October 7, 2015
Field Hockey, Men's Basketball, VCU Athletics, Women's Soccer
Chessa Kownurko, Eric Maynor, Julia Suarez, Kaitlyn Slade, NBA, Treveon Graham, Troy Daniels.
It’s a good idea to keep these away from me.
I don’t spend much time talking about fundraising on here, mostly because I’ve never been very good at it. I once ate $18 worth of Caramellos, about half my inventory, that I was supposed to sell for Pony League baseball. I had to mow my grandmother’s lawn to pay myself back. I learned two things from the experience. No. 1, Caramellos are delicious. No. 2…what was I talking about?
Moving on. Thankfully, there are plenty of people in and around VCU Athletics who make sure we have the resources necessary to compete and provide an all-around excellent student-athlete experience. In recent years, a group of women close to the program has stepped up with an effort to carry the torch for women’s athletics here at VCU.
The annual VCU Women’s Golf Tournament, now in its second year, is a product of their efforts. In just two years, the tournament has become one of VCU’s largest fundraisers. Tremendous effort.
Meanwhile, we’ve reached what is basically the midpoint for fall sports, and a few programs are starting to find themselves.
January 16, 2015
B.A. Walker, Bradford Burgess, Eric Maynor, Jamal Shuler, Jamie Skeen, Jesse Pellot-Rosa, Joey Rodriguez, Juvonte Reddic, Kirill Pishchalnikov, Kostantin Nesterov, L.F. Likholitov, Larry Sanders, NBA, Nick George, Troy Daniels.
Troy Daniels is averaging 3.5 points in 11 games with the Minnesota Timberwolves this season.
Troy Daniels ’13 (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Daniels has played fewer than 40 NBA games, but he’s already had an eventful career. Although he signed a two-year contract extension with the Houston Rockets in the offseason, Daniels was traded in December to the Timberwolves. The move has resulted in slightly more playing time for the former VCU sharpshooter (9.4 mpg to 6.4 mpg). Overall, Daniels is averaging 3.0 points, while shooting 32 percent (23-of-73) from 3-point range in 28 games this season.
Daniels was understandably one of the NBA’s feel-good stories last season. After averaging 21.5 points per game while setting 3-point shooting records at the Rockets’ D-League affiliate, Daniels earned a late-season call-up. Despite playing in just five regular-season games (averaging 8.5 ppg), Daniels averaged 17 minutes per game off the bench in the Rockets’ playoff series with Portland. In Game Three, Daniels broke a 116-116 tie with a 3-pointer with 12 seconds remaining in overtime. Houston won 121-116.
Larry Sanders ’10 (Milwaukee Bucks)
Sanders, hoping to bounce back from a 2013-14 season marred by injuries and suspension, was averaging 7.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots in 27 games before taking a leave to deal with personal issues. Sanders said recently he is working through those issues and hopes to be in a position to play again at some point. It is unclear when he will return.
Sanders has averaged 6.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks shots per game in five seasons with the Bucks.
L.F. Likholitov ’02 (Krasny Oktyabr – Russia)
St. Petersburg, Russia native L.F. Likholitov has continues to plug away as a pro with Krasny Oktyabr, where he’s currently teaming with LeBron James’ high school teammate (and former European teammate of Jamal Shuler) Romeo Travis. The 34-year-old Likholitov has appeared in eight games this season and is averaging 2.3 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. Likholitov ranks second in VCU history with 207 blocked shots.
January 7, 2014
Bradford Burgess, Eric Maynor, George Mason Patriots, Larry Sanders, Sherrod Wright
VCU and George Mason will meet for the 50th time Thursday. The Rams lead the all-time series 31-18.
For all that VCU gained in its move to the Atlantic 10 Conference in 2012, the Rams did forfeit a couple of compelling in-state rivalries. Sure, the Rams still play Old Dominion, but without a conference race at stake – not to mention the Monarchs’ recent struggles – the series has lost momentum. The other realignment casualty was VCU’s series with George Mason. When VCU packed up for the A-10, I didn’t lose any sleep over the possible end to games with James Madison and William & Mary, but the Mason rivalry has had some incredible moments. When the Patriots made the jump to the A-10 this summer, I was happy that the Rams would have another in-state rival playing for similar stakes.
Until 2012-13, the last season in which VCU and George Mason did not meet was 1983-84. So there’s some history, here. VCU leads the all-time series 31-18, and in the last 8-10 years, the rivalry really hit its stride. Both were CAA contenders essentially every year, they were two hours apart (depending on that NOVA traffic) and each enjoyed postseason success, including a Final Four.
But the Rams were also 6-0 against the Patriots in the CAA Tournament. VCU actually ended the Patriots’ conference title hopes the last four years they were in the CAA together and five of the last six. It’s at this moment that I wonder if George Mason actually suggested that the Rams join the A-10. They may have helped pack VCU’s bags.
While Mason isn’t likely to shake off those stinging losses, which include two CAA Championship games (we’ll get to that), the Patriots have earned some notable wins over the Rams in recent years. At the top of the list is Sherrod Wright’s 30-foot buzzer-beater that spoiled Valentine’s Day in 2012, and the 71-51 hammer the Patriots dropped on VCU at the Siegel Center in 2011, just prior to the Rams morphing into the Lakers (well, the old Lakers).
All-in-all, it’s been a fun rivalry, one fans should welcome back on both sides. Here’s a quick look at some recent memorable contests between George Mason and VCU.
THE (VCU) GOOD
Tournament MVP Eric Maynor celebrates VCU 2007 CAA Championship over George Mason.
March 5, 2007 – VCU 65, George Mason 59 – CAA Championship Game – Box Score
Before there was “The Dagger”, there was this. Eric Maynor may have made his name by crushing Duke in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, but it wouldn’t have been possible without his incredible performance – highlighted by back-to-back steals – to stun George Mason.
October 22, 2013
Darius Theus, Darius Theus Dunk, Eric Maynor, Joey Rodriguez, Troy Daniels.
Hey, remember during Eric Maynor’s senior year, when he got a steal and actually dunked a ball against Hofstra? I bet you were wondering if he could actually do it up until that point. Evidence below:
How about last season against George Washington, when Troy Daniels got a steal and a sort of (lefty, no less!) dunk? You never saw it coming. Feel free to watch (3:12 of the video below):
As entertaining as those dunks were, you’d probably trade them in to see Darius Theus dunk in a game, right? Well, here you go. Thanks to Scott Day for unearthing this gem from Holland, where Theus is playing professionally. Check out the look at the end. My man is getting his money’s worth out of the moment.
Torey Burston is officially on the dunk clock.
EDIT: I felt compelled to include this photo, since this probably as close as Joey Rodriguez ever got to actually dunking in a college game. Toby Veal with the big assist.
October 1, 2013
Baseball, Field Hockey, Men's Basketball, Men's Soccer, VCU Athletics, Volleyball
Charlotte Bobcats, Cincinnati Reds, Eric Maynor, John Daly, Larry Sanders, Mark Berman, Milwaukee Bucks, MLB, NBA, Roanoke Times, Sean Marshall, Troy Daniels., Washington Wizards
Happy Shak-tober, VCU fans. This month is good for many things, among them (in no particular order): foliage, NBA training camps, candy corn, postseason baseball, marzen, candy corn, Atlantic 10 Conference races and, finally, candy corn. How does VCU Athletics fit into all of this? I’m glad you asked, even if you didn’t.
RAMS IN CAMP
NBA training camps are underway, which means three former Rams are in action, each with a different task in front of them.
Troy Daniels is in Asheville, N.C. with the Charlotte “soon to be Hornets” Bobcats. Troy earned a camp invite after playing on the Bobcats’ summer league squad in Las Vegas. Now would be a good time to remind Michael Jordan that Charlotte was 27th in the NBA in 3-point shooting last year, and Troy Daniels (feel free to use the Around The Horns-approved #TreyD3 hashtag) hits threes in his sleep. If he was a dinosaur, Daniels would be a triceratops. If he was a TV station, he’d be ESPN3. If he was a stadium, he’d be Three Rivers.
Trust us, Daniels was born for this. We recently slowed down some film of Daniels shooting at training camp and captured his expression right at the moment he’s about to catch and shoot. Check it out:
Three, coming right up.
September 6, 2013
Briante Weber, Darius Theus, Eric Maynor, Joey Rodriguez, Shaka Smart
Briante Weber averaged 5.4 points and 2.7 assists per game as a sophomore last season.
One of the strongest corollaries with VCU’s decade of recent success has been its string of terrific point guards. Behind the heady play of guys like Dom Jones, Eric Maynor, Joey Rodriguez and Darius Theus, the Rams have piled up the wins.
As time passes, we remember the conference championships and NCAA appearances and forget that people once questioned whether or not these floor generals were up to the task. Although Maynor showed flashes as a freshman in 2005-06, people worried about his awkward jumper. Joey Rodriguez’s biggest problem when he took over as starting point guard in 2009-10 was that he wasn’t Maynor. Similarly, Theus grabbed the controls after Rodriguez led the Rams to the Final Four. Try following that.
Although each torch passing felt like a crossroads to some, by the time each player graduated, they had forged an unforgettable legacy. With Theus gone, there’ll be another torch-passing in 2013-14. Logic and VCU Coach Shaka Smart have each suggested that the man to carry it – at least initially – will be junior Briante Weber. Last month, Smart praised Weber’s work ethic this summer and said the springy 6-foot-3 guard was the frontrunner at the point. “It’s certainly not set in stone, but it’s certainly his to lose,” he said. “If we played a game today, he’d get the lion’s share of the minutes.”
August 8, 2013
B.A. Walker, Brandon Rozzell, Eric Maynor, Jamal Shuler, Jamie Skeen, Larry Sanders, Shaka Smart
It’s no secret that Richmond has been a summer workout hotbed for former Rams like Eric Maynor, Jamal Shuler, Jesse Pellot-Rosa, Jamie Skeen, Brandon Rozzell, B.A. Walker and others. Wednesday, Smart said he’s glad players, even ones he didn’t coach at VCU, still come back.
July 16, 2013
Anthony Grant, B.A. Walker, Brandon Rozzell, Ed Nixon, Eric Maynor, Jamal Shuler, Jesse Pellot-Rosa, Joey Rodriguez, Kirill Pishchalnikov, Lance Kearse, Larry Sanders, Maryland Terrapins, Puerto Rico Tip-Off, Shaka Smart, Wil Fameni
Kirill Pishchalnikov defends Arkansas’ Charles Thomas during the 2007 Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
2013 PUERTO RICO TIP-OFF (pdf)
The post-Dagger days began in Puerto Rico.
It was in San Juan in 2007, at the first Puerto Rico Tip-Off, where we tried to find out if VCU, as a Goliath exterminator, had staying power. Nearly a week after rolling designated milk jug Maryland-Eastern Shore in the 2007-08 season-opener, VCU headed to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Anthony Grant, was, as Shaka Smart is today, THE rising star among college coaches. Eric Maynor, whose “Dagger” with 1.8 seconds left gave VCU its unforgettable, 79-77 upset of Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament the previous March, was a certified star. You could have sold his image on commemorative plates on QVC alongside those bearing Dale Earnhardt’s, if the NCAA allowed that sort of kitsch.
But while Grant and Maynor were known quantities, magnetic drawing cards with the goods to back it up, the rest was up in the air. People love NCAA Tournament upsets, they embrace the Princetons and the Bryce Drews, the Eric Maynors, the Cleveland States and the La Salles for weeks each March. But when the lights go out, most of them fade from the national consciousness. We rode high on the hog for months, but secretly, we wondered if Maynor’s “Dagger” was VCU’s 15 minutes; If the illogical food chain of college hoops would gobble us up and cast us back from whence we came, back to the obscurity of mid-majordom.
The tournament began in earnest. Grant’s recruiting class that year included Larry Sanders, Joey Rodriguez, Lance Kearse, Ed Nixon, Brandon Rozzell and Myk Brown, and transfer Kirill Pishchalnikov was also on board. Much of the publicity, and for a VCU recruiting class up to that point, it was significant, focused on Kearse and Rodriguez. Sanders was intriguing, but very much an unknown.
July 2, 2013
Eric Maynor, NBA, Washington Wizards
I was able to track Eric Maynor down today, but he says he’s not at liberty to discuss his agreement with the Washington Wizards at this time. I’m sure there’s probably still a physical to pass and a dotted line on which to sign. He did say he’d be able to talk more about it next week, so I’ll get you more on that after the Fourth of July Weekend.
As far as the fit and the deal itself go, Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver has a terrific, thorough writeup HERE, which includes:
The strength of Maynor’s game lies in his ability to run a halfcourt offense in a controlled fashion. A pass-first point guard, Maynor is adept at moving the ball, operating in pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop situations, finding shooters after breaking down a defense, and generally keeping his wits about him. Not known as a scorer or a true long-ball threat, Maynor played both guard positions for the Blazers, backing up Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard and playing alongside him in a dual point guard lineup.
Golliver writes that Maynor’s deal is for two years.
Meanwhile, if you can’t wait to see what Eric will look like in a Wizards uni, here’s where 15 minutes of Photoshop got me.
July 1, 2013
Baseball, Men's Basketball, Men's Soccer, Women's Basketball
2013 World University Games, Atlantic 10 Conference, Columbus Crew, Dominic Oduro, Eric Maynor, Ian Thomas, Mississippi Braves, MLS, NBA, Portland Trailblazers, Quanitra Hollingsworth, Sean Marshall, Shaka Smart, Sherman Hamilton, Treveon Graham, Washington Wizards
In case you missed it, Treveon Graham is going to be playing for the United States at the World University Games July 7-16 in Kazan, Russia. Only 12 players in the country can say that. It’s a big deal. The last Ram wear USA Basketball red, white and blue was Eric Maynor, who did so in 2007 at the Pan Am Games, after “The Dagger” and before his junior season. Graham will be the youngest player on this year’s squad.
VCU rising junior Treveon Graham, bottom right, wearing jersey No. 10.
Meanwhile, VCU Coach Shaka Smart has been serving as an assistant for the USA Basketball U19 squad in Prague.
More on that HERE.
The NBA free agency period began Monday at midnight. It sounds like Eric Maynor will be looking for a new team.
But don’t worry, he should have suitors.
Edit, more Maynor: