When looking at Jay Huff’s career I’m sure most people reading this are getting ready to tweet at me and say I don’t know what I’m talking about but here’s my thinking. Jay Huff averaged 8.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game last season in his first season as a full-time starter. I am extremely confident in this take, I think he’s the best player on the best team in the conference. Huff is something that Virginia doesn’t usually have a 7’1 guy who can shoot three’s. He’s a great modern day NBA big man and I think he’ll carve out a solid role. This if Huff’s fifth season in Charlottesville in his first season he red-shirted, then the next two be was relegated to a bench role. He has a National Championship and got to learn from some great players before it’s his turn to be the guy, it’s his time
I think down the stretch, people started to see how good Huff could be if he was used more often. The games I look at are the game against Duke, Huff had 15 Points, 9 Rebounds, and 10 Blocks and the game-winning block when Vernon Carey Jr. had a wide open lane to the rack and he had his shot blocked and Virginia won. Then I look at the game on the road against Miami, a 46-44 Virginia win. In that game, Huff had the Cavaliers first 17 points. He made 3 three’s in that stretch and then struggled and didn’t score the rest of the game, I just loved what he did in the first 15 minutes there. It just showed his takeover ability, he can use his size to get to the rack, pick and pop and get a three, post up on the block. He’s not an elite athlete by an stretch but he’s a 7’1” guy who’s a good shooter and defender, what more can you want.
Huff only had a 18.6% Usage rate, which was good for fourth on his team behind Mamadi Diakite, Kihei Clark, and Braxton Key. Obviously 2 of the 3 being Diakite and Key are gone this season which obviously helps Huff become a star quite a bit.
Here’s the Virginia Lineup for next season:
PG: Kihei Clark
SG: Tomas Woldetensae
SF: Jabri Abdur-Rahim
PF: Sam Hauser (Marquette)
C: Jay Huff
Bench: Casey Morsell, Kody Stattmann, Carson McCorkie, Reece Beekman, Francisco Caffaro,
I think just a higher usage rate will be the main reason Huff is able to win the ACC player of the year . Huff is the best player on a very talented team but you can make the argument how it’s tough for a Virginia player to win that award since the style they play is slow. That’s fair, I think Huff will put up 15/10/4 blocks, that’s too good to not give the award to him, especially if Virginia wins the league as they are expected to.