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From redshirt to team captain, Devon Hall leaves behind silent legacy for men’s basketball

“U.Va. has set a foundation for my future,” Hall said.

<p>After never playing a game his first year, Devon Hall went on to be a leader for the Virginia men's basketball team.</p>

After never playing a game his first year, Devon Hall went on to be a leader for the Virginia men's basketball team.

Nearly six years ago, when men’s basketball star Devon Hall visited Grounds looking to commit to a program, he was also searching for something even more important than basketball — a family away from home. 

"It was the family atmosphere that drew me to U.Va.,” Hall said. “The coaches were pretty honest with me as to what I was capable of and what their vision was for me and the team. They were very nurturing as a coaching staff and it kind of felt like family. That’s what really drew me in."

Hall never played in a game his first year — instead, he was asked to redshirt for a year to both grow and develop his skills. Rather than be discouraged, the Virginia Beach native worked hard everyday to improve himself both on and and off the court. 

“It’s something you have to do — trust the process,” Hall said. “Believe in yourself and believe in what you can do.”

Hall said he saw his first year redshirting as an opportunity to learn from some of the other incredible players on the team, like Justin Anderson and Malcolm Brogdon — both of whom are now in the National Basketball Association. 

"When you're first coming in, you have to be able to learn from some of the older guys what are the right and wrong things to do,” Hall said. “There was a learning curve and things to adjust to but it was really great, and I enjoyed it."

Hall would go on to be one of the most impactful, consistent and driven players to play for Virginia. Having been a part of the program for five years, Hall has been able to witness firsthand some of the most memorable moments on the court. From the deep run in the NCAA tournament in the 2015-16 season to multiple ACC regular season and tournament championships, Hall has been a mainstay and a vital part to Virginia’s recent successes. 

Hall attributed most of his growth as both a player and a leader to his dedication to basketball, both on and off the court.

“Whatever you do, just play as hard as possible,” he said. “You can't ever dial back when it comes to effort.  You give it everything you got, and when you have questions, you ask and you learn. I think that was the biggest thing for me — asking questions when I didn't know, and sometimes being able to figure things out on my own was huge for me.” 

Hall was able to see that development shine through in his efforts on the court this year, being one of the most consistent players on both offense and defense. Averaging 11.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, Hall was also able to give a lift to the team when it was needed most. Against NC State, Hall was able to score a career-high 25 points against the Wolfpack. 

Hall also served alongside senior Isaiah Wilkins and junior Jack Salt as team captains this year, and they were able to put to rest any concerns about the quality of the team following the graduation of London Perrantes and the loss of three transfers. Despite this change, Hall said that there was never much of a difference between this year's team and earlier ones.  

“ I don’t know if I can necessarily say if we are that much [a] different team,” Hall said. “I've been a part of five tight-knit groups. People might say that this year was a little bit different because this has probably been the most successful team that Coach [Tony] Bennett has had at U.Va. So people might go to that, but we've always been good at connecting on and off the court. "

The 2017-18 season was cut short for Virginia after a stunning loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Even with emotions running high after the loss, Hall and much of the team was able to turn this loss into an opportunity to both learn and reflect. 

"In life, there's gonna be some type of failure. You can't expect to have all the ups without any of the kinds of downs,” Hall said. “You just have to learn from it — what went wrong, what you could have done better, how you could have helped the team, what could you have done to put us in a better position to be successful. And looking at preparation— did we prepare as well as we should have? Wins or losses, we're still learning.”

Moving on from Virginia basketball, Hall said he  is confident that the team will be able to step up and fill and improve on his role as a leader on the team. 

“I’ll miss playing here,” Hall said. “It was a hell of a ride and super fun — but the guys are ready to step up into those roles. They're ready to lead and be more aggressive, to pick up the slack and even be better than we were this year. Next year's team has the ability to be really good.” 

Hall said he is incredibly grateful for all the amazing experiences that he’s had at U.Va., and from the incredible support for both him and the team for the past few years. 

“U.Va. has set a foundation for my future,” Hall said. “The community was amazing. They were behind the team the entire way, and I've been able to create relationships that go way past basketball.”

This might not be the last that we see of Hall, though. 

"Moving on from U.Va., I'm looking at playing professionally” Hall said. “I'm in Atlanta right now about to start training. I'm playing the Portsmouth Invitational April 11 and am gonna get ready from there.”