UVa's Brogdon, Gill Eager to Contribute After Missed Season

Malcolm Brogdon says his mind keeps wandering toward next November.

"I can't stop thinking about this coming season," Brogdon, a redshirt sophomore guard on the Virginia basketball team, said recently. "We got the addition of (Anthony Gill) coming, he's a really good player. And we have those freshmen that have grown a little bit. Joe Harris and all the other guys."

"So I think we have a chance to be really good this season."

Brogdon didn't mention another reason for optimism for the Virginia basketball program when looking ahead to next year -- his healthy return. Brogdon missed the final four games of his freshman season in 2011-12, then all of last season while recovering from a broken bone in his left foot.

Brogdon only started one of his 28 games during his freshman season at Virginia, but was typically the first player off the bench for coach Tony Bennett. He averaged 6.7 points per game, and finished third on the team with 38 assists.

"It was hard," he said of missing last season. "I feel like I went through different stages. At first, it was like disbelief. I couldn't believe I was sitting out, never thought I'd get injured like that."

But Brogdon says the foot is "about 90 percent," and that he recently returned to playing five-on-five basketball with his teammates.

"I wasn't sure I was always going to get to this point," Brogdon said. "Because it's a long process, the injury process. There are doubts and everything. But I've gotten here, and I'm thankful for it."

Typically sitting next to Brogdon at the end of the Virginia bench last season was Gill, a sophomore forward. Like Brogdon, Gill redshirted last season, after transferring from South Carolina.

"Just being out there in practice all year was tough. Just to practice, to work hard and not be able to play in games," Gill said. "Coach looks down at the bench and he sees you, but you can't go in. So I mean, it was pretty tough."

Gill played in all 31 games during his freshman season at South Carolina, including 26 starts. He averaged 7.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.

Next year, Brogdon and Gill will be added to the mix of returning players from last year's team that won 23 games and reached the quarterfinals of the NIT. Last season's top five scorers -- Joe Harris, Akil Mitchell, Justin Anderson, Mike Tobey, and Evan Nolte -- will all be back. The Cavaliers will also add incoming freshman guards London Perrantes and Devon Hall.

And after having possibly the two best seats at John Paul Jones Arena last season, Brogdon and Gill can't wait to contribute.

"I just want to help the team as much as I can," said Gill. "So whatever that means, whatever Coach Bennett wants me to do, I'm excited for it."

"I think if we all buy in, and we all play together, and we sell into what Coach Bennett teaches us every day in practice," said Brogdon, "I think we have a chance to do something special."

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