January 24, 2013
Black and Blue Classic, Brandon Rozzell, Darius Theus, Joey Rodriguez, Richmond Spiders, Shaka Smart, Troy Daniels.
VCU is 2-1 against Richmond during senior Darius Theus’ career.
RICHMOND, Va. – For a night, battle lines are drawn somewhere around Staples Mill Road. It’s West End versus Downtown when Richmond and VCU meet on the basketball court.
“I remember when I got the job here, several people came up to me and told me, I don’t care how you do all season, except you’ve got to beat Old Dominion and Richmond, and so I never forgot when they said that,” recalled VCU Coach Shaka Smart Tuesday.
In recent years, as both programs have risen to national prominence – VCU’s Final Four run in 2011 cemented its status, while Richmond’s Sweet 16 berth the same year did the same – so too has this long-running rivalry.
It’s always been a contentious fight, but lately, the stars have aligned to add flavor to this rivalry. In addition to each school’s NCAA tournament success, 19th-ranked VCU (16-3, 4-0 A-10) and Richmond (12-7, 2-2 A-10) are conference foes once again this season. A win is worth more than local bragging rights. It can alter the course of the Atlantic 10 Conference race.
Fans on both sides of the rivalry cast their stones annually, sometimes enough to whip players and coaches into the fervor. Smart said recently that in past years, players like Joey Rodriguez, known for his penchant for absorbing Internet chatter, and Richmond-native Brandon Rozzell enjoyed the buzz around town for games like this.
January 19, 2013
B.A. Walker, Bradford Burgess, Duquesne Dukes, J.D. Barnett, Joey Rodriguez, Shaka Smart, Sonny Smith, Treveon Graham, Troy Daniels.
PITTSBURGH – More to follow on VCU’s 90-63 win at Duquesne later, but a few pieces of housekeeping:
- With the win, Shaka Smart improves to 100-31 all-time. He is the third VCU coach, joining J.D. Barnett and Sonny Smith, to reach that plateau. Smart reaches 100 wins in the 30th fewest games in NCAA history and is just the 12th coach to top the century mark in his first four seasons.
- VCU’s victory was its 13th straight, the third longest in school history. The Rams won 16 in a row Jan. 18-March 13, 1981 and 15 straight Jan. 15-March 4, 1983.
- Sophomore Treveon Graham scored 20 points in 21 minutes of play. It’s his fifth 20-point game of the season and his third in five games. Graham is averaging 20.5 points per game in his last six contests.
- VCU knocked down 12-of-29 three-pointers Saturday, its most in five games.
- Senior Troy Daniels buried two 3-pointers to become the fourth VCU player to hit 200 in his career. He joins B.A. Walker, Joey Rodriguez and Bradford Burgess on that exclusive list.
A FEW HIGHLIGHTS:
December 22, 2012
Darius Theus, Jamal Shuler, Joey Rodriguez, Longwood Basketball, Longwood Lancers, Rob Brandenberg, Shaka Smart, Troy Daniels.
Senior Troy Daniels hit seven 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 25 points in Friday’s win.
RICHMOND, Va. – The Rams can move onto their holiday break with clear heads. VCU did what it was supposed to do in Friday’s 93-56 throttling of Longwood. There were no surprises, just a comfortable win where the Rams played to their ability.
The Rams kept the pedal to the medal, stomping out any fears of a lackluster performance and/or an overlooked opponent. In recent years, despite lesser opponents, that hasn’t always been the case in VCU’s last game before Christmas.
But rather than look ahead to Christmas ham and family time, VCU took care of business. The Rams scored the first nine points of the game and were up 19 by halftime. Although Longwood shot 44 percent in the first half, the Rams also forced 13 turnovers.
Whatever flaws VCU had on the defensive end in the first half were cleared up in the second when the Rams used a 17-0 run over an eight-minute stretch to turn the game into a 76-40 laugher. From there, it was all academic.
Senior Darius Theus, who finished with five points, five steals and nine assists, said the Rams were able to block out potential distractions.
“I think it’s hard for a lot of teams, but I think coming in and being ready to play separates good teams from okay teams, and I feel out approach was real good tonight,” Theus said. “Even though guys are excited about going home and being with their family, we only had one thing in mind. That was getting this win tonight.”
July 2, 2012
Collin Brown, Joey Rodriguez
Fifth grader Collin Brown likely just bought himself a vacation. This kid is going to get sent home before he has time to tear into his first Hostess Cake at lunch. Showing up Final Four hero Joey Rodriguez like that? At his own camp? How about that little Kirk Gibson fist pump at the end, just oozing swag in J-Rod’s grill? Not cool, Collin Brown, not cool. Enjoy the rest of the week on the couch watching Dragon Ball Z.
June 20, 2012
Happy birthday to VCU alum and current pro basketballer Joey Rodriguez. In honor of the day, here’s Rodriguez breaking VCU’s single-game assist record with 17 against UNC Greensboro on Nov. 12, 2010.
March 11, 2012
Joey Rodriguez led the CAA in assists his final two seasons in a VCU uniform.
VCU Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Communications Scott Day recently caught up with former VCU point guard Joey Rodriguez to get his take on playing professionally and this year’s Rams.
SD: First of all, how’s it going down in Puerto Rico?
JR: It’s going pretty well. I am backing up one of the best point guards to ever come out of Puerto Rico, so I’m learning a lot and playing a solid role on the team.
SD: How is this year different than last year in Puerto Rico?
JR: First and foremost, I’m not traveling back and forth. I am enjoying it here this year. Knowing I am working to provide for my family and I. I’m contributing on a good team and getting paid doing what I love.
SD: How does the team look this year?
JR: We’re 2-2 right now. We’re still missing some players that are in China and Argentina.
December 27, 2011
Darius Theus, Eric Maynor, Joey Rodriguez, Shaka Smart
Junior guard Darius Theus is averaging 7.9 points and 4.7 assists this season.
In one dizzying 54-second stretch, it was obvious how much Darius Theus had grown into his role as VCU’s point guard and playmaker.
It was Dec. 4 and the Rams were watching a huge lead disintegrate against George Washington. The Rams’ 19-point advantage had been whittled to 62-56 with less than five minutes left. Momentum had shifted decidedly in the Colonials favor. It was at that moment that Briante Weber found Theus in the corner for a 3-pointer. Theus entered the game as an 18-percent career 3-point shooter, but neither player hesitated.
On the Rams’ ensuing possession, Theus darted past a defender and to the rim, scoring the bucket in traffic while drawing the foul. George Washington never recovered and the Rams cruised to a 75-60 victory.
Two plays do not a season make, but Theus that sequence showcased the junior’s impressive growth as he moves into the role of floor general for the Rams this season. After backing up Joey Rodriguez for two years, Theus is averaging 7.9 points and 4.7 assists a game, both career highs. Through 12 games, Theus’ 49 percent shooting from the field was a marked improvement over his 39 percent career average. While his statistical gains imply improved physical skills, the 6-foot-3 Portsmouth, Va. native says his success begins with his mental approach to the game.
November 8, 2011
B.A. Walker, Bradford Burgess, Dom Jones, Eric Maynor, Jamal Shuler, Jesse Pellot-Rosa, Joey Rodriguez, Johnny Story, Kendrick Warren, Larry Sanders, Michael Anderson, Nick George, Rob Brandenberg, T.J. Gwynn
Larry Sanders averaged 4.9 points and 5.2 rebounds as a freshman in 2007-08
They say youth is wasted on the young. I just think those of us in the post-30 crowd hate that The Jersey Shore has taken over MTV. When I was a college freshman, I could run a sub-5:00 mile, sleep three hours a night and had great hair (true story). Of course, I didn’t know what I was doing half the time, and I didn’t care. The experience, one painful lesson at a time, was all worth it. It made me better personally and professionally (at least, that’s what I’m going with).
There are six freshmen on this year’s VCU Men’s Basketball team. Statistically speaking, the Rams are the 10th-youngest team in the country. They’re all great basketball players. They wouldn’t be here otherwise. But there are going to be mistakes, plenty of youthful mistakes. Enough to cause Shaka Smart to lose some of his hair…wait…let’s move on.
The point here is that these guys are all great talents, it’s just a matter of getting the best out of them. It’s going to take time. You’ll see it some nights and others you might shake your head. It’s rare to find a guy ahead of the curve, who can come in and dominate right away. Just like I didn’t come in and just dominate the blogging game. It took years of experience to be this awesome.
October 25, 2011
Today’s photo courtesy of Joey Rodriguez. This tweet got me thinking, what if? What if Rodriguez picks one of the other schools in this stack of letters? We’ll never know, and I think we’re all pretty happy about that.
October 17, 2011
Men's Basketball, Women's Basketball
Bradford Burgess, Jamie Skeen, Joey Rodriguez
Jamie Skeen was named All-CAA Second Team at the end of the 2010-11 regular season. He was not on any of the All-CAA preseason teams.
On Tuesday, the Colonial Athletic Association will hold its annual men’s and women’s basketball media day in Arlington, Va., where it’ll reveal its Preseason All-Conference Teams. I think this is the perfect opportunity to apologize for my profession and the rest of my media brethren. These preseason All-Conference teams, they’re our fault.
I know how fun it is to prognosticate, to predict how an entire season will shape up on a single sheet of paper. Believe me, I’ve done it and enjoyed the heck out of it.
As a former voting member of both the All-CAA Men’s and Women’s awards body, I have contributed to this affliction for the preseason crowning of the best of the…well, I don’t know, actually. What are we rewarding people for with these preseason All-Conference teams again?
It’s a simple equation. Take last year’s All-Conference team, subtract the graduating seniors, injured players and suspended/ineligible/dismissed troublemakers. Move everybody up into the available spots. Then, with what’s left, take some educated guesses to fill the remaining slots and voila! You have voted for your very own preseason All-Conference team.
There’s the rub. There’s little or no science to this. We’re not rewarding an accomplishment, unless we’re talking about last year’s accomplishments, which we already rewarded – last year. It doesn’t – and can’t – account for so many unforeseen circumstances. How about an underperforming junior who figures it out as a senior? May I present, Jamie Skeen? How about the player whose career arc levels off, like, say, Julius Wells? What about new transfers or breakout freshmen?