February 18, 2013
Franklin Street Gym, Jarred Guest, Juvonte Reddic, Shaka Smart
Sophomore Jarred Guest has carved out a role in VCU’s eight-man rotation this season.
RICHMOND, Va. – It can’t be more than three blocks from Franklin Street Gym, where the VCU Men’s Basketball team holds the bulk of its practices, to the Verizon Wireless Arena, where it plays games before thousands of rabid fans.
But for some players, it can seem like a thousand miles. That’s because skills showcased during practice often don’t always easily translate to the arena on game night. In recent years, VCU Coach Shaka Smart talked about senior Troy Daniels’ walk down that road. Daniels appeared to mentally cross that bridge last season, and is now one of the nation’s best long-range shooters.
Sophomore Jarred Guest can probably relate. He’s in the midst of his own practice-to-game transition. Guest, a gazelle-like forward, aims to display more of his Franklin Street talents at the Siegel Center.
“We’re just trying to get him to be our energy guy,” Smart said recently. “[He’s] just been phenomenal in practice for most of the year; probably our leading rebounder in practice. He’s a guy that needs to just settle down and play when he gets in the game.”
November 29, 2012
Adam Pegg, Battle 4 Atlantis, Briante Weber, Darius Theus, Jarred Guest, Juvonte Reddic, Melvin Johnson, Rob Brandenberg, Stetson Hatters
Juvonte Reddic led all players with 20 points Wednesday.
RICHMOND, Va. – Juvonte Reddic said it was about getting back to basics. If he meant, basically running Stetson out of the gym, then Wednesday night was mission accomplished for VCU, which dismantled the Hatters 92-56 at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
In their first game back from the rugged Battle 4 Atlantis, the Rams looked like a baseball player who spent the weekend swinging a bat with a weighted donut, only to remove it in time for Wednesday’s game. VCU unloaded on the overmatched Hatters (2-3), dominating every facet of the game. If not for VCU’s dreadful 3-point shooting (5-of-22), the Hatters would be wearing their Stetsons much lower on their way back to Florida.
After a 1-2 showing at the “Battle”, where they played three top-25 teams in three days, the Rams looked loose against a team that is clearly not of the same ilk, no offense to Stetson. It makes the win difficult to assess, if the prism we’re viewing VCU through now is that of a team on par with the Dukes and the Missouris and the Memphises. But the Rams appeared to do everything they were supposed to do, and more.
“It’s always fun to play here. We had a tough little stretch in the Bahamas going 1-2, so we told ourselves to reset, come back to Siegel,” said junior Rob Brandenberg, who finished with 17 points.
November 14, 2012
Jarred Guest, Mike Rhoades
We’ve already told you that VCU Associate Head Coach Mike Rhoades likes to practice with the team, and that he, quite frankly, more than holds his own. But if you thought that Rhoades was just Cadillac-ing around the perimeter all day, you’d be wrong.
The photo below is from Monday’s practice after Rhoades was on the wrong end of a Jarred Guest elbow while fighting for a rebound. Dude is smiling minutes after he had his two front teeth knocked out. He can play for my hockey team any day.
November 2, 2012
Briante Weber, Darius Theus, Jarred Guest, Justin Tuoyo, Melvin Johnson, Shaka Smart, Troy Daniels., Virginia Union
Sophomore Briante Weber scored 10 points, eight in transition, and ripped eight steals in VCU’s 94-44 rout of Virginia Union.
RICHMOND, Va. – It must be rough to be Shaka Smart sometimes. It’s his job look at the film from Thursday’s 50-point win and find out what the Rams did wrong. Good luck with that, Coach. Maybe somebody left their shirt untucked.
For most observers of the Rams’ 94-44 systematic obliteration of Virginia Union, VCU was nearly flawless. At one point, the Rams led by 62. Sixty-two points! Even as Smart tried to position himself for a preemptive strike against overconfidence, he conceded a little of the obvious: The Rams dominated the Panthers in every facet of the game.
“I would give it a pretty good,” Smart offered. “It’s about as well as you’re going to do this time of year. We’ve got some things to work on. We’ll watch the tape and see what we need to improve on and get better at.”
It appears VCU was flawless in coachspeak Thursday as well. Of course he can’t give away too much now. He can’t give into the desire to celebrate a win that really isn’t a win at all. On Thursday morning, VCU’s record was 0-0. On Friday morning, it’s still 0-0. Smart’s paid to think big picture, and big picture is March.
Smart’s real task will be to separate VCU’s good from the talent gap between the two teams. Virginia Union was overwhelmed by the Rams’ press to the tune of 22 turnovers. Thirty-three of the Rams’ points came off Union giveaways. Was that because VCU was that good? Was Virginia Union that bad? A little bit of both? That’s going to be Smart’s chore. From my perspective, it was more of VCU’s defensive bloodlust than it was Union’s inadequacy.
October 25, 2012
Briante Weber, D.J. Haley, Darius Theus, David Hinton, Jarred Guest, Justin Tuoyo, Juvonte Reddic, Melvin Johnson, Rob Brandenberg, Shaka Smart, Teddy Okereafor, Treveon Graham, Troy Daniels.
Rams’ coach Shaka Smart says VCU is ahead of where it was last October, but not yet where it needs to be.
RICHMOND, Va, – Last October, VCU Coach Shaka Smart was driving home the narrative that the Rams were a young (nine freshmen and sophomores) team trying to find its way. Early in the season, VCU played like it.
The Rams opened with a lukewarm win over lightly regarded Saint Francis (Pa.) and followed with ugly losses to Seton Hall and Georgia Tech. However, by March VCU was a locomotive, chugging to 18 wins in its final 20 games. Those two losses were decided by a total of three final points and one of them came by virtue of a 25-foot buzzer-beater.
It would be nice if the Rams, who return all but one player from that team, could just pick up where they left off and start blitzing through the schedule, but Smart says it doesn’t work like that.
“It’s never easy,” Smart said. “The offseason, even though we have experience, I’ve never been involved with a team in college coaching that could carry over the habits through the offseason. You have to rebuild that stuff every year. That’s one of the facts of coaching.”