NO, YOU WILL NOT BE GOING BASELINE ON JUSTIN TILLMAN

Leave a comment

VCU Rams1

The only thing that would make this highlight better would be a special effects explosion, because Justin Tillman blocked the world out of Saint Louis’ Ash Yacoubou on this play. If this happened to me, I would fake an injury and go back to the lockerroom and curl up in a ball.

.

In other news, here are tonight’s pressers.

.

EDIT: BONUS AWESOME VIDEO
Here is VCU’s bench reacting to Torey Burston’s first career basket, a 3-pointer, no less.

GAMEDAY WITH ‘THE SONS OF SHAKA’

Leave a comment

VCU Rams1

140201_020_sc_sr-1200x800

Meet Matt Greene, Manny Juranis, Gary Watkins and Brian Curran, also known as ‘The Sons of Shaka’.

On Jan. 31, I got to hang out with some of VCU’s most fervent – and entertaining – basketball fans, The Sons of Shaka. Following VCU’s Final Four run in 2011, Manny Juranis, Gary Watkins, Matt Greene and Brian Curran decided they needed to take their fandom to the next level. They started dressing up for big games in elaborate, coordinated costumes like professional wrestlers, referees, players and the like. On this particular day, they showed up as KISS.

SHAKA TALKS SLU (MEDIA MINUTES)

Leave a comment

VCU Rams1

A rematch with Saint Louis is on deck here in wintery Richmond. Shaka Smart met with the media Monday to talk about it.

.

And, in case you missed it, here’s Coach Smart following VCU’s win over George Washington Saturday.

TYRON MCCOY’S STILL GOT IT

Leave a comment

VCU Rams1

Tyron McCoy was a heck of a player for VCU from 1991-95. In the last 25 years, two VCU players have scored 40 points in a game. One is Willie Taylor. The other is Tyron McCoy, who scored 1,456 of them during his career.

McCoy later had a long professional career, mostly in Germany. Today, he’s the coach of the Artland Dragons in Germany’s top pro league. Apparently, he’s still getting some shots up on the side.

.

I think my favorite part of this video is everybody’s reaction. So chill. Uh, bro, your coach in an Armani suit just sank a 40 footer. Can we at least high-five or something?

A CONVERSATION WITH DARIUS THEUS

Leave a comment

VCU Rams1

I had an opportunity to catch up with former VCU point guard Darius Theus recently. We actually shot two videos, the first of which you see below. The second will be available soon. Enjoy.

SHAKA SMART MEDIA MINUTES (FEB. 9)

Leave a comment

Shaka Smart looks back at Saturday’s tough loss at St. Bonaventure and ahead to Wednesday’s game with La Salle.

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT

Leave a comment

VCU Rams1

Sophomore Doug Brooks provided nine points and solid defense in VCU's 72-60 win at George Mason.

Sophomore Doug Brooks (having his face reconfigured above) provided nine points and solid defense in VCU’s 72-60 win at George Mason.

Last night at George Mason, VCU’s cup runneth over…with adversity.

Given the season-ending injury suffered by senior point guard Briante Weber days earlier, the Rams were already faced with an emotional road game Wednesday night. How would VCU regroup mentally? Would the impact of Weber’s injury linger? How would the Rams replace his contributions on the court?

If you said to yourself, ‘Wow, VCU sure does have a lot to deal with tonight,’ you’d be like the rest of us. Except Fate. Fate laughed and gave the Rams another scoop.

Treveon Graham re-aggravated his right ankle injury and played just 12 minutes last night. When he exited the game for good, VCU trailed 26-19. If you responded at that moment with a litany of colorful four-letter words, not even your grandma would admonish you.

Instead of packing it in, VCU, led by its stable of underclassmen, gritted out a 72-60 win at the Patriot Center. That means that VCU was plus-19 last night against George Mason without Weber and Graham. Look, the Patriots may be struggling, but winning on the road without two of your three best players is pretty darn impressive, regardless of opponent.

Mo Alie-Cox didn’t fill up the box score, but he did make a couple of spectacular plays down the stretch and also did a splendid job of limiting Shevon Thompson’s post touches. Oh, and there was this:

Dougie Brooks’ game has matured by leaps and bounds over last year. Melvin Johnson (17 points) and JeQuan Lewis (13 points, 4 assists) led the way with heady playmaking.

It certainly won’t get any easier for VCU. The Rams head to the hinterlands of New York State to play at St. Bonaventure team that just won at Davidson, especially if Graham cannot go. But if Wednesday’s game was any indication, the Rams are going to battle every night, regardless of who is on the floor.

 

BRIANTE WEBER AND THE MORNING AFTER

11 Comments

VCU Rams1

Do you know how much VCU fans love Briante Weber? I thought I did, but I was not prepared for the all-out blitz of emotion pouring from the souls of the VCU faithful. On Saturday night, I wrote a column on my couch in a blur with a pit in my stomach and a stiff drink on the coffee table. Within 10 hours it had become the most read post in this six-year history of this blog.

Today, Shaka Smart addressed the media for the first time since Weber’s injury. While George Mason awaits on Wednesday, Weber’s status dominated his weekly presser.

.

Meanwhile, it’s time to start picking up the pieces. For the fans, that means it’s time to celebrate an incredible career. Weber averaged 6.8 points per game as a Ram, and yet, he’s one of the most beloved players in school history. And here’s why:

More

ABOUT BRIANTE…

17 Comments

VQ0302MBK01_047H.JPG

RICHMOND, Va. – I do not envy Shaka Smart tonight. No way. No how.

I can’t fathom how it feels to tell a kid like Briante Weber that his VCU career is over. Do you want that job? I don’t. There isn’t enough money in the world to make me want to deliver news like that. Not to any 22-year-old kid. Especially not to Briante Weber.

On Saturday night, VCU announced that Weber, the Rams’ starting point guard, the school’s all-time leader steals, the team’s emotional fulcrum and the personification of Smart’s “Havoc” tore the ACL, MCL and meniscus in his right knee in a loss to Richmond. His VCU career is over. He is 12 steals shy of the NCAA record. Life can be so unfair sometimes.

I’ve never pretended this blog was objective, and I’m definitely not going to start tonight. Learning the extent of Weber’s injury earlier was an absolute gut-punch. I have, never in my 12-year career in college athletics, ever felt so deeply for a student-athlete as I do at this moment.

I’ve been fortunate to have a courtside seat, both literally and figuratively, to Weber’s career. I’ve never covered anybody like him.

From his singular brilliance as a defender to his hilariously playful quirks to his unfettered exuberance, he is one-of-a-kind. Every gameday looked like Christmas morning to this guy. He played with his heart on his shooting sleeve. Briante Weber played with an enthusiasm you simply cannot fake.

I’ve never seen a player approach the game of basketball with the same passion as Weber. I’ve watched him check into basketball games the last four years. Let me tell you straight: nobody was as excited to check into a basketball game as Briante Weber. Every time. Every minute on the bench was one minute too long.

On the floor, he basked in the waves of adoration from the crowd, let it wash over him, and like a conductor, often signaled for more, pushed it toward crescendo.

This job lets me get close enough to these players that I get just a hint of their dreams and a whiff of what it feels like to chase it. It’s intoxicating and beautiful. Watching Weber do it was somehow better than that.

As for what this means for the Rams moving forward, that’s a column for another day. I just don’t have it in me tonight, man. Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter much right now.

But don’t make this column a eulogy for Briante Weber’s career. I refuse. Won’t allow it. I’ve watched him play like a jet-fueled video game cheat code for four years and do it with a level of energy I can only describe as volcanic. I refuse to write off a guy like that. I am squarely on the Weber bandwagon from here to wherever he wants to drive it.

My heart goes out to Weber tonight and to his teammates. Those guys are like family to each other. Each man a brother. They’re all hurting tonight.

Tonight was a crushing blow for Weber, for VCU, for all of us who have invested emotionally in these four years. But if there’s one thing that Weber’s career has taught me it’s that there’s an ebb and flow to waves of emotion, and while this is most certainly the valley, there’s a peak ahead.

I’ve enjoyed covering Briante Weber more than any other student-athlete in my career in college athletics. I’m looking forward to covering his comeback even more.

WEBER’S STATUS VCU’S MAIN CONCERN FOLLOWING RICHMOND LOSS

Leave a comment

VCU Rams1

Senior Briante Weber leads the nation in steals.

VCU Senior Briante Weber leads the nation in steals.

RICHMOND, Va. – Richmond snapped VCU’s 12-game winning streak Saturday, but the Rams’ greater concern moving forward will be the status of senior point guard Briante Weber, who left the game with a non-contact injury to his right knee.

In his press conference following the 64-55 loss, VCU Coach Shaka Smart said he did not know the severity of the injury, and that an MRI was imminent.

“We’re hopeful it’s something he can come back from, but I don’t want to say more than that because I don’t know.”

With 3:18 remaining, Weber drove and made a jump stop inside the free throw line, then crumbled to the floor in obvious pain. He was escorted off the floor by the VCU athletic training staff. Weber returned to the VCU bench on crutches a short time later.

Richmond players and coaches shook Weber’s hand afterwards and offered words of encouragement.

“I just said [to him] that guys overcome a lot of things, and people wouldn’t have predicted he’d become the great player that he is and NBA prospect that he is, so what’s bad for a regular person might not be as bad for him, and I wished him luck in getting better,” said Richmond Coach Chris Mooney.

Losing Weber for any period of time would be significant for VCU. Weber has often been the Rams’ catalyst on both sides of the floor. He is currently leading the nation in steal percentage for the fourth straight year, and his play sets the tone for the Rams’ “Havoc” defense.

Weber scored 11 points and grabbed six steals prior to Saturday’s injury. He has 374 career steals, 11 shy of the NCAA career record. Weber is averaging 8.0 points, 4.1 assists and 3.9 steals per game this season.

Although Weber has been relatively injury-free during his career, the Rams did manage an 85-69 win over Tennessee on Nov. 14 in the season-opener while Weber served a suspension. Sophomore JeQuan Lewis and freshman Johnny Williams will be asked to pick up the bulk of the slack at the point for the Rams.

“We’ll wait and see,” Smart said. “He’s an integral part of what we do. We’re hopeful he’ll be back soon, but if he’s out, we’re going to keep playing. You can’t cancel the season. We’re going to keep playing. That’s why you have a full roster of guys. In terms of style of play, we’re not going to change a whole lot [if Weber’s out], but guys are just going to have to step up and play.”

VCU, which entered the game ranked 14th nationally in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, is 17-4 overall and remains in first place in the Atlantic 10 at 7-1 despite the loss.

The Rams will travel to George Mason on Wednesday before heading to St. Bonaventure on Feb. 7.

Older Entries Newer Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,675 other followers

%d bloggers like this: