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.

SD: You’re down in Puerto Rico, but you’ve been able to follow this team. What are your thoughts on this year’s squad, and what has impressed you about them?
JR:
I love this year’s team. It’s amazing to me how much they have grown from the summer to now. They have put in so much work to get to where they are now. I truly believe they can make noise in this year’s tournament. To only have three losses in the CAA is incredible, I don’t care what people’s opinions are of the league this year.

SD: Much like when you took over the starting point guard role as a junior, many people doubted you. Darius went through the same thing. Did you talk to him about dealing with the doubters? What else have you shared with him?
JR:
I’ve really never talked to Darius about doubters or anything like that. He is so talented and works so hard that I knew he would be fine. When we talk it’s more about leading and being vocal. I love him to death, and he’s doing a great job, and he still has another year.

SD: You got to work out with this team during the summer. Were there things that you saw from this group that made you think this team could be special?
JR:
Definitely. In open gyms and scrimmages we had with them you could tell how athletic they were on defense. They were playing against me, Eric Maynor, Larry Sanders, Brandon Rozzell and Ed Nixon on one team, and it wore you out. They are so young and have a lot of upside.

SD: There aren’t many people that have been guarded by Briante Weber and lived to talk about it. Talk about what you saw when he guarded you during the summer?
JR: He’s a annoying in a great way – if you’re on his team. He’s athletic and plays so hard all the time. If he keeps working he can definitely be the best on ball defender in the country before he’s gone. I also think he can be a big scorer if he keeps working.

SD: Looking back on last year, what do you think is the most important lesson that the returners can take into this year’s NCAA Tournament?
JR: Just to be loose and aggressive. We never backed down from anyone. We knew we belonged out there with whoever we were playing.

SD: You watched as the Siegel Center sold out every game this year. You were one of the many great players that helped build the program to what it is today. What does it mean to you to see where the program is now just a year after graduating? In addition, can you talk about the fan base and what it’s like to play in the Siegel Center?
JR: I feel great about it. It’s been a lot of hard work, and it was amazing to see the atmosphere in Richmond. I miss it so much. I get more nervous watching the game on my couch than I was playing. My poor girlfriend Ciera has to deal with me now during the games.

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