The Rams join a list of nominees that include NBA stars Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose, golfer Ryo Ishikaw and soccer star Abby Wambach.
Sports Illustrated will announce its winner on Dec. 6th.
A small sample of why Davis nominated the basketball underdog that won the heart of the nation this past March and into April:
America loves an underdog, and for three weeks in March, the nation was smitten with Shaka Smart and his VCU Rams. This underdog was no docile Labrador or shiny-haired collie. It was, rather, a cold, wet, mangy mutt — one that had been spit on, stepped on, put upon, and kicked to the curb by all those so-called experts in their temperature-controlled studios. For proving so many people so wrong, for reminding us of the incomparable power of belief, for delighting and enchanting and entertaining us, for seizing one teachable moment after another, and for putting together the most improbable Final Four run in the 72-year history of the NCAA tournament, the VCU Smart Alecks are my choice to be Sports Illustrated’s 2011 Sportsmen of the Year.