To reset or not to reset...that is the question

Feb 24, 2020
20
20
Hello my fellow Ram Fans,

I've been a viewer of these boards going back to my time as a student at VCU (2008-2010, I know I'm old now). I've sat back and took in for years a lot of the opinions of fellow ram fans and though now, with the state of program where it is today, is a perfect time for me to speak.

I think all of us can agree that this season hasn't gone the way we all thought it would. From the mystifying reasons as to why the senior class is struggling to perform at expected levels to the open fighting on social media between family members of players and the coaching staff, this season is one of those seasons that we need to throw away like an old pair of boxers.

The big question is, what do we do after this season. I know some people are going to hate what I have to say next, but I think it's something that needs to be seriously considered, I think we need to let the current coaching staff go.

The reasons for this are twofold, 1) the decision making before and during games, from lineup combinations to in-game strategic adjustments have been very bad over the past two years. For instance, it has been clear since December that Marcus Evans should not be starting over Bones, yet Marcus Evans continued to start. Also, it seemed that Coach Rhoads never made adjustments at the right time, especially during runs by opponents. There were several games where I watched a team like Rhode Island or Richmond start to go on a run, and Rhoades would not make an adjustment to the defense nor adjust the lineup that was out there letting up said run. Not having the ability to see that something needs to be adjusted in moments like that is usually the first sign that you need to move on from that coach.

Reason #2 is our recruiting over the past few years. Mike has done a great job at getting guards into the program (Bones is probably one of the best recruits from a prue basketball perspective we have had at VCU since the early Shaka days when we got Terry Larrier). But the issue is that we have not recruited well when it comes to big men. I haven't seen since Mike has been here, where he has gotten a commitment from a player that was over 6'10". The issue of size is now apparent considering that, if you watched the Rhode Island and Dayton games, we have real issues with rebounding and defending the rim. Other then MSS (who, if you remember, was recruited here by Will Wade) no other big man has proven to do well at VCU. Ward has a chance to be good, but I don't see him in the mold of a DJ Haley or even a Justin Tillman, which are the type of big men we need.

So with all of that you're probably wondering, "what is the solution then? who do you think we should hire?"

In my honest opinion, we have two options, either hire another coach from the "havoc" coaching tree or completely drop the "havoc" culture and hire a completely new coach with a completely different coaching methodology.

If you elect "keep the havoc system" what better person to hire than the man who helped build our program to the level we currently are now. In all likelihood, Shaka Smart will be fired from Texas after this season. What if (and I know it's a big "what if") Shaka came back home?

Think about what that would mean for not only VCU, but RVA as a whole. When Shaka was here, he brought a certain type of love/energy to the basketball program and the city as a whole that no one else has been able to do, before or after him. Allowing him to come back to VCU and take full advantage of the practice facility that he helped build, restart our recruiting base in a more sensible manner, and help continue to grew these young men in a positive way, can only help VCU get back to where we're used to being.

Personally, as a black man, I always loved to hear and see Shaka's story about how he grew up without a father and how he put that negative energy from not having a dad into building up other young black and brown men on his basketball teams. I understand fully Shaka's situation, as I lost my father early in life and now understand how much that affected me now not just as a man, but a man of color. Seeing him put his arm around a player and sincerely teach them and point out their faults, but also being able to bond with them on a personal level made me always believe that Shaka was the most beloved coach since Sonny Smith.

Think about this for a second. Did you ever hear once about in fighting among players, players fighting with the coaching staff, parents of players fighting with the coaching staff when Shaka was there? For me personally, I didn't (that's only me though). For Rhoades, I heard back near the beginning of last season that there were issue in the locker room (these are things that I've heard from people close to the program that I have personal relationships with, I don't know HOW true they are). So why not, if we want to keep the "havoc" train going, bring back Shaka. I know it will take time for some of you to forgive Shaka for how he exited the first time. But I'm sure once you see the first win against UofR or see us back in the NCAA tournament as one of the most feared opponents, you'll forgive him.

The second option is to detonate the "havoc" program and start new. Three names that come to mind for me are Earl Grant from the College of Charleston, LeVelle Moton from NC Central and Matt McMahon from Murray State. These three coach are young, high energy coaches that not only have an impact on the court, but are also good people that can positively affect the young men that come into this program and the RVA community as a whole.

Hopefully not too many people take offense to my post, but I honestly think it's time for a change here.
 
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Hoos A Ram

Insider
Nov 5, 2009
678
523
I could potentially see a scenario way down the road, after multiple turns in the legacies of both men, where Shaka might find himself in a position to return to VCU and give it another go. I wouldn't count on it but you never know.

Bringing him back after a lousy stint at Texas to push out a native son three years into his tenure, even if that were something that could happen (which it's not) would not be very conducive for success and I don't think it would be a positively received as you think.
 

2012Ram

Top Member
Feb 28, 2013
15,865
46,722
Nah I would assume Mike's got a couple years left before the AD even considers making a move, and when they do, it won't be for a retread.
 
May 4, 2012
7,047
4,394
Wouldnt break my heart but Rao isnt going to eat 5 yrs of salary and Rhoades wont quit.
Try again in 3 yes maybe.
 
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Ramdog

Top Member
Feb 10, 2009
6,728
13,403
We should eliminate the sport if we even remotely consider changing coaches. We would never get another coach to come . You folks that have an agenda against Mike Rhoades should just come clean...it ain't about what would benefit the program. The school would be the laughing stock of D 1 basketball if we jettisoned a reigning coach of the year after a three year term. Holy crap people.
This $ hitte would be funny if it wasnt so phucking ridiculous.
 

RowdyPkunk

Top Member
May 19, 2009
20,959
18,426
Hello my fellow Ram Fans,

I've been a viewer of these boards going back to my time as a student at VCU (2008-2010, I know I'm old now). I've sat back and took in for years a lot of the opinions of fellow ram fans and though now, with the state of program where it is today, is a perfect time for me to speak.

I think all of us can agree that this season hasn't gone the way we all thought it would. From the mystifying reasons as to why the senior class is struggling to perform at expected levels to the open fighting on social media between family members of players and the coaching staff, this season is one of those seasons that we need to throw away like an old pair of boxers.

The big question is, what do we do after this season. I know some people are going to hate what I have to say next, but I think it's something that needs to be seriously considered, I think we need to let the current coaching staff go.

The reasons for this are twofold, 1) the decision making before and during games, from lineup combinations to in-game strategic adjustments have been very bad over the past two years. For instance, it has been clear since December that Marcus Evans should not be starting over Bones, yet Marcus Evans continued to start. Also, it seemed that Coach Rhoads never made adjustments at the right time, especially during runs by opponents. There were several games where I watched a team like Rhode Island or Richmond start to go on a run, and Rhoades would not make an adjustment to the defense nor adjust the lineup that was out there letting up said run. Not having the ability to see that something needs to be adjusted in moments like that is usually the first sign that you need to move on from that coach.

Reason #2 is our recruiting over the past few years. Mike has done a great job at getting guards into the program (Bones is probably one of the best recruits from a prue basketball perspective we have had at VCU since the early Shaka days when we got Terry Larrier). But the issue is that we have not recruited well when it comes to big men. I haven't seen since Mike has been here, where he has gotten a commitment from a player that was over 6'10". The issue of size is now apparent considering that, if you watched the Rhode Island and Dayton games, we have real issues with rebounding and defending the rim. Other then MSS (who, if you remember, was recruited here by Will Wade) no other big man has proven to do well at VCU. Ward has a chance to be good, but I don't see him in the mold of a DJ Haley or even a Justin Tillman, which are the type of big men we need.

So with all of that you're probably wondering, "what is the solution then? who do you think we should hire?"

In my honest opinion, we have two options, either hire another coach from the "havoc" coaching tree or completely drop the "havoc" culture and hire a completely new coach with a completely different coaching methodology.

If you elect "keep the havoc system" what better person to hire than the man who helped build our program to the level we currently are now. In all likelihood, Shaka Smart will be fired from Texas after this season. What if (and I know it's a big "what if") Shaka came back home?

Think about what that would mean for not only VCU, but RVA as a whole. When Shaka was here, he brought a certain type of love/energy to the basketball program and the city as a whole that no one else has been able to do, before or after him. Allowing him to come back to VCU and take full advantage of the practice facility that he helped build, restart our recruiting base in a more sensible manner, and help continue to grew these young men in a positive way, can only help VCU get back to where we're used to being.

Personally, as a black man, I always loved to hear and see Shaka's story about how he grew up without a father and how he put that negative energy from not having a dad into building up other young black and brown men on his basketball teams. I understand fully Shaka's situation, as I lost my father early in life and now understand how much that affected me now not just as a man, but a man of color. Seeing him put his arm around a player and sincerely teach them and point out their faults, but also being able to bond with them on a personal level made me always believe that Shaka was the most beloved coach since Sonny Smith.

Think about this for a second. Did you ever hear once about in fighting among players, players fighting with the coaching staff, parents of players fighting with the coaching staff when Shaka was there? For me personally, I didn't (that's only me though). For Rhoades, I heard back near the beginning of last season that there were issue in the locker room (these are things that I've heard from people close to the program that I have personal relationships with, I don't know HOW true they are). So why not, if we want to keep the "havoc" train going, bring back Shaka. I know it will take time for some of you to forgive Shaka for how he exited the first time. But I'm sure once you see the first win against UofR or see us back in the NCAA tournament as one of the most feared opponents, you'll forgive him.

The second option is to detonate the "havoc" program and start new. Three names that come to mind for me are Earl Grant from the College of Charleston, LeVelle Moton from NC Central and Matt McMahon from Murray State. These three coach are young, high energy coaches that not only have an impact on the court, but are also good people that can positively affect the young men that come into this program and the RVA community as a whole.

Hopefully not too many people take offense to my post, but I honestly think it's time for a change here.
Everyone has a right to their opinion. Not sure if I know you personally or not, as we were both students at the same time... but I have a couple responses to your statements.

1. You say Rhoades hasn't been good at making adjustments? Well lemme ask you this? What adjustments can he as a coach make. if the players themselves don't make adjustments themselves? MR aint the one going out there turning the ball over, MR aint the one taking bad shot after bad shot, MR ain't the one dribbling into a crowded paint throwing their body at someone trying to draw a foul, MR ain't the one going out there missing FTs. So when you compare Evans & Bones.... you have a Senior who has been struggling to stay healthy most of this year (and his career if we're being honest), and who also seems to have 1 speed... reckless, and then you have a Freshmen.... and while Bones has had his really good moments.... like any freshmen, he's had his moments where he makes mistakes.... this ain't a knock on him by the way... CAUSE EVERY FRESHMEN DOES IT.

So in this situation... who do you go with? Do you go with the Senior whose supposed to lead the team? Or do you go with the freshmen, where one day he might be on fire, the next day... fans will be busting his chops for turning the ball over, taking bad shots, etc.

This happens all too much at VCU.... It happened when J-Rod was the starter & Theus was the backup.... then when Theus was the starter & Briante was the back up.... then Briante & Jequan…. then Jequan & Johnny.... etc. You get the point. Even happened last year at times where people wanted Byrd to take more of Evans playing time after some of Evans performances.

There's no real clear cut answer, like you may seem to suggest.

Also as discussed on many other threads previously, sometimes you have to let the players work things out themselves. If we called a timeout everytime a team made a 5-0 or 6-0 run.... we would ran out of time outs the first 10-15 minutes against Rhody & Richmond.... and we woulda been outta time outs a couple minutes into the 2nd half against GMU & SLU if not before.

Then what do you do, if you run out of time outs? Pull a Chris Webber & call timeouts when you don't have any? Oh sure, lets give up more Techs & FTs.... that's a GREAT IDEA :roll: .

Also, players can call timeouts as well.... so if they're unsure of a play, or need more of an explanation of how the play is supposed to work... you can call timeout.


2. As far as recruiting goes.... He's brought in Simms, Evans, Douglas... he had to fight to keep MSS & Mobley (who ended up transferring), he's brought in Bones, Curry, Ward, Clark & McAlister.... all who have shown some really good positive things & have bright futures.

Simms & Evans had really good years last year.... so you can't really call them "busts". MSS has definitely shown he can be a force.... so he's clearly a good pickup. Mobley certainly had the potential, but couldn't quite get back to himself after the injury last year & ended up transferring. And the other 5 are all still young & have bright futures ahead of them. Who knows what they will pan out to be.

Also saying Ward is not DJ or Tillman? Umm those 2 are complete opposites of each other. No disrespect to DJ Haley, who was certainly a good player & and even better person... but he's not the same kind of player that Tillman was, not even close. Tillman was much more impactful on both ends of the court. And as far as saying Ward isn't either one of those 2... How in the world do you know that? The guy barely gets on the court most games (except scrub minutes, which you can't really take too much out of). Only reason he seems to get minutes at the moment is either when both Douglas & Silva are in foul trouble or if there's an injury. And for the most part, from what I've seen, he tries to make the most out of what little minutes he gets.

Also you bring up Shaka…. well if you remember correctly, he got guys like Briante, Treveon... and some others the year after our final 4, and sure they had some good moments as freshmen.... but Treveon didn't really breakout til his Sophomore year, and other than defensively Briante didn't really breakout til his Junior year when he took over the starting PG role..... so why don't you give our young guys time to develop before you start talking about MR lack of recruiting.

As far as Shaka goes.... you mention was there ever players fighting? At VCU, I don't know, if there was.... it was kept under wrap... but you do remember he had players get into a fight at Texas his first year there right? So how do you explain that? Also MR was on that staff with Shaka for the first several years at VCU.

Here's another thing.... you mention parents of players fighting with the coaching staff. I mean when Shaka was here... there were parents of a lot of players that were seen & not heard. You had the Burgess', Mr. Theus, Mr. Rozzell, Ms. Weber, Melvin's mom and probably others (but those are the only ones I had encounters with)… and I never saw/heard a single one of them come out & start bashing any of our Coaches (Shaka, or Grant- for the ones who were there under both coaches). Even during February of 2011 when we hit a rough stretch.... never heard any of those parents start bashing our coaches.

Matter of fact, I think the only one we heard anything from, was Melvin's mom when she came on here to defend her son after everyone was bashing the heck out of him for having 1 bad game (against Cincy at home) because some of y'all were going way over board attacking Melvin for having 1 bad game. That was it.

Yet in the past 2 seasons.... We've had 2 sets of players family members start bad mouthing our team/coaches on social media, and another player who got into a confrontation via Twitter with one of our VRN posters at like 2:30 or 3 in the morning when he shoulda been asleep..... And what do all 3 of those players have in common?

All 3 of the players who were involved (either directly, or indirectly) were struggling on the court at the time of these things happening. Coincidence? I think not. I get coming to the defense of your child or responding to fools on Social Media.... if things are going way overboard and attacks are getting personal. But if someone is saying "So & so had a terrible game" or "So & So played like $#!t today" or whatever else that most fans say about their teams when they lose.... well then both the players & the family need to toughen up & learn to take criticism.... or just laugh it off & ignore them.... especially when most of them probably never played sports past the high school level, if even that.

All 3 of those situations... clearly showed a lack of mental toughness... and for the most part it showed on the court as well.

Also, you mention letting Havoc die.... and while I'm not necessarily opposed to that.... All of our Seniors (except Simms & Evans.... but Evans seems to play Havoc anyway) were recruited when Havoc was still a thing. Maybe not to the level when Shaka was here... but we still used it when Wade was here when most of those guys were brought in. Even though IV didn't play Wade's last year (Sat out due to transfer rule)… he was brought in when Havoc was still a thing... and did it every day in practice.

So it's hard to really change an entire teams style of play when you got 5 or 6 guys that are all used to that style of play. If it were 1 or 2... it's an easy change.... but half the team? Not so much.

I think Next year when MR has a team full of his own recruits (I'm counting MSS... cause he had to re-recruiting him to make sure he didn't de-commit)…. then he can implement a style that better fits his squad.

So many people wanna throw MR under the bus.... but hey, when once the tip off happens... it's all up to the players. Sure MR can call plays, bark out orders, call timeouts.... etc. But it's up to the players to execute.... and when they don't you're going to not only have an upset coach, but an upset fan base.... and then a bunch of finger pointing.

So, long story short.... I disagree with your assessment that MR needs to go.... and more so that, our players as a team need to put whatever beef they got with each other or the coaches aside, step up & play like men.
 
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