Press conference nuggets: VCU v Florida, Melvin’s drive, Stu upgrades and more

It’s preseason for all of us, so you’ll have to excuse me for showing up to today’s press conference with a wonderful camera but no SD card to record today’s interview.

Either way, my brain is God’s SD card, and it’s probably got a terabyte of storage left…AT LEAST. Oh and I also recorded the audio into my phone, so here’s some of notes from today’s event.

VCU v Florida
VCU will play Billy Donovan’s Florida Gators in the sunshine state at VCU’s closed-door scrimmage this season. The Gators went 36-3 this past season and are a legit national title contender. You can’t watch that game unfortunately but if we hear anything we’ll certainly let ya know.

Mo Alie-Cox
“He’s been very, very good in our workouts this fall…He is clearly the best of our true frontcourt guys”. Smart commented that Mo is clearly the best front court option for VCU at this moment. Smart later compared Mo’s defense to that of Larry Sanders, saying that he was both great at the back of the press and front of the press.

Terry Larrier, the guard
When I mentioned Terry Larrier was listed as a guard/forward Coach Smart said the 6’8 freshmen should be listed as a guard. Expectations for Larrier may be higher than any player ever to come to VCU, but think about how exciting that simple statement is…a 6’8 player with guard skilsl. Smart added, “I think he’s going to have a big role, I would say similar to a Treveon Graham, a Melvin Johnson did as a freshman, maybe even a little bit more if he can put it together”. That would suggest Larrier could expect around 17 or more minutes as a freshman based off those previous player’s avg minutes (JeQuan Lewis averaged 16 as the most played freshman this past season). Smart expects Larrier to play on the wing opposite Treveon Graham.

Melvin Johnson’s drive
“The best guy over the summer was Melvin Johnson. He might have spent more time at Franklin Street gym than any player we’ve ever had since I’ve been here, probably him and Troy Daniels spent the most time in the time that I’ve been here in a summer in Franklin Street gym. We had to kick him out on multiple occasions and just tell him “hey you gotta take the day off or the rest of the day”…he was going in there three, four five times and just really working at it.

Johnny Williams 
“If we can get him in great shape, which he’s not in right now yet, he’s the fastest guy on our team, quickest guy on our team and I think he’s a guy that you guys will like quite a bit. But again, he’s never in his life been in shape, ever, so we’re working through that process as we speak.” Sounds a lot like me except that he’s fast, quick and really good at basketball. I for one am excited to know that not only do we have a guy joining the team that is faster than both JeQuan Lewis and Briante Weber, but he’s faster than them while being out of shape.

Siegel Center upgrades

VCU's new corner suites provide a luxury option on the main level.
VCU’s new corner suites provide a luxury option on the main level.

I got a chance to look around the Stu while a large crew was working to install the new center-hung video board and sound system. I couldn’t get a full count on the number of speakers but I can tell you they were everywhere and pointed in every direction known to man. They were like Mona Lisa’s eyes but a masterpiece that can play GNR’s “Welcome to the Jungle” louder than Axel had ever imagined. The previous sound system consisted of one ring of speakers at the center of the arena where the new video board will be hung. Coincidentally there are new speakers there now, giant subwoofers that will provide a low end that the early 90s bass scene could only dream about. The new corner suites are a nice addition as well. They probably look somewhat underwhelming from afar but up close I can assure you I would most definitely enjoy watching a game from one of those corners. The mounts for an LED board just under the Tommy J West Club suite are already in place and I was told everything should be installed in the next couple of weeks. Ram fans will have a chance to check out the upgrades at this year’s Black & Gold game on Oct 26 but I would imagine could get an earlier look by attending a volleyball game prior to that.


A two-time graduate of VCU (School of the Arts '07, Center for Sport Leadership '10), Mat is a co-founder of VCU Ram Nation and a longtime fan as the ...