UVA men’s basketball ready to begin play as defending national champions

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Wednesday night, the University of Virginia men's basketball team takes the court as defending national champions.

UVA's roster looks much different than it did last year. The Cavaliers' three best players from the 2018-19 season, Kyle Guy (Sacramento Kings), De'Andre Hunter (Atlanta Falcons) and Ty Jerome (Phoenix Suns), are gone and now playing in the NBA.

While last season's biggest playmakers are gone, the team's goal is to carry over the same  principles that brought last year's team success.

"Trying to get everyone on the same page," Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett said."Understand the execution and the tenacity that's required to be a quality team."

"That just goes back to the culture and what those guys like London [Perrantes] and Malcolm Brogdon, what they've established here beforehand," sophomore guard Kihei Clark said. "Just try to keep the culture the same."

"They hold us to a high standard," senior guard Braxton Key said. "The first day the young guys get here, they give them basically a handbook of does and don'ts.

"It's on us, me, Momadi [Diakite], Jay [Huff] and Kihei, guys that are returners that played a lot, to set the tone and let them know that this is business and there's no joking around once you get on the court."

UVA is ranked No. 11 in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 Poll.

The Wahoos open the season with Atlantic Coast Conference play, facing Syracuse at 9 p.m. Wednesday night.

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