VCU HOOPS CHECK-UP IN TWO PHOTOS

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VCU Men’s Basketball released its 2014-15 uniform set today. If they kicked the ball on the ground, they’d call these kits for reasons nobody understands. But they don’t, so they’re uniforms. Notice the return of the gray alternate, as well a new twist on the traditional VCU road uni we’ll call, “The Pleasantville.

Bt5VjDJIIAAfJiIAlso today, this.

SHAKAnado

SUITE-NESS; UPGRADES PROGRESS AT SIEGEL CENTER

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Earlier this year, VCU announced it would add two suites in the south corners of the Stuart C. Siegel Center as part of an overall effort to enhance the arena. It’ll be a busy couple of months for “The Stu”. In addition to the suites, a new, centerhung scoreboard and sounds system will be installed, and the court will be repainted to reflect VCU’s (and the A-10’s) new branding marks.

WHAT’S YOUR 20? VCU BASKETBALL’S BEST AT EVERY NUMBER

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VCU-20s

In basketball, we immortalize our heroes by hoisting their jerseys into the rafters. Often, we “retire” numbers, deciding that no other player is worthy to be identified by that set of numerals. It’s how we remember our favorites, and is one of the simplest ways kids can emulate their heroes. So it’s no wonder VCU fans approach the announcement of something as benign as jersey numbers with a level of excitement my wife reserves for the new season of “Scandal”. So when we released the new jersey numbers of VCU’s highly rated freshman class, it led me down the rabbit hole to questions like, “Who is the best No. 31 in VCU Basketball history?

So here we are. My ground rules were simple. First, I didn’t pick any current players. Yes, Briante Weber and Treveon Graham (and others, perhaps) certainly have arguments, but I’d like to see the entire arc of their careers before I rank them among the greats. This list is subjective, and I’d like to have as much information as possible. Second, the player needs to have worn the number for a “significant” part of his career, unless no other option was available. Therefore, I didn’t spend time considering Juvonte Reddic at No. 5 and Rob Brandenberg at No. 23, since they only wore the numbers for one season.

Feel free to berate me in the comments section.

00-George Byrd (1994-97)
Before he conquered Slamball, George Byrd was a reliable post presence for VCU’s mid-90s squads. Byrd averaged 9.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks to help steer the Rams to a 1996 CAA Championship that ended an 11-year NCAA Tournament drought. Honorable mention: Johnnie Story

larry-sanders1-Larry Sanders (2007-10)
Although Bo Jones makes a compelling argument, the No. 1 No. 1 in VCU history is LAR-RY SAN-DERS, and not just because he resembles one. In addition to averaging nearly a double-double as a junior (14.4 ppg, 9.1 rpg), Sanders ranks fourth in school history in blocked shots. Also, his 17-point, 20-rebound, 7-block performance against George Mason in the 2009 CAA Championship Game should be preserved by the Smithsonian. Honorable mention: Bo Jones

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HERE I AM IN FRONT OF SOME RUBBLE…

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BarneyRubble

No, not that Rubble. Actual rubble. Construction is underway at the site of the new VCU Basketball practice facility. Let’s have a look at the site now, as well as what’s ahead on Marshall Street.

#TBT: 1988-89 VCU BASKETBALL HIGHLIGHTS

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_1988-89-Team-low-res

#TBT, er something. Are we doing it right? Is this thing on?

Today’s fabulous throwback video comes via Mike Voyack, who must’ve unearthed this gem of a highlight reel from Mike Pollio’s secret vault inside the bowels of the Richmond Coliseum. Short shorts! Whitney Houston! The frustrating dearth of lower third graphics! It’s terrific. If you can’t get excited about basketball highlights woven through the masterpiece of musical tapestry that is the Fabulous Thunderbirds’ “Tuff Enuff”, then there’s not much I can do for you.

As much as I enjoy needling the 80s elements that haven’t necessarily held up over time, it should not be overlooked what this team had to endure. Midway through the season, junior Mike Brown (not to be confused with Michael Brown, who starred at VCU from 1982-86) collapsed during a practice at Franklin Street and died. He was later found to have a previously undetected heart ailment. When the Rams finally returned to the court a week later, they won three straight.

Led by dynamic players like Chris Cheeks (23.8 ppg), Lionel Bacon (14.8 ppg) and Martin Henlan (9.8 ppg, 9.0 rpg), the Rams finished 13-15.

 

VCU BASKETBALL PRACTICE FACILITY RENDERINGS, A COMPARISON

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VCU_2014-0310_Ext Main Entrance

VCU announced it has selected a construction firm to build its new $25 million basketball practice facility, and with that announcement came the release of brand new artistic renderings of the complex. These are going to turn a few heads. You can view the full release and gallery HERE.

In the meantime, I thought I might offer a little further perspective of the site where the Rams will build their sparkling new facility, which is expected to be completed in the Fall of 2015.

First, here’s the site the new complex will occupy on Marshall Street, between Kinney and Norton Streets, adjacent to the Siegel Center.

At the top, you can see the site, currently occupied by the Thacker-Spencer Casket Company and Vasco Auto. Below is the Siegel Center.

At the top, you can see the site, currently occupied by the Thacker-Spencer Casket Company and Vasco Auto. Below is the Siegel Center.

Here’s are a couple of comparisons from the street of present day and the future site.

kinney-marshallnorton-marshall

No matter how you slice it, this thing is going to be nice. Shovels should be in the ground sometime around June 2.

2014-15 A-10 PAIRINGS RELEASED

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Here are VCU Men’s Basketball’s Atlantic 10 pairings for the 2014-15 season. The Rams will play home-and-home series with Davidson, George Mason, George Washington, Saint Louis and Richmond. I love that the league appears to have taken geography into account. VCU already enjoys a fantastic rivalry with Richmond, while the Rams also have strong recent history with Saint Louis and (as of last year) George Washington, and George Mason. Given Davidson’s history and location, VCU could have another budding rivalry on its hands there as well.

You will notice the league has officially shifted from a 16-game conference slate to an 18-game schedule. Given the 14-team makeup of the league, it was probably inevitable.

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Fans should really enjoy (at least) the names coming to the Siegel Center in 2015. On paper, the Rams will have a really strong A-10 home schedule, not that VCU was having trouble moving tickets.

For league-wide pairings for next season, click here.

SO THIS IS TERRY LARRIER…

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I don’t post a lot of mix tapes and dunk videos because they’re so overblown and generally of little use in actually evaluating a player’s on-court ability. You may have noticed that there are more than a few Division I basketball players that can dunk.

With all that get-off-my-lawn bluster aside, it’s hard not to enjoy watching this dunk from incoming four-star recruit Terry Larrier. Don’t project a career arc when you watch this. Just enjoy it for what it is. That doesn’t mean you should refrain from cooking up Terry Larrier nicknames. The season will be here before you know it.

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In other news, it is now completely impossible to dislike Kevin Durant. Last night, Durant gave probably the best MVP award acceptance speech ever. The best part is when Durant addresses his mom directly (about 2:55 mark). Watch it.

TROY DANIELS IS RIDICULOUS

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Here’s Troy Daniels, you know, the former Ram, undrafted free agent rookie, scoring 17 points in the second NBA Playoff game of his life. I’m not going to say much more because I’m running out of superlatives for Daniels, other than to add, rather obviously, that he’s perhaps the best story of the first round of the playoffs. Houston’s down 3-1 in the series to Portland, so hopefully Daniels has a few heroics left in the holster so we can KEEP WATCHING TROY DANIELS BURY THREES FOR DAYS.

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VIDEO: HERE’S 15 MINUTES OF KENDRICK WARREN DUNKING IN PEOPLE’S FACES

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Kendrick Warren electrified fans and averaged 17.5 points and 9.9 rebounds for VCU from 1990-94.

Kendrick Warren electrified fans and averaged 17.5 points and 9.9 rebounds for VCU from 1990-94.

VCU fans, this is going to be akin to a fireside chat with your grandfather. You know the one, where he tells you about the old days and seems to speak in tongues, talking about sock hops and soda jerks.

The march of time and the recent success of VCU Basketball have given berth to brand new generations of Rams fans, ones who know little of the names Duncan, Henderson, Lamb, Watson and Hopkins. I urge you to learn them, know them and speak them often.

Which brings me to Kendrick Warren. There are many fans who don’t know the singular brilliance of Warren, an explosive forward who was a walking mixtape before mixtapes. Many longtime VCU fans would argue – and they’d have a really good argument – that Warren was the best or the most talented player ever to play for the Rams.

A former McDonald’s All-American in high school, Warren dunked his way to a then VCU-record 1,858 points, 1,049 rebounds and 43 double-doubles from 1990-94. He ranks second in VCU history in all of those categories. When people discuss VCU Basketball history, they often do so in these terms: J.D. Barnett’s teams from 1979-85, Kendrick Warren and then this new “golden age” since 2004. That’s because from 1986-2003, Kendrick Warren was the one shred of national relevance for a program stuck in neutral. It’s also the reason why Warren’s greatness is sometimes overlooked. While Calvin Duncan, Eric Maynor and even Gerald Henderson, to some degree, were the stars of successful VCU teams, Warren’s era was symptomatic of the program’s two-decade malaise. VCU was 62-55 and made one NIT appearance during Warren’s career.

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