YOUR DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO VCU BASKETBALL FIRST PITCHES

2 Comments

Over the years, as VCU Basketball has gained steam, so too have requests to have Rams throw out first pitches at baseball games. I’m still waiting on first puck drop calls. I know a spike is coming soon. Anyway, here we examine each Rams’ performance on the diamond.

Shaka Smart (Chicago Cubs, 2011)

Shaka Smart isn’t a large man by any means, but that didn’t stop guys like Billy Wagner from bringing the heat. Unfortunately for Smart, it kind of did. No matter, Smart has pretty good form here as he paints the inside corner. Good snap on the arm. I think he’s falling away to the left a bit, but that’s something the coaching staff can correct during side sessions.
Bonus/demerits: Bonuses for throwing from the rubber, throwing to a VCU guy (Sean Marshall), being at Wrigley Field, the custom jersey (is he wearing No. 91? Channeling Dennis Rodman?), and singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

More

Advertisements

LARRY SANDERS: COAST-TO-COAST

Leave a comment

Look, I don’t care if the Bucks are down 3-0 or 30-0 in their series with the Heat. This play says the future is bright in Milwaukee. Guys who are 6-foot-11 shouldn’t be able to do this. Larry Sanders is averaging 12.0 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 67 percent from the field against the Heat in this first round playoff series.

SO, ALEC BURKS MET LARRY SANDERS LAST NIGHT…

2 Comments

…and Larry Sanders told Alec Burks to take his ball and go home. In case you didn’t know, Larry currently leads the NBA in blocks per game, and this one didn’t even count.

VIDEO: REDDIC AND CO. DUNK COLONIALS

Leave a comment

.

.

.

BONUS INTERVIEW WITH LARRY SANDERS & ERIC MAYNOR

RAMS LOOSE, SHARP IN TUNE-UP FOR STRETCH RUN

Leave a comment

Juvonte Reddic finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds Saturday.

Juvonte Reddic finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds Saturday.

RICHMOND, Va. – If Saturday night’s 84-57 win over George Washington is any indication, VCU is ready for its stretch run. It was the Rams’ final game before a pressure-packed five-bout gauntlet to close out the regular season, and VCU looked a lot like the team that was blowing opponents off the Siegel Center floor earlier this year.

It was a perfect storm for VCU (21-5, 9-2 A-10), really. It was Havoc meets the Peach Fuzz Boys. The Rams’ relentless defensive pressure, combined with George Washington’s inexperience, gestated into 25 Colonials’ turnovers. VCU was more than happy to trade those miscues in for 27 points, an advantage that proved insurmountable.

George Washington, in the second year of Mike Lonergan’s rebuilding project, started four freshmen Saturday night. Those four rookies combined for 17 turnovers, including eight from Joe McDonald. After that, there were few stats that mattered. The pace and tone of the game were squarely in VCU’s favor, and from there, it was a day at the races.

Junior Juvonte Reddic found open space all evening and made his first seven field goal attempts, five of them highlight-quality dunks. On the Rams’ first offensive possession of the game, Reddic used a back screen to get free and caught a high-arching lob from Darius Theus with his right hand and threw it down for a thunderous slam. It was a play that set the tone for night.

More

GRAHAM IS NO SOFT SOPH

Leave a comment

Sophomore Treveon Graham leads the Rams in scoring (16.1 ppg) and is second in rebounding (6.0).

Sophomore Treveon Graham leads the Rams in scoring (16.1 ppg) and is second in rebounding (6.0).

Treveon Graham’s rapid development has helped mold VCU into a contender for an Atlantic 10 championship and is making Shaka Smart (who all but predicted this) look clairvoyant. In short order, the sophomore from Washington, D.C. has become the Rams’ best scorer and a rugged rebounder. At 16.1 points per game, Graham ranks seventh in the A-10 in scoring, the only underclassman in the top nine.

So, nobody’s disputing that Graham has been good – very good – this season. But I would argue that what you’ve seen through 22 games this season has been historically significant. Prior to this season, just eight VCU sophomores had averaged 15.0 points per game, and none since Dom Jones in 2001-02.

In VCU’s infancy in the 70s and 80s, the Rams churned out an impact sophomore every year or so, from Charles Wilkins to Gerald Henderson to Ren Watson to Calvin Duncan. But somewhere along the way, either VCU or college basketball (or both) changed. Sure, there were solid contributors as sophomores, but the truly elite, impact second-year players became pretty rare. More

RAMS IN THE PROS: SANDERS SURGES

1 Comment

Former Ram Larry Sanders (center) is averaging 8.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game this season.

Former Ram Larry Sanders (center) is averaging 8.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game this season.

It looks like Larry Sanders is starting to figure out this NBA thing.

The 24-year-old former VCU star and current Milwaukee Buck is enjoying a breakout season. Selected 15th overall in the 2010 NBA Draft, Sanders is beginning to deliver on the promise Milwaukee saw on film and in workouts.

Through a quarter of the season, the 6-foot-11, 235-pound center was averaging career-highs of 8.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Sanders is shooting 54 percent from the floor, and as of this writing, his 3.0 blocks per game average was tied for the league lead.

Last season, Sanders averaged just 3.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. But a strong preseason and training camp earned him increased playing time from Bucks’ Coach Scott Skiles. Sanders responded with 10 points and seven rebounds in an opening-night victory over the Boston Celtics.

On Nov. 30, Sanders recorded his first career triple-double with 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocked shots in a loss at Minnesota. His 10 blocks tied the franchise record, set by Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Abdul-Jabbar later took to Twitter to congratulate Sanders.

Sanders followed with 18 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks against the Celtics the next night.

More

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LARRY SANDERS

1 Comment

Happy 24th birthday to former Ram Larry Sanders, now in his third NBA season with the Milwaukee Bucks. We still miss your rim-rattling dunks, your game-changing blocks and your white-knuckle 3-pointer attempts. His 17-point, 21-rebound, 7-block game against George Mason in the 2009 CAA Championship Game is still one of the greatest individual performances I’ve ever seen. Larry is enjoying a career-year in Milwaukee, averaging 9.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.

HAS LARRY SANDERS TURNED THE CORNER?

Leave a comment

Maybe I’m jumping the gun, but it sure looks to me like former Ram Larry Sanders is turning a corner in his NBA career. Yes, it’s been only two games, which means there’s real potential here for me to eat my words, but I’m seeing things out of Larry I didn’t even know he was capable of. In two games, Larry is averaging 13.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. He has, for the first time in his three seasons, appeared to establish a role in Milwaukee’s eight-man rotation.

Here are highlights from Larry’s career-high 17 point, seven rebound, four block performance against Cleveland. Watch the three plays in succession beginning at the 1:10 mark. The spin, lefty hook, the dribble drive to the rim, the smooth jumper from 20 feet. He just looks different. That second play, when he takes a couple of dribbles and gets to the rack, that’s a guard play, folks. Find me another 6-foot-11 power forward who can do that.

Larry has clearly benefited from a more normal training camp this summer. When I talked to him a couple of weeks ago, he said the lockout really hurt his season last year. Larry’s a guy that is still  very much learning how to play the game. He needs reps. He’s getting them now, and he’s starting to really tap into that vast reservoir of talent.

MAYNOR, SANDERS PRESEASON REVIEW

Leave a comment

This is an important season for the careers of both Eric Maynor and Larry Sanders moving forward. Maynor is in the fourth and final year of his rookie contract and coming off a season-ending ACL tear. Sanders has been a bit of an enigma in Milwaukee his first two seasons, but is showing signs of breaking through. That makes both of their preseasons all the more worthy of inspection.

LARRY SANDERS


This was an interesting preseason for Sanders. On one hand, he seemed to really help his prospects by playing pretty darn good on the floor. He was better offensively than he’ll get credit for, and he was great rebounding the ball and blocking shots. His per 36 minute averages of 12.8 rebounds and 4.1 blocks are eye-catching. But there’s a flip side. Sanders was suspended for one game for “conduct” issues during the preseason. In addition, he continued to foul at a head-spinning rate of 7.1 per 36 minutes.

Despite his shortcomings, Sanders appears to be making headway in Milwaukee and could even start at center, especially if Samuel Dalembert continues his slow and steady decline.

Jeremy Schmidt of “Bucksketball”:

The real battle here appears to be between Dalembert, Sanders and Udoh. And if we’re using preseason numbers, it’s hard to look away from Sanders. He’s been a better shot-blocker, rebounder and scorer than Dalembert in his five games. Plus he has a mobility that Dalembert lacks – even if he doesn’t have the same awareness defensively. And defense is where this battle will be won. The Bucks didn’t go crazy for shot-blocking this offseason to ignore it come November. They want a center that provides support defensively first and foremost.

ERIC MAYNOR

This is an important preseason for Maynor as well, but for different reasons. Maynor’s coming off the first serious injury of his career and needs to establish two things. No. 1, he needs to prove to the Thunder, and himself, that he’s healthy. No. 2, he needs to remind Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks that he remains a better option than Reggie Jackson, the second-year man who filled for Maynor last season. He appears to have succeeded on both counts. Maynor’s performance this preseason should set him up for solid minutes again behind Russell Westbrook.

Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman last week:

Take away that bulky black contraption tucked beneath the black sleeve covering his right leg and you wouldn’t be able to tell Maynor had even torn up his knee. There are moments like Tuesday night, when Maynor shows the same wizardry that he’s always possessed running an offense.

It’s important that Maynor’s healthy and ready to contribute, because this is a contract year, and there are plenty of teams out there in search of playmaker. If he plays well, there could be a starting role waiting for him somewhere. On Monday, The Oklahoman reported that the Thunder and Maynor had put contract negotiations on hold, which makes it all the more likely that he’ll be a restricted free agent next summer. 

Older Entries Newer Entries

%d bloggers like this: