World Beat: Shuler shines for Monaco as Maynor, Johnson unite in Italy [INSIDER]

This year’s VCU Rams will hit the court for exhibition action this week while several former members of the black and gold are several games deep into their European professional seasons. Here’s the first of what will be many updates on some former fan favorites as they keep the dream alive overseas.

SHULER, MONACO OFF TO HOT START

Jamal Shuler (VCU ’08) begins his ninth professional season and is off to a great start with his AS Monaco squad playing out of the top French pro league. Monaco is off to a 6-0 start in ProA action as well as a 3-0 opening to Basketball Champions League play. Shuler is averaging a team-high 14.7 points on 51.5% shooting and checks in at second on Monaco with 3.3 assists per contest.

MAYNOR, JOHNSON UNITE IN VARESE BACKCOURT

If you’re looking for the most VCU European team to root for, look no further than Italy’s Openjobmetis Varese. The Italian “Serie A” (Italy’s top pro league) group is off to a slow 2-3 start but gets bonus points for employing VCU greats Eric Maynor (VCU ’09) and Melvin Johnson (VCU ’16). Neither are listed as Varese starters according to Eurobasket but are both playing top-five minutes. Maynor currently leads the team with 4.2 assists to go with 8 points per contest (fourth on the team) but has struggled to connect in Varese’s first five games, hitting 38.7% of his attempts to start the season. Johnson’s numbers are virtually identical, averaging 8.8 points per game on 33.3% shooting including an un-Melvin 19% from three. Johnson has gone 4-21 from deep to start the season.

Former VCU greats Melvin Johnson (center) and Eric Maynor (left) have teamed up in Italy's top pro league.
Former VCU greats Melvin Johnson (center) and Eric Maynor (left) have teamed up in Italy’s top pro league.

WALKER LEADS SAINT CHAMOND

2007 VCU grad B.A. Walker is off to a great individual start for France ProB team, Saint Chamond, but sees his squad sitting at the bottom of the league standings behind an 0-3 start. The team Ram Nation TBT participant and legendary VCU sharpshooter is averaging a team-best 13.7 points and six assists and is shooting a red-hot 58.8% from the field including 40% from distance.

REDDIC AVERAGING DOUBLE-DIGITS IN TOP GREEK LEAGUE

Juvonte Reddic (VCU ’14) is off to a strong start in the top Greek league. Reddic leads his VAP Kolossos Rodou team with seven rebounds per game over his first four and is one of three players averaging double-digit scoring, chipping in 10 points per contest early. The former VCU big is one of two A-10 Rams on the squad, joined by recent Rhode Island grad, center Earl Watson. Reddic is joined on Kolossos by Trevor Releford, an Alabama product recruited and coached by former VCU head coach, Anthony Grant. Kolossos sits toward the bottom of Greece A-1 with a 1-3 start to the season.

ROZZELL MAKES SEAMLESS SCANDINAVIAN TRANSITION

Brandon Rozzell (VCU ’11) starred on VCU’s Final 4 group and had his best professional season this past year, earning league MVP honors with the Svendborg Rabbits out of Denmark’s top pro league. Rozzell made an offseason move but is keeping things Scandinavian with his move to BC Lulea out of Sweden. Lulea leads the league at 4-1 but was without Rozzell the first three games of the season. In his first game back, Rozzell led the team with a game-high 22 points on 9-15 shooting. He cooled down considerably in his second game back, scoring six points in a 70-61 win, but you can bank on the former Rams gunner getting those shots and numbers up throughout the season with his new team.

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