The 2012-13 VCU basketball season officially starts tonight against Florida Gulf Coast University! Here’s our very last preseason article!
In March 2011, the team formerly know as “that team that beat Duke in 2007″ snuck into the NCAA Tournament and did the unthinkable. The ride was spectacular, but it was here and gone in an instant. Last season, despite losing 61% of scoring, 51% of rebounding, 68% of assists, and 58% of minutes, something spectacular also happened. This time, the ride was a slow constant ascent that went largely unnoticed until VCU and all of its swagger came within one shot of beating this season’s consensus preseason #1 Indiana Hoosiers. This season the Rams return 84% of minutes played, 80% of scoring, 85% of rebounding, and 89% of steals from last season. The bottom line is the Rams return a dangerous amount of HAVOC!.
VCU won’t win 29 games like last season, their schedule is just too tough. The 2012-13 A-10 makes the 2011-12 CAA look like the playground. VCU’s new home is shaping up to be one of the premier conferences in all of basketball this season. It’s incredibly deep with five or six Drexels and certainly no Towsons, but that’s what VCU wants. The black & gold could tally a few more losses than usual, but come the middle of March, VCU will be in the only place that matters. Once the NCAA tournament begins, wins and losses are irrelevant because, as the Rams taught the country in 2011, no team is too small to win and no team is too big to lose.
When the season begins, the Rams will chart plenty of new territory, but the important things remain the same: the Siegel is one of the most dreaded arenas to visit in all of basketball, Coach Smart is a master motivator and a coaching rockstar, Briante Weber is pound for pound the scariest defender in college, the Peppas are the best pep band in America, and HAVOC! is a winning formula.
This season the Ram’s will deal with the most burdensome expectations in the program’s history, but if the 2012-13 Rams play fearless and inspired basketball, there is no limit to what Shaka Smart and Co. can accomplish.
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Most irreplaceable: Darius Theus
Darius Theus is the best distributor, the most clutch player, and the second best defender on a team that thrives with strong point guard play. The Rams are always better with #10 on the court, and if 2-points are needed in the final minute of a game, there is no Ram with a better track record than Theus.
Scoring leader: Troy Daniels
Juvonte Reddic and Treveon Graham will light up the scoreboard, but Troy Daniels takes and makes too many 3-pointers to not lead the 3-point minded Rams in scoring.
Most likely to finish 1st-team A-10: Juvonte Reddic
Juvonte Reddic is one of the most versatile big men in the A-10. He can defend the length of the court, rebound, has post moves, and he has a silky smooth jumper. Reddic struggles with consistency, but he has all the tools to become a totally dominant player.
Most improved: Treveon Graham
Teddy Okereafor earned the coaching staff’s praise this summer, but Graham has the gift of opportunity. Treveon Graham is poised to have a breakout season unlike many others in recent VCU history.
Mr. HAVOC!: Briante Weber
Briante Weber has a shot at breaking Rolando Lamb’s VCU single season record of 88 steals. No player defends 94 feet with as much tenacity as #2.
Comeback kid: Rob Brandenberg
Brandenberg had a tough sophomore slump, but he is too talented and too athletic to continue performing below his potential.
X-factor: Jarred Guest
Was Jarred Guest’s start against VUU a bellwether or an exhibition fluke? Only time will tell, but Guest has the ability to earn minutes in the deepest front court of Coach Smart’s tenure.
- NBC Sports: #21
- CBS Sports: #23
- Sports Illustrated: #23
- Sporting News: #25
- AP Top 25: #27
- ESPN/USA Today Poll: #27
- SB Nation: #29
- Ken Pomeroy: #31
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