Rams to honor Graham with jersey retirement, but Weber shouldn't be far behind

VCU announced they will retire the jersey of Rams legend, Treveon Graham, when the black and gold welcome St. Joseph's to the Siegel Center on January 22. Graham is VCU's second leading scorer ever (1882 points) and was a key piece to four NCAA tournament teams between 2012-2015 for the Rams. He bookended his career at VCU with a CAA tournament championship his freshman season and an Atlantic 10 tournament championship his final year, so far the Rams' only A-10 tourney championship squad since joining the conference for the 2012-13 season.

[caption id="attachment_11920" align="alignright" width="300"]<a href="https://www.vcuramnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/graham.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-11920" src="https://www.vcuramnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/graham-300x200.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="200" /></a> Graham celebrates after nailing the game-winning shot in VCU's historic road win at UVA on Nov 12, 2013.[/caption]

The two-time A-10 First Team selection would go on to play for four NBA teams between 2016 and 2020 following a season in the G League and would even put on the Team USA jersey for the 2020 AmeriCup qualifiers.

He was a main piece, if not THE main piece, during one of the greatest stretches of the history of VCU basketball. Graham helped advance the Rams in back-to-back NCAA tournaments and hit one of the biggest shots in VCU history, the game-winner at UVA that Rams won't forget anytime soon.

But I'll admit it feels a little weird for another jersey to not be raised alongside his, that being the No.2 of his partner in crime his entire career at VCU: Briante Weber.

Like Graham, Weber was along for that four-year golden era between 2012-2015, the duo being under-recruited 2-star recruits that proved to be absolute diamonds for Shaka Smart, Mike Rhoades and company. They turned Shaka Smart's press conference mention of "havoc" into a national brand, Weber being recognized as havoc personified from anyone who watched him play.

Weber earned the reputation as one of the best defensive guards to EVER play DI NCAA basketball, racking up 374 steals on his way to what surely would have been the all-time record had he not torn his ACL with 10 regular season games left to play (he was 12 steals shy at the time of injury and average 3.9 per game that season). He was feared by the opposition. I can even recall watching the 165 lb guard getting caught defending 6'10 bigs on a switch, but the opposing teams' centers, typically screaming for the mismatch, not calling for the ball in fear of a sure turnover via the fast-handed kid from Chesapeake.

How big was his impact on the team while on the floor? Consider one of my favorite stats: overall box plus/minus (defined <a href="https://www.basketball-reference.com/about/bpm2.html">here</a>).

[caption id="attachment_11808" align="alignleft" width="300"]<a href="https://www.vcuramnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/8522446440_8dcecf891c_b.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-11808" src="https://www.vcuramnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/8522446440_8dcecf891c_b-300x200.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="200" /></a> Briante Weber steals the ball from Butler's Roosevelt Jones in a blowout win at the Siegel Center in 2013.[/caption]

Weber's CAREER +/- at VCU was +9.1, a number south of his insane +11.4 senior season. I challenge you to find regular seasons from legendary Rams that match Weber's career number (example: Graham's best season during his legendary career was +8.9, Skeen's Final 4 year was a team-best +6.9, Bones Hyland's A10 POY pre-NBA season this past year was +8.2). That highlights Weber's undeniable impact on one of VCU's most successful four-year runs (his 20.4 player efficiency rating was legit too!), a run that saw the Rams rank 23rd, 36th, 6th and 26th nationally in defensive efficiency. VCU was known for their defense during that run, not their offense, so much so that songs, banners and t-shirts were created to remind the nation just how intimidating that defense was and where exactly havoc lived during that time.

Weber was havoc.

Basketball consists of offense and defense, but how often do dominant defensive players fill up conference first team selections? How often do they win Player of the Year? And in this case, how often are their jerseys retired.

Treveon Graham's jersey deserves to be hung in the rafters and I can't wait to see it go up on Jan 22. I just hope that I don't have to wait much longer after to see the No.2 go up beside it, exactly where it deserves to be.
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Licensed Virginia Realtor and part-time basketball writer. Co-founder of VCURamNation.com and A10Talk.com.
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Mat Shelton-Eide
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