Joey Rodriguez: Previewing the 2014-15 Rams
This is definitely the most exciting time for sports fans. This week alone we have the World Series, NCAA football, NFL, and the opening week of the NBA season. But for those of us that bleed black and gold, the only thing we are ALL excited about is the upcoming VCU basketball season. VCU is picked unanimously to take home the A-10 title and make some noise in March, which is to be expected from a program that has grown to what we all one day envisioned could happen with our University.
I have some thoughts on the upcoming season that I wanted to share with Ram Nation…
I really expect so much out of these guys. A lot has been talked about the young guns coming in, but the seniors have really kept the momentum that was created even before our 2011 year and carried it to a level that we have never really experienced. The past two years we have had more games on TV than I could ever remember. 50 straight sell outs, suites at the Stu. We pushed the NBA scouts to the top corner and now we are sitting courtside in Richmond, and the most important thing… a whole lot of wins! I really hope these guys have a whole lot of success this year and especially in March! JG (Jarred Guest) has been a great ambassador of VCU. He does not get the praise and attention like the other guys but he’s respected and enjoyed by all his teammates. He is always positive and I expect a big impact from him. I really do believe with his effort he can lead the A-10 in rebounds. Bri has been my favorite Ram to watch. Kid is a warrior and has put himself in a great position for his future, but I think I speak for everyone when I say that it is time to take his game to another level. I can tell you that the kid can score. He can shoot the ball as well and I think he will do that consistently this year. Tre Graham is a beast and I expect a big year all over the court from him. At times I find myself wanting him to be even more aggressive but he knows what he is doing. He is one of the best Rams of ALL TIME! Hands down.
I just want people to know that these guys can shoot the ball. Melvin, Doug, JeQuan, Tre, Jordan, and Bri can all make shots. From what I know and have experienced, these guys really put in the work. The scrimmage was not a fluke. I expect these guys to make shots.
I understand how excited you guys are for these freshmen. I am as well but I was also a freshmen! These guys have the luxury of having Coach Smart and his staff! If you can’t play with confidence for that guy then I don’t know where you should go. The size and length of some of those guys with their skill level is what opens my eyes. Johnny can really go! It will take time but I think throughout the year all of these guys will have their moments and will step up collectively.
P.S. I don’t really think of Antravious as a freshmen but he is one. He looks great. He was always working on his game after practice. You guys really do not understand what that entails. It is not easy. He accepted it and I always enjoyed watching him work. I think his future is bright.
Kid can just go. He has put in the work and from what I hear was tough to get out of the gym all summer. May be one of the purest scorers at VCU in a long time (Jamal Shuler his senior year was one of the best ever at getting buckets, btw).
Some adversity to end his freshmen year. I am excited to see how much that motivated him and his growth for this next year. He has the chance to become the next great guard at VCU since Eric Maynor. That is how much raw talent the kid has. Let’s see what happens this sophomore year but know that I believe he will be huge for us this year.
MO, JORDAN, DOUG
Mo was a surprise last year, to be blunt. I knew he was good because Coach Smart does not recruit guys that can’t play. He can have an effect on the game that Larry had at one point for VCU, and at 6’6. I wish he was on my team my senior year, geez! Jordan Burgess will be very important to the success of the team this year. He will have to step up and I have no doubt he will. He is scary on the court.Jordan is one tough hard nosed kid that can bring a different dimension to this group. Doug Brooks can score the ball. He can have a impact on the team like Brandon Rozzell had for us. He still has a ways to go but I am confident in his skills and I have seen him get buckets and go off at times. Just so we are straight with my comparison, I am not saying he is Brandon, who in my opinion was our best guard in March of 2011.
It looks amazing! Now we get the pre game video on a real scoreboard! About 3 years too late, selfishly.
I want to say thanks to the Matts for approaching me about writing throughout the year for VCURamNation.com. I will have blogs purely on basketball, x’s and o’s, etc. I’ll probably write about all the movies I see weekly as well, just because I have an obsession with them! Til next time…