There has been a ton of talk about the word ‘havoc’ following Shaka Smart’s departure to Texas, talk that appears to be cooling down now that the University of Texas has withdrawn its applications to patent the phrases “HORNS HAVOC” and “HOUSE OF HAVOC”.
VCU proclaims “havoc lives here” while some folks believe it belongs to the Rams’ former coach, the coach who mentioned the word in his introductory press conference, only to later see it plastered over every square inch of campus throughout the remainder of his tenure.
But I’m here to tell you that the real home to havoc lies within the heart and soul of a VCU legend. It lies within a player who will return to the Siegel Center this Saturday to accept his greatest award at VCU: his college degree.
That man is Briante Weber and he is havoc personified on the college hardwood.
Weber’s career was shortened just 12 steals away from the NCAA’s all-time record. He would have had 15 games to collect those steals but most likely would have secured the record just four games (maybe three…MAYBE two) after that fateful matchup against rival Richmond.
While his 374 career steals may have come up short, his 8.9% steals percentage this past season was a career-high, and one that came after leading the nation in steals percentage (meaning percentage of the times he stole the ball from the opposition while he was on the court) his previous three seasons as a D1 college basketball player. He’s the only player to lead the nation in that stat every season of his college career since kenpom has been recording it.
Weber’s Rams led the nation as a team in defensive turnover percentage in all three of his complete seasons at VCU, only to see the team average dip to seventh nationally this year with Weber down due to injury. The Rams forced a team-high 28.5% turnover percentage during Weber’s sophomore season, his first season of three as a conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Prior to Weber’s arrival Shaka Smart’s Rams ranked 62nd nationally in defensive turnover percentage. Future Atlantic 10 foe, Duquesne, led the nation in the stat that season. Havoc did not live in Pittsburgh, PA that year.
VCU’s 2011 squad may have been Shaka Smart’s second worst turnover-forcing team during his tenure (the worst coming his introductory season in 2010), but they more than made up for it by shooting their way to VCU’s first and only Final 4 appearance.
The fact of the matter is both a Jeff Capel and Anthony Grant led squad outhavoced Shaka’s first two teams in Richmond.
Capel’s final season saw a 23.5% defensive turnover percentage while Grant’s first season on Broad St. saw a 23.8% defensive turnover percentage playing “94′ Both Ways” as it was called back then (which didn’t fit on the t-shirts quite as well). That 23.8% was 0.2% better than Shaka’s last group, a group missing Mr. Bri-Fense almost half of the season.
Ram fans and Shaka lovers can fight until the cows (or longhorns) come home as to where havoc came from. But where havoc really lived in college hoops can be found in the heart of a 6’2 165lb defensive pest with the big smile and the headband. The pregame banner may read “HAVOC LIVES HERE” at VCU next season but there’s a good chance it will actually be on a treadmill rehabbing a torn ACL and MCL en route to a professional career.