On the day that practice officially tips off for the Virginia men's basketball team, former Cavalier Rick Carlisle returned to grounds as the guest speaker for the UVa Third Year Ring Ceremony on Friday.
Carlisle is entering his sixth season as head coach of the Dallas Mavericks, the team he coached to an NBA title in 2011.
Despite his busy schedule during basketball season, Carlisle says he still keeps track of his former team.
"From afar, I follow the program," he said Friday. "I've become friends with Coach Bennett. I think he's the right guy to be here and see this thing back to where it should be, and I'm excited for their season."
Carlisle played at UVa from 1982-1984 and was a co-captain on the 1984 Final Four team. After following the team through up and down years, he says this team has the talent and depth to succeed.
"If they have a tough loss, I'll usually hear about that one pretty quick if it's the alma mater of some other guy that's on the team or on the staff, but I don't think that's going to be happening much this year."