Reaction: VCU v Cal U (PA)
It’s tough draw hard conclusions from last night’s drubbing of DII Cal U (PA), but overall I think VCU fans have to be very pleased with the promise of Havoc 5.0.
This is a very deep VCU team. IF the foul counts soar — as some are expecting with the newly implemented rules — the Rams have a number of capable options. In fact, one of Shaka’s biggest challenges this year may be finding that perfect combo to max out point production with so many options at his disposal . Overall no player saw more than 24 minutes in last night’s scrimmage (Briante Weber led the team with those 24). Odds are that won’t be the case in Friday’s regular season opener versus Illinois State. Last season five players played over 24 minutes per game with Juvonte Reddic leading the team at 27.9 per contest.
The best way to get an idea of the Rams likely rotation this season would be to look at the first half box score minutes from last night’s game.
1) Treveon Graham – 15
2) Juvonte Reddic – 13
3) Briante Weber – 12
4) Rob Brandenberg – 11
5) Terrance Shannon – 11
6) Melvin Johnson – 10
7) Jordan Burgess – 10
8) JeQuan Lewis – 7
9) Mo Alie-Cox – 6
10) Doug Brooks – 4
11) Jairus Lyles – 1
Antravious Simmons and walk-ons Torey Burston and Emerson Burke made brief appearances in the second half while injured junior, Jarred Guest, sat out the night. I could imagine a scenario where Coach Smart chooses redshirt Simmons due to the Rams’ current front court depth, giving the freshman a year to work on his body and game while VCU starts two talented senior bigs (Reddic and Shannon) with junior Guest and redshirt freshman Alie-Cox using the remaining front court minutes alongside smaller looks that will utilize Graham and Burgess.
Get used to a frustrating year Ram fans. VCU committed just 14 fouls in last night’s win versus 31 fouls in the Rams refereed scrimmage against Wake Forest, the kind of inconsistency in calls that is sure to have fans frustrated this season. Like all seasons, some refs will call games tighter than others, but with the new no hand-check no bump rules in place, fans need to be prepared for long, frustrating nights as some games will be extended due to elevated foul counts by whistle happy referees. VCU has the depth to battle through high foul count games, but how will your 4-year old handle the extra whistles and his new 11PM bed time? Good luck on the drive home Ram fans.
Darius Theus may have graduated but his famous sign-waving dad has returned to the Siegel Center with a new one that reads, “VCU #2 IS MY NEW SON”. Theus’ father became a fan favorite with his support of his talented point guard son, and so far returns seem to suggest that his new favorite point guard is up to this year’s challenge. VCU’s No.2, Briante Weber (a Tidewater native like Theus) handled his starting point guard duties with ease, dishing a total of 9 assists to just 3 turnovers in 24 minutes of play last night. Weber added 8 points on 50% shooting from the field, going 1-1 from long range as well.
VCU’s all-time 3-point leader, Troy Daniels, may have graduated, but that didn’t stop the Rams from shooting an impressive 45% from distance last night. VCU hit 9-of-20 shots from long range getting five long range makes from their freshman. The Rams shot 35.5% from distance as a team last season.
STUDENT SECTION PROBLEMS
Just a one-game sample but early returns from VCU’s new student ticketing system suggest we may have a problem. Large sections of student seating went bare last night despite students having claimed all their allotted tickets. Last season student seating came on a wait-in-line first come first serve basis, packing the Siegel Center but sometimes leaving unsatisfied customers unable to get in at the end of the line. Working with students, VCU implemented a new seating system where students claim their tickets prior to the game, thus avoiding the uncertainty of whether or not they would get into the games after waiting in long, sometimes cold and rainy lines. Word from last night (outside of the obviously empty sections) were the majority of students who claimed their tickets ended up not using them. Update: Word is fans who don’t use their claimed tickets twice get locked out of the system for future games, so no more no-shows folks or your tickets are gone for good.