What do you believe? Think about that for a bit.
What do you believe, what is it that helps you process what we saw on Saturday, and then Wednesday, with VCU basketball?
Coming out of the under 8 media timeout against St. Bonaventure, Will Wade drew up a BLOB, a baseline out-of-bounds play. VCU led the Bonnies 56-54 and the game was already a taut affair, even before we white-knuckled into its final stages. The play was executed to perfection. JeQuan Lewis was wide open. I mean catch the pass, have a meal, take the dog out, and then you still have time to shoot a wide open three open. Lewis hoisted an airball.
Was that luck? Bad luck?
Fate? Karma? What is it that you believe?
I believe in two things: reality, and fun.
The reality is that VCU was extremely lucky that a security guard who was actually doing his job, mindlessly picked up a basketball for no other reason than it bounced into his hands as he was trying to shoo a kid off the court. Similarly, that same kid would’ve probably jumped back into the stands in anonymity if he had not stumbled into Gary Prager, the game’s lead official.
But both happened, and the reality is that the crew made the right call, and that was fun.
So let’s fast forward four days into the Charles Smith Center. Not 0.4 days, but four whole days. (See, reality + fun.) Was it luck, bad luck, that an 83% foul shooter missed two straight foul shots to set up Yuta Watanabe?
The reality of the Goss Set Up is that Wade designed a single play that gave his team two opportunities to win, 94 feet from the basket and 0.4 seconds on the clock. Of course the play has been tried a million times. Of course the whistle has blown for the foul maybe twice in those million times. But Wade brought that miniscule facet into play. At worst, he said, it cleared a 6-11 kid out of the way of his inbounder.
Will Wade is not a ridiculously smart basketball coach because he’s creating some brand-spanking new and brilliant approach. Wade is succeeding because he’s checking the Dewey Decimal System in his head and grabbing the most applicable library book to the basketball situation.
Lewis said Wade “has plays for days,” and Wade’s brilliance resides in the fact that he is unbelievable at putting his team in a position to win, should they execute.
The reality of the GW endgame is that Wade chose an old trick that at-best got his best free throw shooter to the line, and at-worst freed his passer to get a good look to his biggest athlete. People are forgetting a back screen was set for Mo Alie-Cox. There was an actual play call. But that’s the thing: Wade put his players in a position to succeed. And they executed.
And that was fun.
I think I saw an ESPN trailer asking if VCU should be proud of winning those two games. What a pathetic question. Of course we are proud. They are wins. That’s the point, and that’s the reality. And they were fun.
Because of those two wins, VCU is 9-2 in the A10, not 7-4. No amount of crosstown whining will change that. But the reality is that we have to leave that now. It’s the same basketball team that’s two decisions from 7-4. Davidson certainly doesn’t care. The defense was leaky at Bonnies, and the offense sludgy against GW. That has to be corrected or the fun will end after four days.
Let’s get back to business and grind out a boring 10-point win on Saturday. Then show St. Joseph’s some love. Then, get De’Riante Jenkins back. Keep moving forward towards March.
Because that’s when it gets real. And real fun.