March 1, 2014
Briante Weber, Dwayne Evans, Jarred Guest, Jordair Jett, Mo Alie-Cox, Saint Louis Billikens, Shaka Smart, Treveon Graham
Briante Weber provided 13 points and four steals in VCU’s win Saturday.
RICHMOND, Va. – They call him the Freight Train, and that’s what Treveon Graham resembled as his 6-foot-6, 220-pound frame rumbled down the sideline midway through the second half Saturday night.
Graham was chasing down a rebound, and despite his heft, the junior guard slipped past two Saint Louis players, grabbed the ball at midcourt and drew a hip-check foul. His momentum carried him into the path of 5-foot-9 VCU Coach Shaka Smart, who corralled him with an enthusiastic bear hug. The normally stoic Graham broke character and flashed a healthy smile.
It turns out, Smart was about the only person who could catch a Ram Saturday night. Saint Louis, ranked 10th in the country, certainly could not, as VCU staged a wire-to-wire 67-56 victory behind an opportunistic defense and a 49th straight sellout crowd at the Verizon Wireless Arena that lurched towards frenzy at every opportunity.
The victory was meaningful on a number of levels, for history – it was the highest-ranked team VCU had ever defeated at home – for the Rams’ NCAA Tournament resume, for its Atlantic 10 seeding, but it may have mattered most for pride. Since the Rams joined the A-10 last season, the Billikens were the only remaining member of the league VCU hadn’t cracked. Saint Louis defeated the Rams twice last season, once in St. Louis and once for the A-10 crown in Brooklyn, and then again at the Billikens’ Chaifetz arena on Feb. 15.
“It was definitely important. We had a mindset of payback from last year when they beat us in the championship game. Of course that’s always on our mind,” admitted junior guard Briante Weber, who provided 13 points and four of VCU’s 12 steals. “They had yet to come to VCU, and we wanted to give them the impression of what VCU’s like when you come in here.”
VCU upset 10th-ranked Saint Louis Saturday night before the 49th-straight sellout at the Verizon Wireless Arena at the Siegel Center,
Amid a pulsating sea of gold – the product of an advertised “Gold Out” – VCU (22-7, 10-4 A-10) whipped itself into an aggressive, defiant state.
February 5, 2014
Briante Weber, Briante Weber steals, Rolando Lamb
In honor of Briante Weber setting VCU’s all-time steals mark Saturday against Richmond, here’s an awesome compilation of him relentlessly picking the pocket of every ball-handler within a five-mile radius. Weber now has 260 career steals. He’s a JUNIOR. VCU hosts Rhode Island Thursday. Go see Briante make more history.
January 30, 2014
Briante Weber, Fordham Rams, Shaka Smart, Terrance Shannon, Treveon Graham
RICHMOND, Va. – It wasn’t a work of art, but it was a win. VCU turned Fordham over 18 times and held the Bronx-based Rams to 37 percent shooting on the way to a 76-60 win. It was VCU’s fourth straight victory and eighth in the last nine games. Here are some tidbits from the victory.
VCU junior and leading scorer left the game early in the second half with an apparent injury and did not return. He retreated to the training room for a period of time, but reappeared midway through the period and sat on VCU’s bench for the remainder of the game. He scored nine points in 15 minutes and was limping noticeably on his left leg.
Coach Shaka Smart says he believes Graham has a sprained toe, but stopped short of offering a timeline for his return.
“He’ll be getting as much treatment as possible, and I can’t tell you exactly when he’ll be back, but I’d guess it will be soon.”
Graham is averaging 15.7 points per game this season. VCU returns to action on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Siegel Center against Richmond.
Meanwhile, senior forward Terrance Shannon (sprained knee) did not play for a third straight game, although he was in uniform.
“He’s good,” Smart said. “His knee’s not all the way back yet, but he’s making progress. He’s done some things in practice. He’s not been 100 percent full-go in practice yet, but I anticipate hopefully he’ll be back, full-go soon.”
Shannon is averaging 3.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game this season.
VCU shot .338 in the win (22-of-65). It’s the Rams lowest shooting percentage in a victory since shooting .328 (21-of-64) in a 63-57 win over St. Francis (Pa.) on Nov. 11, 2011. VCU is 4-4 when shooting less than 40 percent this season… Briante Weber grabbed four steals to move within two of tying Rolando Lamb’s school record of 257, established in 1985…The game marked VCU’s 45th straight sellout at the Siegel Center… VCU’s 17-4 start is the best of Shaka Smart’s five-year tenure and the Rams’ best since 2007… After opening the season 1-of-14 from 3-point range, Weber is 6-of-16 (38 percent) in VCU’s last five games.
January 30, 2014
Briante Weber, Fordham Rams, Jordan Burgess, Melvin Johnson, Shaka Smart, Tom Pecora
MELVIN JOHNSON, JORDAN BURGESS, BRIANTE WEBER
FORDHAM COACH TOM PECORA
January 28, 2014
Briante Weber, Briante Weber steals, Havoc, Rolando Lamb, Shaka Smart
As of Jan. 28, Briante Weber needs seven steals to become VCU’s all-time leader.
RICHMOND, Va. – There are so many types of Briante Weber steals that it’s hard to pick a favorite.
There are the garden-variety, poke-the-ball-away steals, and the Havoc-induced free safety interception steals. From there, they progress to, things like the blind side, who-was-that-guy steal and the cruise-missile, fast-break-thwarting steal.
“Coach, since my freshman year, he emphasized a no layup rule,” Weber says. “Me having the quickness and the long arms, I just kind of reach in there. Sometimes I’m lucky. Sometimes I get a foul. But most of the time it works out for me. I’ve got a good knack for the ball. It helps me.”
Steals from those subsets have become relatively common, but if you’re lucky, you’ll catch something truly special at a VCU game.
For instance, Weber ripping the ball away from Butler’s Roosevelt Jones last year before administering a thunderous tomahawk dunk that set the tone for a blowout VCU victory. For the past year, that play has served as Weber’s seminal steal moment. But his diving theft of a George Mason roll-in pass on Jan. 9 may have been his magnum opus. It had all the markers of greatness: a disregard for personal welfare, a jolt of otherworldly adrenaline, and a pedestrian moment rendered disastrous for the opposition. It was furious art; like a Monet painted with a chainsaw.
January 19, 2014
Briante Weber, Duquesne Dukes, Rob Brandenberg, Shaka Smart, Terranc Shannon, Terrance Shannon dunk
TERRANCE SHANNON REDEFINES DUNKING
I don’t know why I’m going to bother to post all of these videos. You’re only going to watch this first one, where Terrance Shannon rewrites dunking history by slamming home a missed Juvonte Reddic dunk out of midair.
SHAKA SMART POSTGAME
January 10, 2014
Briante Weber, Rob Brandenberg, Shaka Smart, Terrance Shannon
Shaka Smart does not lack for enthusiasm on the VCU sideline.
RICHMOND, Va. – If you’re not a VCU fan, or if you watched Shaka Smart careen around the Reliant Stadium court at the Final Four in 2011 during the “Iron Man” drill, maybe you were skeptical. Seriously, what college basketball coach comports himself in a way that requires a helmet and possibly elbow pads?
Sure, Smart was young (he’s still 36), and he espouses the value of enthusiasm, but what coach is so invested in a system that he actually becomes a part of it? If you ever wondered If Smart’s demonstration at VCU’s Final Four open practice was a sincere expression of his belief in his system, you should have your answer by now.
Thursday’s 71-57 win over George Mason was just the most recent example of Smart’s investment in Havoc, and his role as the emotional mechanism that ignites the engine.
When you cover a beat for long enough, you come to understand the lexicon, the language and ideas that show up on a daily basis. For Smart, much of what he says and does is somehow related to expressions of energy, enthusiasm and appreciation. Smart often talks about players as “energy givers” or “energy takers”. He views energy as contagious, like a benign form of the mob mentality. It starts at the top, and it’s possible that nobody is more of an energy giver than Smart.
January 10, 2014
#CheckTheStu, Briante Weber, George Mason Patriots, Shaka Smart, Terrance Shannon, That Animal, Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center
Thursday night, VCU welcomed George Mason to the Atlantic 10 Conference essentially the same way the Rams said farewell (although they didn’t know it at the time) to them in the CAA in 2012: with a Havoc-heavy double-digit win. In front of a raucous, “Check the Stu” legion of VCU fans – the 43rd straight sellout at the Siegel Center – VCU beat the Patriots 71-57.
It was a night where I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the bouillabaisse of terrific happenings on and off the court. First and foremost, the “Check the Stu” promotion. Much like last year’s “Stripe the Stu”, this was outstanding. Frankly, it’s intimidating to look up in the stands and see 7,700 black and gold shirts bearing down on you. Love how big-time that looks on TV too.
As if that wasn’t enough, the game featured possibly the best Briante Weber steal you’ll ever see, a thunderous Terrance Shannon tip dunk, a Shaka Smart chestbump (of Shannon) and a space kitten. Let’s recap!
This picture doesn’t necessarily do it justice, but it’s the only arena shot at have right now.
With about 47 seconds left in the game and VCU up double-digits, George Mason attempted to roll the ball in – an attempt to advance the ball without running clock. Bad idea. Briante Weber, who just flat-out never downshifts, came sliding in for one of the best steals you’ll see. Ever. Seriously.
EDIT: Slide gif now available.
Weber finished with 12 points and added a total of five steals to move into sole possession of second place one the program’s career list.
January 4, 2014
Briante Weber, Melvin Johnson, Shaka Smart, Stony Brook Seawolves, Terrance Shannon, Treveon Graham
Senior Juvonte Reddic provided 11 points in VCU’s non-conference finale Friday.
RICHMOND, Va. – The Stony Brook basketball team got the jump on snowstorm Hercules by taking the team bus to Richmond early Thursday morning. In the process, the Seawolves escaped howling winds, frigid temperatures and five inches of snow. But what Stony Brook walked into at the Verizon Wireless Arena VCU Friday night was possibly much worse.
Instead of Old Man Winter, Stony Brook got Shaka Smart and a raging Havoc storm front that removed all doubt early in the second half and handed the Seawolves an 81-63 defeat. Instead of Jack Frost, there was Briante Weber coolly directing a VCU team that appears to be rounding into form.
Perhaps it would have been better for Stony Brook to take a snow day.
After a Weber leaner at the first half buzzer gave the Rams a 36-35 lead, the Rams erupted with a 15-0 blitz out of the lockerroom – the type of dizzying run for which VCU has become known – and never looked back on the way to their fourth straight win. It was also the fourth consecutive game in which VCU swept in like a cold front and iced the opposing team’s offense.
The Seawolves may have caught the Rams at the worst possible time. After stinging losses to Florida State and Georgetown earlier this year, the Rams have won eight of nine to close conference play.