What You Don’t Have Is A Wonderful Thing…
It’s a beautiful May morning, and as I avoid errands and chores one feeling keeps popping into my head.
Try as I may, I cannot conjure up the maelstrom of conflict we all felt last May. Like sands through the hourglass, those were the Days of Our Lives. The program’s second alltime scorer and top five ever Leader/Tough Guy was gone. The best-ever defender and God of Voltage was also gone. Oh yes, Shaka and his staff: gonzo.
We had just signed this Billbury guy who, let’s face it, we had no idea about. It was on this very day last year that Hamdy signed. We couldn’t even figure out the appellation of his name–which, ironically, turned out to be simply Hamdy–much less translate juco stats. Wes Long? Rasheen Davis?
There existed an unprecedented number of question marks and ambiguous bits of information, the daytime soap opera Friday cliffhanger.
It was as if the doctors at Johns Hopkins received federal funding to conduct a massive stress experiment on the entire RamNation: if we crammed 10 years worth of offseason transition and unknown on a fan base into two months, what would happen?
And here I sit, today, bored. Here’s what we’re dealing with this year. All ripples:
Assistant coach Jamill Jones left to take a job at Central Florida and Will Wade, after 12 seconds of thought that included his lunch order, promoted Casey Long into the assistant coach position.
(Side note: if you have not yet met Casey, make it a point to do so. He is outstanding, and I’m not even talking about his coaching acumen.)
Gerron Scissum and Robert Nwankwo decided to transfer. Guys transferring is not exactly unheard of, especially for more playing time. More than 600 players in D1 did so this spring. It isn’t unheard of at VCU, either. Depending on your view of the Renardo Dixon situation last decade, I went back to 2000-01 as the last year a VCU roster did not have at least one transfer.
If we’re being honest, Scissum is not a surprise and I wish him well at JMU. Then, in a minor surprise, Mike Gilmore also decided to finish his college basketball career elsewhere. Again, if we’re being honest, Gilmore leaving is not exactly fried-egg-eyes shocking. And we added Issac Vann, a transfer from Maine. He will sit out this season.
The point: guys transferring to other programs is not a crisis. It’s the norm.
An assistant coach moves closer to home, and it’s filled internally and immediately. And three guys transfer out and one comes in, a regularity in college basketball. That’s all we’ve got.
Enjoy your summer. The guys are going to Spain–10 practices! Year two of the WFWE will feature a sharper, more-precise learning curve than year one because we don’t have those nagging “get to know you” and “get to know zone defenses” phase.
There’s little to no drama, and that’s a good thing. Don’t create drama where none exists. Here’s your perfect example: with Gilmore leaving, there’s an open scholarship. Why stress about who will fill that spot? Wade’s preferred rotation is nine or 10 anyway. Maybe we can land someone who (1) fits basketball-wise; (2) can help us; and (3) fits personality/maturity-wise. Maybe not. But there’s no rule saying we have to fill that scholarship.
So relax. Go sit on the porch. Grab a drink. Play Scrabble. Whine about the heat. Dream a little, or a lot.
Besides, we’ve got all October to gripe about who will fill what role…to assign All-A10 status on De’Riante Jenkins based on his Black-and-Gold game performance. We’ve got November to lose sleep over a poor performance in the Caribbean, as if that’s new. December will bring the echo chamber of RPI and at large chances and A10 SOS and KenPom relevance.
And January brings the two-month rhythmic rollercoaster we all know, love, and cannot live without.
But for now love life, because for us, it’s a good one.
(Minor edit: I will stress figuring out how to convince Ed McLaughlin that my wife and I are essential personnel on that Spain trip.)