Overall impressions from this first look?

Natty

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It was really interesting to watch these guys play without Eric Maynor on the floor. The guys all just seemed to take a step forward and everyone turned it up a notch. I can't remember seeing a team of ours play that fast. When Union scored it was like our guys had already gotten the ball down and countered before the score keepers could put Union's points on the board. Never seen a VCU squad this deep...and Skeen and Saintil didn't even play. Come January...look out.
 
Also...thought it was interesting that Larry and Kirill didn't share the floor once tonight. So used to them in together. I guess Terrance's injury had a lot to do with that though.
 
The Defense was quite good especially with Saintil not even playing. Larry lived up to his Landlord name. In the 2nd half VUU dribbled away from him. He doesn't even have to block you if he can make you feel uncomfortable. I thought the backcourt pressure was pretty good considering this team hasn't been together for very long. The Rams definitely have great speed with the new freshman. I expect the pressure to tighten up as the season goes on. The team was aggressive tonight and never let VUU have a easy trip down the floor or even half court for that matter.

I loved seeing fast breaks with Gavin and Theus. That will keep other teams on their toes. I thought Roz was very impressive tonight especially from three point land. Jrod had a slow start but he'll be ok. Larry was just a monster on both ends tonight. I remember he took a rebound from four VUU players and drew the foul. He stayed out of a foul trouble also. Nixon seems to still have trouble finishing and some of those layups that just roll out just make you feel sorry for the guy. He did hit some threes though which was quite nice. Troy Daniels got some good time in and I thought he drove through traffic pretty well inside. Some of his shots dropped some didn't but I think that will improve with time.

Overall this team will be great with a little more chemistry. This team has lots of potential and plenty of talent.
 
Tonight's exhibition game had to be one of the best in recent memory.
 
What I noticed was not as much the steals we created (there were plenty), but how many other times we had a hand on the ball. We may not have gotten the steal every time, but it certainly seemed like we were putting so much pressure on them that we were getting touches just about every possession, especially early.

It is always hard to get a feel in a game this early in the year, but this look pretty good.
 
Love super high tempo. And the substitution rate was the fastest I have ever seen, not just at VCU but anywhere.

The scorers table has their work cut out for them this season.
 
I think everyone here is a wee bit too high on Santil and Skeen. Yes they will be two additional big bodies out there but I've rarely seen a transfer come in and blow away everyone their first year out after sitting out for a year gathering rust. Also, Santil has been used sparingly since he arrived here at VCU. You guys act like these two will be the second coming. They will help, yes......but I really don't think they will be making any major contributions until February. And at that point it likely will only be one who gets most of the playing time while the other is held in reserve.

Just my two cents...hope they prove me wrong.
 
Would have loved to have been there but had the computer broadcast plugged into the 52" plasma. Nice picture but sound was pretty bad. Moving on: My 2 cents:

KP: three steals. Nice!!! Not a lot of points but he did a lot of bumping down low.
Isiah Grayson: Not a lot of minutes but impressive, fast, dribble penetration and kickouts with a 3:1 A/TO ratio. Once our three pointers start falling this could be a nice option, and thought his guard play offered a different look from the others.
TJ: Nive solid outing
ED: Respectable 8 point outing - more fell last night than usual, should have been more. I feel for him as has been mentioned.
Gavin: Shots just didn't fall last night but he kept shooting, good sign. When they do fall look out!
Rozell: Impressive, didn't expect to see him on the point but again I think these changes gave VUU a lot of different looks and made adjustments difficult. Not sure if Shaka will use lots of different rotation like that though the year or was just testing different lineups. Great 3-pt performance.
LS: I agree with earier comments. Looked NBA size and caliber, the other 6-11 guy he faced didn't seem to bother him at all. The guy is gonna be SICK for us this year.
Theus: Potential galore here. Wicked crossover move with lighning penetration a hint of what this kid is capable of. Good freshman composure from the point.
Daniels: Respectable outing
Joey - Solid outing at the point. Looked a lot more confident than last year.
Hinton: A sweet three minutes with 2 for 2 shooting and 4 points, nice soft jumper in the paint. Hopefully this kid contributes this well off the bench all year.
Burgess- Nice evening. Good mix of points and rebounds. Looks a lot more solid this year and is gonna pose some all purpose problems for opposing teams this year.

Team: Gettin it done from the stripe 100% FT% in the first half, 76% for the game. We need to be consistent about this and not let these points get away. Need better 3 point shooting..its gonna be there just didn't fall last night. Defensively I agree with other comments. Got a lot of hands on the ball which didn't always translate to steals. Great pace. Exciting basketball. Great year to be a VCU fan. Shaka and staff seemed composed and pleased.
 
These kids looked fit. Despite the speed I didn't see much fatigue, I assume this is due to the frequent and different rotations. Hats off to Roose. The VUU coach's post game comments certainly attested to this.
 
BradRamFan said:
I think everyone here is a wee bit too high on Santil and Skeen. Yes they will be two additional big bodies out there but I've rarely seen a transfer come in and blow away everyone their first year out after sitting out for a year gathering rust. Also, Santil has been used sparingly since he arrived here at VCU. You guys act like these two will be the second coming. They will help, yes......but I really don't think they will be making any major contributions until February. And at that point it likely will only be one who gets most of the playing time while the other is held in reserve.

Just my two cents...hope they prove me wrong.


I totally understand where you're coming from with the tempered expectations on Skeen and Santil but people need to realize that Skeen is a really good player when healthy. He is a big, quick for his size, and can score the ball from just about anywhere on the floor. He will provide a second post option, sometimes the first option, and has the range to hit the 3. I really feel that Jamie has the game to be a 2nd-3rd team All-ACC player and his transferring to VCU was an enormous get for the Rams. Jamie and Jay will need some time to get used to playing in "real" games again after their transfer years but both of these guys will be huge parts of what we do as a team this year.

Santil doesn't have anywhere near the offensive skills that Jamie does and to expect a ton of production from him would be asking a lot. However, he is a tremendous athlete who can rebound which is an area of concern for the Rams outside of the 6-11 BEAST we have in the middle. Terrance will provide front court depth and 5 fouls a night that we will desperately need when facing ODU, GMU, JMU, and NE.

As far as last night goes:
1. Larry F-ing Sanders!!!!!!! Unreal how much he has improved in 2 years.
2. Brandon looks like a different player out there. Brimming with confidence and that old "Springer Swagger" that he didn't really show a lot last year. This system is perfect for him.
3. The first 10 minutes were some of the best I think I've ever seen Joey play.
4. Bradford's offensive rebounding will be a huge asset if he can keep it up against bigger PF's this season. He just seems to have an incredible "feel" for the game.
5. TJ is the man. Great "glue" guy.

I know it was only an exhibition game but a really good start to the season in my opinion. I have a ton of respect for VUU and I liked more things than I thought I would about the Rams performance last night.
 
BradRamFan said:
I think everyone here is a wee bit too high on Santil and Skeen. Yes they will be two additional big bodies out there but I've rarely seen a transfer come in and blow away everyone their first year out after sitting out for a year gathering rust. Also, Santil has been used sparingly since he arrived here at VCU. You guys act like these two will be the second coming. They will help, yes......but I really don't think they will be making any major contributions until February. And at that point it likely will only be one who gets most of the playing time while the other is held in reserve.

Just my two cents...hope they prove me wrong.

I have seen Skeen play and he is the real deal. He will be a huge asset to this team. He is smooth in the paint and can step out and hit the three. At 6'9", he is going to compliment Sanders in a big way. By mid January, I see Kirill coming off of the bench to sub for either Larry or Jamie. I will put our front court, with Skeen eligible, up against ODU's any day.

Regarding the rest of the team last night, the biggest stat for VCU was Sanders having a monster game and zero fouls. He looks to be a much smarter player this year on defense. He's not going over the back to block fouls like he did this year. A couple of times he let the VUU player score versus going over their back to try to block their shot and he still had 6 blocked shots.

Rozzell was lights out from three point land last night. Theus looks really good and I can see him starting at the point by February, if he continues to improve. At 6'3", he just has the edge over Joey. He is also not afraid to drive to the basket, something Joey has problems doing at 5'10".

Regarding Nixon, I still see him getting less playing time with all of the talent on this team. He still can't finish going to the basket and that's what will eventually get him parked on the bench.
 
I bet Ed starts finishing before it is all said and done (hopefully sooner rather than later). Smart seems really impressed with ED calling him the "poster child for what we are trying to do here". With comments like that from the Head Coach its hard to imagine Ed riding the pine anytime soon.
 
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