The potential savior of the Virginia men's basketball program didn't start his team's exhibition game last night at University Hall. For the first 51/2 minutes, freshman point guard Sean Singletary watched from the bench as sophomore incumbent T.J. Bannister got the Cavaliers started toward a 121-29 win against Division III Lehman College in Charlottesville.

Singletary got his chance soon enough. Greeted by scattered cheers from a sparse crowd, the 6-foot Philadelphian set about showing 1,511 of his new home fans why he was one of the nation's top point guard recruits last year.

He caught an awkward pass in traffic on the break and in one motion tossed it up to Adrian Joseph for a thunderous dunk. He led another fast break -- Virginia had too many to count -- and made what was a sound decision to pull up for a soft jumper. He zipped a pass to J.R. Reynolds for an open three-pointer, then nailed a three of his own when Reynolds returned the favor minutes later.

Singletary hit 4 of 7 shots, including 2 of 2 three-pointers, for 10 points. He also had seven assists and one turnover.

Singletary won't have to do it alone, not with Bannister back after starting 10 of the final 11 games last year. But the reigning Philadelphia player of the year, a prodigious talent who drew invitations last summer to play with local NBA players, is a big part of Virginia's plan to return to the NCAA tournament after a three-year absence.

"He's quick. He's quick as a cat," Coach Pete Gillen said.

-- Jim Reedy