Tony Bennett admits with a chuckle that he may be dating himself when he says that growing up, he was a big fan of Mark Price and Isiah Thomas -- a pair of NBA All-Stars in the 1980s.
Bennett said he's been reminded of the two point guards when watching Virginia Tech senior guard Erick Green. Bennett's Virginia team visits the Hokies in Blacksburg on Thursday.
"He's really complete. You can't just take away one thing and say, "All right, we've got him." And I like that," Bennett said. "And he does have the ability to make his teammates better."
Thursday night's game is a match-up of Virginia's stingy defense -- the Cavaliers are allowing 50.6 points-per-game, the second-lowest total in the country -- against Green, who leads the country in scoring with a 24.6 ppg average.
Green is coming off a 22-point performance in Virginia Tech's 66-65 win at home over Wake Forest on Saturday. That same day, Virginia beat Florida State 56-36 in Charlottesville, matching the lowest point total ever for a Virginia ACC opponent.
Bennett says "he's up there" when asked where Green ranks among individual players his team has had to prepare for this season. Bennett also compared Green, a Winchester native, to his teammate during his first two seasons in Blacksburg, Malcolm Delaney.
"He stuck around. He's been patient. He's that much better this year than he was last year and the previous years," Bennett said of Green. "So he's kind of followed the natural progression, and made the most of it."