Last night was fun.
Some of my quick observations from yesterday’s Black v Gold game:
PLAYING BIGGER LOOKS PROMISING
We saw a lot more size last night than we’re used to. Mo Alie-Cox (15), Justin Tillman (20), Michael Gilmore (13) and Ahmad Hamdy (11) all posted double-digit scoring for them teams and looked impressive in doing so. But what has me the most excited about that is what I wish we had seen a bit more of last year: Mo + a big can be hard to stop. Add in 6’10 Michael Gilmore who looked great last night, hitting two of his three three-point attempts and you’ve got some real potential there.
It’s a scrimmage game so I’m not gonna blow things out of proportion but seeing Mo and Tillman find each other in the paint for gorgeous dunks has to have you excited about this upcoming season and Coach Wade’s desire to play bigger lineups.
See for yourself. Here’s the Tillman footage I pulled out of last night’s Insider highlight video.
KOREY BILLBURY WAS A NICE OFFSEASON PICKUP
Freshmen are great. They are full or promise and give you up to four years of enjoyment. But sometimes you can’t beat a proven and mature performer. Oral Roberts transfer, Korey Billbury, is just that. The aggressive guard averaged 14.4 points and 7.4 rebounds in 33.2 minutes for the Golden Eagles last year. Last night he scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds in 36 minutes for team Black. Sounds about right. Billbury passed my eye test last night and should certainly do his part in helping VCU overcome the graduation of leading scorer Treveon Graham.
Worth noting that both Black and Gold shot a combined 24-29 from the free throw stripe last night (82.8%). VCU shot 65.7% from the free throw stripe last season, good for 292nd nationally.
OTHER QUICK STATS
-JeQuan Lewis had 10 assists
-Melvin Johnson led all players with 24 points on 50% shooting
-Samir “Second Half” Doughty went off in the second, grabbing a game-high five steals
-Doug Brooks was 3-4 from three-point land, one of five players to shoot 50% or better from distance
I LOVE Ken Pomeroy but I gotta say, I think his preseason statistical predictions will be proven wrong on the Rams this year.
Kenpom’s computers have VCU preseason No.53 nationally, finishing at 19-10 overall and tied with five Atlantic 10 teams for third place in conference play at 11-7. That said if you look at VCU’s schedule projections on his site they tell a bit of a different story, having VCU as the predicted winner in 21 games and the loser in just eight, with an A-10 predicted finish of 13-5, which would be a game better than last year’s conference finish.
Don’t get it? Email Pomeroy and ask him how that works.
I personally am more convinced than ever that VCU is going to be much better than people understand.