheme, strategy, or ability related. Bad offense and the lack of low post scoring certainly didn't help, but I think we fell victim to that historic Tournament upset (and to the Florida shellacking last year, and to the Syracuse upset the year before, and to both Michigan State rockfights, and to the Florida woodshedding before that) for one reason and one reason alone: a lack of chutzpah.
Yeah, I said it.
Virginia has sucked in the NCAA Tournament, because the NCAA Tournament requires guys with enough nuts to dive beak-first into a fight. Joe Harris and Malcolm Brogdon kinda had it, kinda sorta. Anthony Gill kinda sorta. London Perrantes had some temerity, Ty Jerome is a bit of a firebrand, but otherwise our rosters have been fairly glass-jawed and lacking confidence when confidence is what matters most. In my opinion, and I think we can all agree... we need some dogs. We need some motherfuckers. We need some guys fully capable and comfortable with heroball, when heroball is what's required to spark the team and fend off an inferior opponent who is mounting a challenge. Swagger, confidence, self-belief. We need players with chutzpah.
Enter Casey Morsell.
He's talented, he's (to use a Tonyism) complete, and he's dynamic. Best - and most importantly - he's a friggin dog who oozes chutzpah. I believe that his intangibles on top of his abilities add up to Casey Morsell being Tony Bennett's best recruit at UVA. Yeah, I said it. Boom.
Okay, hot take, no substance to back it up. Guilty. As. Charged. But let me breathlessly say: Morsell is a 6-2 guard with the arm length and reach of a player much taller (he's got a short neck, y'all). He scores from all three levels, featuring a burgeoning jumper and a panache for slashing to the rim. He's not a leaper, and he doesn't have elite speed, but he's a plus-level athlete in terms of lateral movement; a key for any Packliner, with the focus on footsliding and all that. His handle - at times shaky, earlier in his prep career just plan sloppy - is improving.
By prevalent Hoofan filmwatchers, he's been compared favorably to Roger Mason. And J.R. Reynolds. And Malcolm Brogdon. That's high cotton. It also happens to be the short list of our three best off-guards this century. My comp is a non-Hoo -- Darren Collison. Like Collison, in Morsell I see a guy who is very capable off the bounce, with a nice pull-up jumper; he scores at a high rate when he puts the ball on the floor. He can score one-on-one and uses screens well to get his shot off. His catch and shoot ability needs to be honed, but he doesn't force anything and his offensive tools are conducive to success in most situations.
His game is all there. Plus - PLUS! - he's a Joe Harris-esque gym rat. Damn right I'm using the gym rat cliché! Because the thing is, Morsell has things to work on, but he's always working. The year over year improvement is going to be breathtaking once he's at UVA.
His game is all there, plus he's a worker. Plus - PLUS! - he's a great citizen. He's humble, passionate, thankful, respectful, soft-spoken, team-oriented, studious, driven. All five pillars are in place, and he might even add one or two more pillars under the pergola.
His game is all there, plus he's a worker, plus he's a model citizen. Plus - PLUS! - he's competitive as hell, confident, and has that Sean Singletaryian "dawg" in his game. He's confident. He runs to the roar. He's a scraper. Whoops, typo, I meant he's a scrapper. But fuck it, he's a scraper, too. He's everything we needed after 8/12 and 16-1, and he's willing to take on the challenge of joining this Virginia squad under the mushroom cloud of the UMBC cataclysm. To me, that means a lot. To me, that means everything.
So, yeah, Casey Morsell has chutzpah. That wouldn't matter if he didn't also have game, but HE HAS GAME.
Easy choice, Casey Morsell is my favorite recruit of the Tony Bennett era. Slide over, Malcolm Brogdon. Step aside, Kyle Guy. Scooch, Ty Jerome. Move over, Joe Harris. Casey Morsell is in the house, and the Hoos' glass jaw may never shatter again.