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A lot to unpack here, so let’s get to it. We’ll have for-real basketball in four days. I’m not sure what you’re going to do with yourself for the rest of the week, but hang in there.

In the meantime, it’s Halloween, and certain folks around here take that pretty seriously. The VCU Baseball team, for example:

Speaking of hoops, the Atlantic 10 Conference held its annual media day downtown last week, which gave Coach Beth O’Boyle a chance to wax ecstatic about this year’s Rams. Her program is coming off a 23-win campaign, and optimism surrounds the 2016-17 season.

There’s a little VCU hoops alumni news as well. Final Four hero Jamie Skeen, who missed much of last season with a knee injury, is headed to training camp with Charlotte’s D-League team in Greensboro.

By now you’ve likely heard that Briante Weber was among the Miami Heat’s final cuts. But the team has made it clear they like Weber’s upside and want to continue to develop him, so they’ve sent him back to its D-League team. It sounds like he’ll get plenty of opportunity there.

Finally, a great moment from this weekend. Julia Suarez provides a game-winning goal in the 92nd minute against Richmond on Sunday. Doesn’t get much better than that.


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After weeks of the media camping in tents outside the Basketball Development Center, we finally let those scribes in for some water and nourishment. We even gave them a few minutes to chat with Will Wade and the guys, since the season is just around the corner. Afterwards, we banished the media to the loading dock of the E.J. Wade Arena, where they’ll be forced to wait until Nov. 4.

If you’re both enthusiastic about the prospect of Mo Alie-Cox playing football someday, but also less enthusiastic about hearing about it all season don’t wor…just kidding. You’re going to hear about it 182 more times from now until April. Don’t fret. That just means Mo’s a really talented fella. If he breaks a few tackles down the road, I’ll be thrilled. In the meantime, I hope he breaks a few rims first.

Woody: VCU’s Mo Alie-Cox has a pro career – but which sport? – in his future (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Notes: Freshman Malik Crowfield ‘to play quite a bit’ for VCU; Justin Tillman expecting more rebounds (Richmond Times-Dispatch)


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The Atlantic 10 conducted its annual Media Day on Oct. 18 in Pittsburgh, site of the 2017 conference tournament. Although it’ll be a big change from the last four years in Brooklyn, Pittsburgh really seems to be embracing the A-10. In the meantime, check out some sights and sounds from Will Wade’s trip to A-10 Media Day.


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Whether you are ready for it or not, we are hurtling towards basketball season. I’m under the impression that VCU fans are generally always ready. Practice is underway, and we caught up with Coach Will Wade and Mo Alie-Cox to find out how preparations are going for the 2016-17 season. T-minus 22 days until the exhibition game with Queens.



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Briante Weber’s back in town. The former VCU star recently completed a successful summer league stint for the Miami Heat in Orlando and Las Vegas, and has returned to Richmond to recharge. We caught up with him Tuesday, and the Rams’ all-time steals leader took a moment to reflect on his rapid professional ascent.


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The soon-to-be Disney story that is Briante Weber’s basketball career continues to gain momentum. The former VCU Minister of Defense is busy blowing up ball handlers in the NBA Summer League with the Miami Heat.

It was always understood that Weber’s offense would need time to develop, and his 40-percent shooting in eight summer league contests doesn’t dispel that notion, but he’s looking more comfortable all the time. On Wednesday, Weber dropped in 18 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Weber also appears to be getting a handle on his role as a facilitator at the point.

On the defensive side of the ball, he’s Briante “Bleeping” Weber, G.O.A.T, esq. He’s averaging 4.3 steals per game combined in the Orlando and Las Vegas Summer Leagues, including two 6-steal contests and one 5-swipe game. In one game, Weber scored nine points, grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out six assists and ripped six steals.

In all, Weber is averaging 8.8 points, 4.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 4.3 steals per game.

Weber is one of four VCU alums playing in NBA Summer Leagues. Treveon Graham shredded the Orlando Summer League with the Magic’s White squad. The second-leading scorer in VCU history averaged 16.0 points, while shooting .558 from the floor in five games. Graham is a member of Utah’s Las Vegas Summer League team, but hasn’t received much in the way of minutes. We’ll conduct a full investigation on behalf of Ram Nation shortly.

Melvin Johnson is playing with Houston in Las Vegas. He’s appeared in one game so far for eight minutes. He knocked down one 3-pointer in that contest.

Juvonte Reddic, meanwhile, has appeared in three games for the NBA D-League Select squad. He’s averaging 2.7 points and scored six Wednesday in a loss to Philadelphia.


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NCAA Basketball: VCU at Florida State

Former Oral Roberts standout Korey Billbury averaged 11.2 points and 4.9 rebounds for VCU in his lone season as a Ram.

Korey Billbury’s time as a VCU Ram was short, but it was certainly memorable. The fifth-year senior transfer from Oral Roberts was a critical piece of VCU’s 25-win, Atlantic 10 Co-Championship team. Billbury, who averaged 11.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game for the Rams, capped his senior campaign with an NCAA win over Oregon State in Oklahoma City, a short ride from his hometown of Tulsa. With his collegiate career behind him, Billbury is looking ahead to his professional basketball career. Our Mike Voyack caught up with him recently.


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Melvin Johnson bolstered his pro prospects in 2015-16 by averaging 17.4 points, while knocking down 110 three-pointers for the Rams.

Melvin Johnson has enjoyed a busy summer, logging workouts with nearly a dozen NBA teams. Although Johnson, VCU’s all-time leader in 3-point field goals, isn’t guaranteed to receive a phone call on draft night, an NBA Summer League stint, the professional entry point for a number of former Rams, seems highly likely. He took a break from working summer camps to sit down with us.


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Viral video time. This one comes via VCU University Relations, but there’s plenty of Athletics cameos in here, from Mo Alie-Cox, to Baseball Coach Shawn Stiffler to Pavarotti. Justin Timberlake has created a monster. Expect more of these.


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You may have heard, but last week Will Wade won the Positive Vibe Cafe Coaches Cook Off last week. That’s because he went with steak, and steak always wins…unless it’s up against bacon, and then bacon always wins, but I digress.

But the real winner here is Max’s Positive Vibe Cafe, which helps adults with disabilities find employment. We’re glad Will and VCU could be a part of something like this.

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