June 7, 2013
Bradford Burgess, Jordan Burgess, Mo Alie-Cox, Shaka Smart, Terrance Shannon
Terrance Shannon averaged 7.9 points and 5.6 rebounds in 20 games last season.
SHANNON ADDS DEPTH, INTRIGUE TO VCU LINEUP
RICHMOND, Va. – VCU Basketball under Coach Shaka Smart has been known for many things: Havoc, quickness, speed, creating chaos, high energy; descriptors of a dynamic category. While there are plenty of ways to paint a picture of the Rams’ style of play, “physical” has not been one of the more popular adjectives.
But Smart hopes the addition of Florida State transfer Terrance Shannon, as well as other newcomers, will help change the way the Rams play and, in turn, are perceived.
Shannon transferred to VCU in May and will be eligible immediately under an NCAA provision that allows graduating seniors to transfer and play without sitting out a year. Shannon graduated from Florida State in May and will have one year of eligibility remaining.
A 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward, Shannon averaged 5.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in 72 career appearances. Last season, he averaged 7.9 points and 5.6 rebounds and swiped 23 steals in 20 games. He earned a medical redshirt in 2011-12 after a shoulder injury limited him to just seven games.
Although occasionally beset by injuries at Florida State, Shannon gives the Rams a battle-tested post presence who can spell All-Conference forward Juvonte Reddic or play alongside him.
June 6, 2013
2013 FIBA U19 World Championships for Men, 2013 World University Games, Frank Martin, Mark Few
Treveon Graham was the first VCU sophomore to average better than 15 points per game in more than 10 years.
TRE AND THE U.S.A.
RICHMOND, Va. – Rising junior Treveon Graham stands to gain valuable experience later this month when he participates in the World University Games Training Camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., according to VCU Coach Shaka Smart, himself a veteran of the USA Basketball experience.
Graham was one of 29 players invited to attend the camp June 24-30 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Twelve players will be selected for the team that will compete at the 2013 World University Games in Kazan, Russia July 7-16. Among Graham’s competition are Luke Hancock of Lousiville, Creighton All-American Doug McDermott, Quinn Cook of Duke and Mountain West Conference Player of the Year Kendall Williams of New Mexico.
“First of all, it’s very, very high level competition in the trials,” Smart said. “The guys he’s competing with just to make the team are high level players from very high level programs. I think anytime you play against high level competition it pushes you to be better and exposes you to some of the areas where you need to improve, so that’ll be terrific for him.”
In addition, the coaching staff reads like a Who’s Who of hot names in Division I. Davidson’s Bob McKillop will serve as head coach. He will be assisted by Michigan Head Coach John Beilein – fresh off an appearance in the National Championship Game – and Frank Martin of South Carolina.
May 31, 2013
Track & Field
2013 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Ethan Tussing, Jaleesa Williams
Williams (left) with Tussing after qualifying for the NCAA Championships.
RICHMOND, Va. – Jaleesa Williams’ relationship with the discus has been a relatively short one, but her legacy in the event could last a long time.
Williams qualified for the NCAA Championships June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore. with three monster throws last weekend at the NCAA East Preliminary meet in Greensboro, N.C., obliterating school records and her own frustration in the process. Her second throw of the day traveled 52.23 meters (171’ 4’’), a personal-best by three meters. Williams, a redshirt junior, is the first thrower in program history to reach the NCAA Championships.
Williams’ breakthrough performance in Greensboro underscored her four-year renaissance in the discus. When VCU Throwing Coach Ethan Tussing recruited Williams, it was mainly for her abilities as a shot putter. Discus was somewhat of an afterthought. That’s because Williams’ performances in the discus were, according to her, less than elite.
“It was horrible,” Williams says, punctuating the assessment with a hearty laugh. “It was so bad.”
May 30, 2013
Track & Field
Ethan Tussing, Jaleesa Williams, Jon Riley, Kiara Porter, NCAA Track & Field Championships
VCU junior Jaleesa Williams poses in front of her school-record mark at the NCAA East Regional last week.
RICHMOND, Va. – Two VCU athletes punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships last weekend, and the ripple effects could be felt for years to come.
Sophomore Kiara Porter was fifth and shattered her own school record in the 400-meter run, while junior Jaleesa Williams placed sixth and demolished the program mark in the discus at the NCAA East Regional last weekend in Greensboro, N.C. to secure their bids. It’s just the second time two VCU women have reached the NCAA Championships in the same season, and the first since 1997. Williams is the first VCU thrower in school history to advance from the regional meet.
Their performances stamped an exclamation point on VCU Head Coach Jon Riley’s fifth season with the Rams. Riley inherited a program that was largely uncompetitive on the conference level, let alone the national stage, and has guided it to unmatched prominence. But even measured against accomplishments of the last few years, Porter’s and Williams’ regional performances were a breakthrough.
“I feel like it’s a total validation for years of 60-hour weeks and all the time that we’ve put in,” said Throwing Coach Ethan Tussing.
Beyond that, they could be another springboard for the resurgent program. VCU was the only school in the Atlantic 10 Conference to send two athletes to Eugene, Ore. for the NCAA Championship meet. That kind of information will raise a few eyebrows.
May 28, 2013
Adam Ball, Chuck Hong, Dianne Long, Ian Thomas, Jody Rogers, Matt Ball, Matt Ball Jr., Matt Lees, Shaka Smart, The Ram Report
The Ram Report is near and dear to my heart. A new issue arrived in print about 10 days ago, and now it’s live on the interwebs as well. As always, I’m appreciative of the excellent design put forth by Eddie Johnson, as well as the editorial contributions from other folks in the department. Check out great features on new volleyball coach Jody Rogers, former VCU Baseball pitcher Ian Thomas, current Ram closer Matt Lees and the Ball family, the first family of VCU Golf, and more!
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May 28, 2013
Barclays Center, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, NBA, NBA Draft, NBA Las Vegas Summer League, NBA Orlando Summer League, Troy Daniels NBA, Troy Daniels.
Troy Daniels says he has workouts scheduled with three NBA teams.
RICHMOND, Va. – Troy Daniels’ NBA workout at Barclays Center May 22-23 has come and gone, but the VCU graduate’s time in Brooklyn will have ripple effects in the coming weeks.
Daniels, the second-leading 3-point shooter in VCU history, says he has additional upcoming workouts scheduled with three NBA teams, Boston, Houston and Indiana, in the coming weeks. He did not disclose dates. The Roanoke, Va. native says he’s received interested from other teams as well, and hopes to set up more workouts over the next few weeks.
In addition, Daniels says he has agreements to play in both the Orlando (July 7-12) and Las Vegas (July 12-22) Summer Leagues, but is not at liberty to reveal which teams at this time. It is not uncommon for prospects to play for different franchises at each summer league site.
Daniels is currently not expected to be selected in the June 27 NBA Draft, but could draw interest as an undrafted free agent if he impresses in workouts. A number of notable NBA players have started their careers via free agency, including guards John Starks, Gary Neal, Jose Juan Barea and Jeremy Lin.
And that’s really all the 6-foot-4 sharpshooter could’ve asked for. Daniels’ Barclays Center workout among a group of 40-plus NBA hopefuls for representatives of all 30 of the league’s teams wasn’t about scoring an immediate job, it was about starting the process. It was about getting his name out there, catching the attention of a few NBA executives. Daniels has exceptional shooting ability, and now he’ll be able to continue to showcase that talent in hopes that some team decides his from-the-bleachers range is worthy of a roster spot.
In 125 career games, Daniels shot .386 (251-of-650) from 3-point range for the Rams. He trails only B.A. Walker’s 269 treys on VCU’s career list. Daniels set a school single-season records for 3-pointers with 94 and 124 threes during his junior and senior seasons, respectively. The shooting guard averaged 7.3 points per game during his career, including 12.3 as a senior.
May 24, 2013
Brandon Inge, Brandon Inge plays hockey, Major League Baseball, MLB, Pittsburgh Pirates
Funny, that guy doesn’t look like Mario Lemieux…
See, this is exactly why the Pittsburgh Pirates brought in VCU alum Brandon Inge (stats), because he can play third, second, first, right field and left wing. But seriously, Inge may not be an All-Star, but he’s a veteran presence in the clubhouse a young team like Pittsburgh, which is trying to break an MLB-record string of 20 straight losing seasons, desperately needs. Pittsburgh is currently 11 games over .500 and in second place in the NL Central Division. The difference, as always, is the VCU blood, obviously.
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May 21, 2013
Track & Field
Jon Riley, Kiara Porter, NCAA East Preliminary Meet, NCAA Track and Field
Kiara Porter ran for the United States at the 2012 World Junior Championships.
RICHMOND, Va. – Her name is Kiara Porter. She’s 5-feet tall, from Yorktown, and is most likely faster than you. In the time it takes you to walk to the copier, she can win a gold medal.
Just a sophomore, she’s already broken or assisted in six school records, won seven conference titles and represented the United States in the 1,600-meter relay at the World Junior Track and Field Championships in Barcelona last summer, where she won – you guessed it – a gold medal. Earlier this month, she was named the most outstanding performer of the Atlantic 10 Conference Outdoor Championships after winning four events. By several units of measure – particularly at 400 meters – she’s the fastest woman in VCU in history. It’s not by accident.
“Everything I put on paper, she tries to hit it,” says VCU Track Coach Jon Riley. “She’s just focused. Her work ethic and her work capacity to do a lot of intensity is high. She has a high threshold for pain. That makes her very successful.”
All that pain has been worth plenty of gain for the rising junior. While many of her peers are just starting to hit their athletic stride, figuratively speaking, Porter is eying the next big thing. For her, that’s reaching in the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore. in June.