University of Virginia sophomore basketball star Justin Anderson mingles with U.Va. alumni Randy and Phyllis Shannon of Portsmouth at a VAF Spring Social on Wednesday in Suffolk.
University of Virginia sophomore basketball star Justin Anderson mingles with U.Va. alumni Randy and Phyllis Shannon of Portsmouth at a VAF Spring Social on Wednesday in Suffolk.

Local Wahoo fans get fuel for their fire

Published 10:03pm Thursday, May 1, 2014

Local University of Virginia sports fans enjoyed an opportunity to mingle with, listen to and pose questions for Cavaliers football coach Mike London and basketball standout Justin Anderson on Wednesday at the Hilton Garden Inn in Suffolk.

It was part of the Virginia Athletics Foundation Spring Social Tour, which celebrates the commitment of donors and fans, the success of U.Va. student-athletes and the excitement surrounding U.Va. athletics.

“I thought it went great,” said Billy Chorey Sr., a U.Va. alum who serves as a “host facilitator” for the local event. “We had a great crowd considering the weather.”

He said as many as 100 were originally expected, but estimated 80 to 90 from all over the area still came, braving heavy rain and a tornado watch.

Emceeing the event was Dave Koehn, the director of broadcasting for Virginia Sports Properties and the “Voice of the Cavaliers” for football, men’s basketball and baseball.

He thanked local VAF members for their generosity, as did VAF executive director Dirk Katstra, who highlighted Virginia’s four Atlantic Coast Conference championships so far for the 2013-14 season.

“That’s just what we strive for, in Charlottesville, each and every day, and we couldn’t have done it without you,” Katstra said to those in attendance.

He cited the need for not only an increase in amounts per donation but also an expansion of the VAF’s donor base to keep up with the rise in college costs. Tuition will soon rise by five percent, increasing scholarship costs by $750,000.

ACC Sixth Man of the Year Justin Anderson regaled fans with insights into the recent basketball season. The Cavaliers were ACC tournament champions for the first time since 1976 and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1995.

He acknowledged his energizing role on the team, but said the season “wasn’t what an individual did,” but what the team accomplished.

Asked what advice he would give some young athletes present, he encouraged them to enjoy their sport but be engaged academically. He compared staying standing on top of a basketball versus a stack of books as a metaphor for career length and stability via athletics and academics, respectively.

Anderson eventually wants to be a sports broadcaster.

Coach Mike London spoke about how consistency in leadership will help the Cavaliers in 2014 after a disappointing 2-10 season last year.

London said the yet-to-be-announced starting quarterback is set. He also talked about the state of the offensive line and a tall receiving corps and identified standouts from spring football, like Taquan Mizzell.

Despite a poor season, Virginia brought in two of the top 10 recruits in the nation, both from Hampton Roads. London said relationship-building was the key.

“I knew Quin Blanding and Andrew Brown when they were freshmen in high school,” London said.

He also spoke about how Brown, from Oscar Smith High School, is one of two recruits who are midyear enrollees, already attending U.Va.

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