VCU opened its Franklin Street gym doors this evening and gave a group of media members the first glimpse of a Shaka Smart lead VCU basketball team. We at Ram Nation have had the privilege of being able to cover VCU hoops for some time now, but have never had a Coach allow access to an actual practice…so we owe ya one Coach (and you too Scott Day, VCU SID).
We were able to catch the tail end of practice which consisted of a whole lot of free throw shooting and a little bit of film on Virginia Union. The guys looked great at the stripe in the practice facility but things are naturally a bit different in front of a crowd of 7,500. Afterwards Coach Smart took questions. A couple of highlight quotes from Coach Smart…
On players stepping up
“Guys like Ed Nixon, Brandon Rozzell, I think you’re gonna see an added role for them compared to previous years”.
On Wake Forest transfer, Jaime Skeen
“Jaime’s been terrific in practice. Unfortunately he’s not allowed to play on thursday or our first eight games of the year. So he’s still sitting out due to his transfer. But he’s been great in practice. He’s been one of our better guys. He’s great at putting the ball in the basket, and let’s face it…that’s a big part of what this game is about”
On where they are at as a team
“We have three simple rules on this court: play hard, play smart, and think team. We need to keep making progress in those areas. We’re far from a finished product but if we keep getting a little bit better every day we’re gonna be in great shape when it counts.”
On injured sophomore Terrance Saintil
“It’s a big lose because Terrance was a guy that definitely was gonna provide depth for us up front. He’s got tremendous energy and activity around the basket so not having him in there for probably at least the next couple of months definitely hurts. But Terrance is a guy that heals fast, Terrance is a guy that understands what it means to come back from injury because he’s done that before. So in terms of redshirting him that definitely hasn’t been decided yet. We’ll figure out how quickly he can come back from his injury.”
On the LaSalle scrimmage
“Not really allowed to talk about it just because it was a close scrimmage, but we did learn a bit about ourselves. Saw a lot of good things, saw some things we need to get better at. But again I think what we know is that we’re gonna have some pretty good depth and be able to play a lot of guys”