March 8, 2014
Juvonte Reddic, Mike Litos, Rob Brandenberg, Shaka Smart, St. Bonaventure Bonnies, VCU Senior Night
It’s Senior Night, which is another great opportunity to use this video, which I think was my high school class song. That makes me some kind of super duper senior at this point. Let’s move on:
On Saturday, seniors Rob Brandenberg and Juvonte Reddic will play their final home game as Rams. Mike Litos stepped in to pen this great tribute for the game program. If you can’t make it to the game and pick up a program, make sure you put your Internet to good use and read it online.
In every big moment over the past four years for VCU basketball, these two young men have been right there in the mix.
And while it’s important to note that the big moments in the careers of Reddic and Brandenberg came in the NCAA tournament, they both represent so much more than moments on a grand stage. Both have impressive career statistics, crossing the 1,000-points plateau, but numbers don’t represent their impact on the VCU program.
They represent the rise of VCU basketball in the national conscience. Because as much as you point to the Final Four run as a watershed two weeks–and it certainly was–the ability of the players to serve as the backbones for at least two more NCAA Tournament-winning teams cannot be underestimated.
Make sure you read. Also, Shaka Smart gave his comments on his seniors Tuesday during his radio show.
It’s appropriate that these seniors have another opportunity to do something historic tonight. VCU will be attempting to complete an undefeated season at home since the 1970-71 season. VCU is 14-0 at the Verizon Wireless Arena this season.
February 7, 2014
A-10, Juvonte Reddic, Mo Alie-Cox, Rhode Island Rams, Shaka Smart
VCU has won sixth straight games and 11 of its last 12.
RICHMOND, Va. – It’s not enough to just be talented or skilled or, in the simplest sense, good. The key to being good is replicating that performance. It’s consistency.
I mean, Bruce Willis isn’t Bruce Willis because he makes one Die Hard movie where he levels entire office buildings, airports and the East Coast in 120 minutes of one-liner-muttering splendor. Bruce Willis is Bruce Willis because he can do that five times.
Forgive my affection for bloated, Willisian action cinema. The point is, consistency is a skill in and of itself. High-end potential is great, but it can be a maddening pursuit when you’re only teased the best on occasion. There are plenty of basketball teams out there that haven’t mastered the skill of consistency. Speaking strictly on a macro level, Kentucky is a good example. There are probably 7-8 future NBA players on that team. Sometimes, they look like a terrific, cohesive unit, others a storm of wasted motion and discombobulation. Consistency is a skill as valuable as any other.
February 7, 2014
Danny Hurley, JeQuan Lewis, Jordan Burgess, Juvonte Reddic, Rhode Island Rams, Shaka Smart
RHODE ISLAND COACH DANNY HURLEY
JORDAN BURGESS, JEQUAN LEWIS, JUVONTE REDDIC
December 21, 2013
Governor's Holiday Hoops Classic, James Johnson, Juvonte Reddic, Melvin Johnson, Rob Brandenberg, Shaka Smart
Melvin Johnson hit 8-of-11 three-pointers and scored a career-high 27 points Saturday.
RICHMOND, Va. – Shaka Smart is about as cerebral a coach as there is in college basketball, one who can effortlessly quote Mark Twain, Maya Angelou and John Keats in the same conversation. But Saturday, following VCU’s 82-52 victory over Virginia Tech at the Richmond Coliseum, he was, but for a moment, reduced to something more along the lines of Bill S. Preston, Esquire.
When asked to elaborate on how it felt to watch his team stage an is-this-really-happening 37-2 blitzkreig that blew the game wide open in the first half, Smart pondered, grinned and leaned into the microphone.
“It was fun,” he mused.
Sometimes less is more. What Smart’s taut assessment revealed was both his delight in the Rams’ success, as well as the sheer magnitude of the performance. In one 11-minute segment, VCU turned a 6-0 deficit into a 37-8 blowout. It wasn’t so much basketball as art. In the Havoc genre, this was the Mona Lisa, painted in less time than it takes to make a meatloaf.
That run, which VCU finished with 31 straight points, keyed the Rams’ most dominant performance of the season, one which saw sophomore Melvin Johnson explode for a career-high 27 points and eight 3-pointers.
December 8, 2013
Amy Cuddy, Juvonte Reddic, Old Dominion Monarchs, Power Poses, Shaka Smart, Ted Talks
Juvonte Reddic turned in his fourth double-double in his last six games Sunday.
RICHMOND, Va. – Before Sunday’s game, Juvonte Reddic worked on Power Poses. During the game, he struck a pose of dominance and lifted VCU to a 69-48 victory over Old Dominion at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Reddic, cashing in on a game plan geared to exploit VCU’s size advantage over the Monarchs (just two ODU regulars stand as tall as 6-foot-7), delivered season highs of 24 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots. Reddic used a series of post moves, baby hooks, dunks and putbacks on the way to an efficient 12-of-16 shooting performance. He was just four points shy of his career high.
Behind Reddic, VCU outrebounded Old Dominion 50-35 and grabbed 27 offensive rebounds. Five or Reddic’s caroms came on the offensive end, and VCU outscored ODU 30-9 in second-chance points.
While Sunday’s effort was Reddic’s best of the season to date, it was just the most recent in a series of good games for the 6-foot-9 forward of late. In his last six games, Reddic has produced four double-doubles and five double-digit rebounding games. In those six games, he’s averaging 15.0 points, 9.3 rebounds and shooting .574 (39-of-68) from the field. It’s a dramatic shift from the beginning of the season, when Reddic averaged 10.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and recorded no double-doubles in the first four games.
The difference Reddic says, is in his mental and emotional state. He’s more plugged in now, and it’s paying off.
November 30, 2013
Briante Weber, Juvonte Reddic, Melvin Johnson, Mo Alie-Cox, Northeastern Huskies, Shaka Smart, Treveon Graham
Treveon Graham led VCU with 24 points Friday.
RICHMOND, Va. – On the busiest shopping day of the year, VCU made sure to stop by the Siegel Center to pick up an important victory. Like Big Hugs Elmo dolls, they are in demand, and require a certain level of grit, persistence and focus to procure one; Although the eye-gouging was left to the Target parking lot squabbles.
There’s no such thing as a “must-win” game in November, but there are the kind that you’d really like to have, and even the kind you probably really need. VCU’s 79-66 win over Northeastern Friday at the Verizon Wireless Arena is likely some combination of both.
VCU, coming off a 1-2 trip to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off last week, which including a stinging blowout loss to Florida State and a frustratingly just-out-of-reach setback to Georgetown, came home looking to get well. The Rams were trying to do so against a Northeastern team that has traditionally been a tough out for VCU…and had just beaten Georgetown…and played Florida State to the wire…and VCU was without two of its top eight players in Jordan Burgess (knee sprain) and Terrance Shannon (family matter).
This would not be a Black Friday giveaway. If the Rams were going to put Puerto Rico in their rearview mirror, they were going to have to earn it in the claw-your-way-past-Wal-Mart-shoppers way.
November 18, 2013
Jamie Skeen, Jarred Guest, Juvonte Reddic, Mo Alie-Cox, Pat Kelsey, Shaka Smart, VCU beats Winthrop 92-71, Wintrhop Eagles
Freshman Mo Alie-Cox sparked VCU with 10 points and six rebounds Saturday.
RICHMOND, Va. – Sorry, Mo Alie-Cox, we didn’t know any better.
Generally, whenever a power forward or center finds himself on an island beyond the 3-point arc, the audience treats it like a stunt from Jackass. They egg the big guy on until he agrees and lets the shot fly, then they gasp in horror. And much like the guy who rides down a steep hill in a shopping cart while on fire, the audience goes nuts when he sticks the landing.
It continues this way until the audience is convinced that this isn’t just a parlor trick, that it’s an actual feature of the player’s game. There are a lot more Chris Kamans in the world than Arvydas Sabonises, so it takes longer for the big guys to gain the public’s trust.
So when Alie-Cox, a chiseled, 6-foot-6, 250-pound power forward, found himself marooned with the ball atop the 3-point line with 14 minutes remaining in a six-point game Saturday night, he was met with the usual roar of curious encouragement. Calmly, Alie-Cox sized up the shot and buried it.
“That’s been a shot I’ve been working on all summer. Coach told me, if I’m wide open, shoot it. Or if I’m not, just go ahead and reverse it. They left me wide open, so I just hoisted up the shot and it went in,” Alie-Cox said afterwards.
November 15, 2013
Juvonte Reddic, Rob Brandenberg, Terrance Shannon
Florida State transfer Terrance Shannon scored 14 points in his VCU debut versus Illinois State.
RICHMOND, Va. – Although Terrance Shannon shared the Alamodome court with Rob Brandenberg and Juvonte Reddic that night in San Antonio, he does not share their cheerful recollection of the evening’s events.
It was March 25, 2011. Brandenberg and Reddic were freshmen on a VCU team in the midst of one of the NCAA Tournament’s most memorable Cinderella romps to the Final Four. Shannon, meanwhile, was on the opposing sideline of that Sweet 16 matchup as a member of a favored Florida State team. Those final moments are permanently pressed into the psyches of all three players; the Joey Rodriguez-to-Bradford Burgess inbounds play for the winning score in overtime, the Brandenberg blocked shot at the final horn that clinched a 72-71 VCU win and set Rams’ play-by-play broadcaster Robby Robinson on hyperbolic repeat.
Although it was nearly three years ago, Shannon hasn’t shaken the feeling.
“Here I don’t talk much about it because still to this day, I get mad every time I see a Final Four shirt or the picture of the 72-71 score in the coaches’ office,” he says through a disarming grin.