I wrote two features for the The Ram Report the last two days. If your annual donation to the Ram Athletic Fund does not exceed two goats and three sheets of fine silk, then you don’t get the magazine. However, due to space constraints, I can never get all the good quotes and tidbits in there, so you guys get to reap the benefits here on the blog.Think of this stuff as like a Nirvana box set. It’s a collection of stuff that didn’t necessarily make it onto the original album.
The first feature was on new Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Jamion Christian.
Shaka Smart, on keeping short lists of coaches in case of potential openings:
“They’re pretty big lists. You’ve always got to be ready. We’re in a profession where head coaching positions change quite a bit and assistant coaching positions change even more, so you always have to be ready.”
Smart, on Christian emerging as a candidate:
“What happened was, the more his name came up, the more everybody liked him. Good things kept coming out. Mike Jones and Kyle Getter were on their way out of Richmond to Radford, but they spoke very highly of them. Mike Morrell was on his way from Charleston Southern and he’s known Jamion longer than any of us. There was just a lot of common ties there. Mike Rhodes recruited Jamion at Randolph-Macon…”
Smart, when asked if he was concerned about bringing another young coach on staff (Christian is 29):
“No. I’m young. But, I’m at a different place than I was two years ago, going into my first year. The biggest criteria was someone that was going to be good with our guys and develop great relationships. I don’t care if the guy was 22 or a 100 years old, that’s who we were going to hire.”
Jamion Christian on how he recruits players:
“I want to make sure he loves the game. That’s one of the most important things. If a person loves the game, they’re going to do whatever it takes to continue to improve upon their craft. I think a lot of times that gets lost now in the rankings and all that stuff.”
” …and, I like guys that can score the ball.”
Christian, on pitching VCU to recruits:
“In a lot of respects, I think VCU sells itself. It’s about finding kids that want to win a lot of games and who want to play in multiple NCAA Tournaments that want to part of a program that’s really special. I think, in the last five years we’ve won the 11th-most games in college basketball. It’s hard to find kids that can understand all that, that can handle the pressure.
We’ve got to continue to get guys who want to continue to be a part of a mission of greatness. That’s kind of what we’re trying to achieve here. This is trying to establish a program that’s one of the best in all of college basketball. That’s not just mid-major, high major or wherever.”
The other story I wrote the last two days was about Jennifer Harvey, who is playing volleyball for VCU this year after playing soccer at Virginia Tech for four years. Oh, and SHE’S IN MED SCHOOL.
First and foremost, she’s got a pretty good sense of humor about it all. On the origins of her interest in medicine:
“I just noticed my curiosity to know what’s going on. It was a good setting too, at Tech, if you were in the training room for any amount of time, you could just follow the trainers around and be like, ‘so, what’s wrong with this person’s leg that’s pointing the wrong direction?’”
Harvey, on the amount of free time in a normal student-athlete’s schedule:
“I guess I didn’t really listen to too much of the caution because people told me undergrad, ‘it’s tough to be a student-athlete’, but you have so much time. You’d be surprised how many naps undergrads take and how long they take. There’s a lot of time. Naps all the time.”
Harvey, on the transition from soccer to volleyball:
“It’s taking more and more self control. When we’re at volleyball practice and I see a ball bouncing I just want to kick it as hard as I can.”