The Virginia men’s basketball team may have lost star Mike Scott to the NBA, but Coach Tony Bennett could at least take solace this offseason that the Cavaliers would have more depth than last year, when his roster was gutted by injuries and transfers.
Those reserves, particularly in the back court, will get tested early.
Virginia announced that senior point guard Jontel Evans underwent surgery Tuesday on his right foot and will miss approximately six weeks. Evans first began feeling pain in his foot during workouts last week and had a stress fracture diagnosed.
The Hampton native started all 32 games last season, when the Cavaliers finished with a 22-10 record and qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007. Evans earned all-ACC defensive team honors and averaged 7.3 points, 3.9 assists, two rebounds and 1.6 steals per game.
Evans’s absence will likely thrust freshmen guards Teven Jones and Taylor Barnette into prominent roles throughout training camp and into the beginning of the regular season. Sophomore Malcolm Brogdon could also pick up some of the ball-handling duties.
A six-week recovery would mean Evans could return on Nov. 13 when Virginia is in the midst of preliminary games for the NIT Season Tipoff. The Cavaliers will take on Fairfield on Nov. 12 and then either Pennsylvania or Delaware the following night. If it wins both games, Virginia would advance to the semifinal round of the tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York over the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Cavaliers open the regular season with a road game at George Mason on Nov. 9.