MO’S A GO; FROSH MAKES EARLY IMPACT

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After sitting out the 2012-13 season, Mo Alie-Cox is averaging 3.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game this year.

After sitting out the 2012-13 season, Mo Alie-Cox is averaging 3.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game this year.

RICHMOND, Va. – It looks like Mo Alie-Cox was worth the wait.

Watching the 6-foot-6 freshman fly around the basketball court, slamming powerful dunks, blocking shots with his tennis racket hands, swallowing rebounds with his muscular, tree-branch arms, it’s hard to imagine the kinetic Alie-Cox – his dreadlocks flopping around as if they were hanging onto his scalp for dear life – as basically a man without a country last season.

Ruled a partial qualifier by the NCAA last summer, the VCU freshman experienced the 2012-13 basketball season the same way many Rams fans did, from the stands. The Lorton, Va. native wasn’t allowed to practice with his teammates or even sit on the bench during games. He was on the VCU roster, but in a lot of ways, Alie-Cox was on his own team.

VCU Coach Shaka Smart met with Alie-Cox nearly every day last year after the freshman’s gym or weight room sessions to “try to give him some examples of things that would motivate him and things that were coming in the future.”

While Alie-Cox says he valued those conversations with Smart and his staff, there wasn’t a whole lot else that could be done to involve him in the day-to-day rigors of basketball season.

Instead, Alie-Cox was left to work out on his own with a training program designed by Strength and Conditioning Coach Daniel Roose. Alie-Cox may be physically impressive, but he says he had never seriously lifted weights before last year. When he finally did, he made some eye-popping – and muscle popping – gains.

Alie-Cox says he could only do about four body weight pull-ups when he got to college. The 250-pound Alie-Cox recently maxed out at 23. He also says he shaved three minutes off his mile run and can now bench press 185 pounds more than 20 times. Roose says that after returning to practice, Alie-Cox was able to squat all of the weight his staff could fit on the bar, nearly 600 pounds.

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TOWSON NOTES: SUPERBERG SUPER AGAIN

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Rob Brandenberg knocked down 6-of-11 field goals Wednesday and finished with 16 points

TOWSON, Md. – The Rams were in good spirits after coasting to a 67-42 win at Towson Wednesday night at the Towson Center, but probably none of them was as happy as sophomore Rob Brandenberg.

After nearly a month of rough nights, Brandenberg broke out of an extended shooting slump against the winless Tigers. Brandenberg scored VCU’s first eight points and finished with a game-high 16. The 6-foot-3 guard knocked down 6-of-11 field goals, including 3-of-7 from 3-point range. He also provided four steals.

“It felt good,” Brandenberg said. “I’ve been struggling the last few games, everybody knows. It just felt good to get in the swing of things and just knock down shots and get back to the type of basketball I play, which is making shots, attacking the rim.”

Entering Wednesday’s game, Brandenberg was 8-of-45 (18 percent) from the field in the last eight games, including 3-of-24 (13 percent) from 3-point range.

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