The Basketball Tournament has given us the gift of watching some old favorite Rams, back on the court, together again. It gives a glimpse of an answer to questions like, “what if Eric Maynor played on the Final Four team with Jamie Skeen?” and even forces a coach to make a decision like, “which generation’s gunner would you rather have shooting down two at the end of a game? BA Walker, Jamal Shuler or Brandon Rozzell?” Mostly, it is just fun, and I for one am thankful to get to watch some of these guys play together, and you can tell they are having fun. They may have lost, but I am not ready for their mini-season to be done.
So what if we had another reason for Coach Joey Rodriguez to put the band back together again?
In the past few years we have featured an alumni vs alumni Black & Gold scrimmage following the current team’s intrasquad battle. What if we flipped that script and the alumni challenged the 2017-18 Rams to a game?
Is it a crazy idea? Probably.
Do we have a staff that likes to be a little crazy in taking on a challenge? I think so.
Offhand I would say that a team made up of alumni professional players would have a decided advantage over the current student-athletes. They have more mature bodies, are stronger — though not necessarily faster — and own a decided experience advantage.
That is not to say the young kids wouldn’t have their own advantages. Practice time, camaraderie and chemistry, offense and defensive sets and schemes can help an underdog win. If anyone knows that, it is VCU.
This Alumni vs Student Black & Gold Rumble wouldn’t be limited to the court. Rowdy Rams, Cheerleaders, Dance Team and Pep Bands all have alumni groups who would enjoy competing alongside their classmates. I bet we could even find some alumni managers to help roll the balls out and get some water for the older fellas.
Let’s look at the hypothetical matchups between the Alumni Rams and 17-18 team.
|PG||Eric Maynor||Jonathan Williams||Alumni||Johnny’s speed may create a bit of a matchup problem for Eric’s two repaired ACL’s, but advantage has to go to the VCU GOAT.|
|SG||Brandon Rozzell||De’Riante Jenkins||Tossup||The Mayor is the most confident player in VCU history, but young Jenkins has the shot and the ability to get to the rim to keep up.|
|SF/3G||Jamal Shuler||Issac Vann||Alumni||Shu may have been overshadowed at VCU, playing alongside Maynor, but since graduating he has won multiple MVPs in one of the top French leagues.|
|F||Jamie Skeen||Justin Tillman||Tossup||Skeen is one of the best low post scorers to wear a VCU uniform, but Tillman is a walking double-double.|
|F/C||Larry Sanders||Khris Lane||Alumni||Newcomer Khris Lane didn’t have to contend with NBA centers in the Big South.|
|G||BA Walker||Malik Crowfield||Alumni||Crowfield showed moments of being a great shooter and havoc technician in his Freshman year, but until Melvin Johnson’s senior year, BA was the all-time VCU 3 point leader.|
|G/F||Jesse Pellot-Rosa||Mi’kel Simms||Tossup||We didn’t get to see much of fan favorite JPR in the tournament, but he can still bang. Calling this one a tossup, as Jesse and BA are both from my generation, and I know how my knees feel when I think of running the floor with 18 year olds.|
|F||Jordan Burgess||The Freshmen Bigs||Tossup||The alumni team may need another GoFundMe addition of Justin Tuoyo to keep up with the waves of Freshmen bigs that Rhoades will have in his arsenal. Burgess brothers have been playing against bigger players for a decade though.|
|Coach||Joey Rodriguez||Mike Rhoades||Current Team||In the coaching world, experience counts for a lot, and Rhoades will have his youngins ready to play and press the older Rams.|
Overall, the obvious advantage is to the alumni. However, with some pressure defense, I could see the current team be poised to pull off an upset.
Is it legal under NCAA rules? I don’t know, I’ll file that under “hopefully.” It could be a lot of fun however and gives our current team a tougher matchup than the typical exhibition. Looking at the Out-Of-Conference schedule released yesterday, an extra challenge could pay off.
Who would you want to see play in a fantasy matchup? How do you think they would fare?