Eric Maynor? Yes, the Rams junior point guard (pictured above) whose clutch jump shot at the 1.8 seconds mark snuffed the mighty Duke Blue Devils in the NCAA tournament last season, he’s back. Anthony Grant? Yes, as it turned out last season’s CAA Coach of the Year didn‘t go to Florida to replace Billy Donovan, so he’s back, […]
Yes, the Rams junior point guard (pictured above) whose clutch jump shot at the 1.8 seconds mark snuffed the mighty Duke Blue Devils in the NCAA tournament last season, he’s back.
Yes, as it turned out last season’s CAA Coach of the Year didn‘t go to Florida to replace Billy Donovan, so he’s back, too.
But there’s more to the story — there are nine new players on VCU’s roster this season, to add on to the five besides Maynor who are returning. Some of those other returners aren’t exactly chopped liver, either.
The Virginia Commonwealth University men’s basketball team will open its regular season at home on Fri., Nov. 9., against Maryland Eastern-Shore. Meanwhile, there are two preseason “exhibition” games to be played — Virginia State and Virginia Union will come to W. Broad St. to face VCU on its Siegel Center home court in the next week.
Va. State vs. VCU at 7:30 p.m., Thur., Nov. 1
Va. Union vs. VCU at 7:30 p.m., Mon., Nov. 5
Union can win at the Siegel Center, they’ve done it. No doubt, the house will be packed for this tilt. More than likely Panthers coach Dave Robbins will have his hungry squad prepared to steal the show if the opportunity presents itself.
Why attend an exhibition game?
Avid Rams fans will want to see the five fab freshmen from Florida on the floor: Myk Brown (6-4, 210), Lance Kearse (6-6, 215), Ed Nixon (6-3, 190), Joey Rodriguez (5-10, 165), Larry Sanders (6-9, 205). And, there’s sophomore transfer Kirill Pishchalnikov (6-8, 240) from Russia. Local hoops aficionados will want to see how Brandon Rozzelle (6-2, 170, Highland Springs High) stacks up.
For basketball fans, in general, seeing games between Division I and Division II programs is a worthwhile curiosity. VCU plays in the CAA, a mid-ranked conference among D-I schools. That, while Union and State are members of the low-budget CIAA, a top-ranked D-II conference. How much difference there may be/ought to be between those two levels is on the line, too.
VCU should be commended for scheduling these two games. Lots of D-I programs in the country won’t do the same for fear of sustaining an embarrassing loss. In this sense VCU shows a touch of class in wanting to promote the area hoops scene and camaraderie among state schools at it own risk. This is leadership some other programs in the state should study.
For the 2007/08 season the Rams were projected as No. 2 to George Mason in the CAA by the media experts who cover the league, mostly for the daily newspapers.
So, what about Eric Maynor (6-2, 175)?
The same media panel saw him as most likely to be this season’s CAA Player of the Year.
– words and photo by F.T. Rea