The former VCU assistant coaches are fun to watch at their respective schools, and some VCU players have been redshirted! Unrelated facts!
Photo by: Sky Noir
VCU opened the season with a 75-50 win over Prairie View A&M Friday night in the Stuart C. Siegel Center. The Rams dominated the first half 46-22, but a sloppy second half left Coach Will Wade flustered.
Sophomore Justin Tillman finished with a gaudy 10 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals in his first career double-double. Melvin Johnson and Doug Brooks each added 13 points. Junior Mo Alie-Cox finished with an under-the-radar 8 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 2 steals.
The Rams’ new offense has been a focus this offseason, but their defense was the difference as the Panthers only scored 0.69 points per possession. VCU used a bevy of different zone and man defenses expanding upon HAVOC! of years past, but the results were the same and PVAMU turned the ball over 22 times on 17 VCU steals.
Samir Doughty and the redshirts
On Friday, the NCAA announced that freshman shooting guard Samir Doughty has been deemed a partial qualifier and will redshirt during the 2015-16 season. He inexplicably sat out last weekend’s exhibition game. Doughty will still receive financial aid and he will be able to practice with the team starting in the second semester.
We received a late notice from the NCAA Eligibility Center regarding a change to Samir’s initial eligibility last week,” VCU Head Men’s Basketball Coach Will Wade said. “This change involved circumstances outside of Samir’s control. We worked closely with the NCAA and we are thrilled that Samir will remain with our men’s basketball program. He has excelled so far academically at VCU and he will continue to represent our program well in the classroom.
Freshman forward Jonathan Nwankwo is also redshirting for developmental reasons, but don’t let that worry you. If you’ll remember, Jordan Burgess and Mo Alie-Cox were both deemed partial qualifiers during their freshmen seasons in 2012-13. Burgess was able to practice with the team, but Alie-Cox was not and used the time to make dramatic gains in conditioning. Both have since turned into invaluable parts of the whole, while also excelling academically at VCU.
When branches cross
Shaka Smart had an accomplished six years in Richmond, but one area that is sometimes overlooked when we remember the glowing parts of his career is his coaching tree. Will Wade isn’t the only one of his former assistant coaches to have a head coaching position-four of the seven former assistants now rule a school.
|Coach||Time at VCU||School||Record|
|Will Wade||2009-2013||Chattanooga||40-25 (27-7)|
|Mike Rhoades||2009-2014||Rice||12-20 (8-10)|
|Mike Jones||2009-2011||Radford||63-70 (31-38)|
|Jamion Christian||2011-2012||Mount St. Mary’s||49-46 (31-21)|
|Jeremy Ballard||2012-2015||Illinois State (Ast.)||N/A|
|Mike Morrell||2013-2015||Texas (Ast.)||N/A|
|David Cason||2014-2015||Texas (Ast.)||N/A|
Tonight, we’ll see a rematch between VCU’s Wade and Radford’s Mike Jones.
The only matchup between branches of the Shaka Smart coaching tree came in November of 2013 when Will Wade and Chattanooga visited Mike Jones and Radford. Radford triumphed 89-78 in the clash between former colleagues. But that was Wade’s second game as a head coach and the “Mocs” were on their way to an abysmal 4-8 start (2-8 against D1).
Jones will bring Radford to VCU at 7:00 PM on Monday, November 16th. This time, Wade has a little more experience, a little more talent, and a lot more expectations. Adding to the interest, Radford topped Georgetown in double-overtime on Saturday night behind 28 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists by senior Rashun Davis. Tonight could end up being more of a test than anticipated.
Addendum: I can’t get enough basketball
If you find yourself unable to satisfy your basketball desires with VCU alone, Rice and Mount St. Mary’s would be good additions to your viewing repertoire.
Rhoades inherited a 7-23 team and struggled to a 12-20 record last season. But the team made progress including winning two double-overtime games in three days against strong teams toward the end of last season. This season, he adds a talented group of guards that will take their freshmen lumps but could push the team above .500.
While tougher to catch on TV, Mount St. Mary’s “Mayhem” may be “HAVOC! Lite” but worth a watch. In his second season, Jamion Christian’s squad caught fire in March and plowed through the NEC conference tournament to become the first Smart assistant to lead a team to the NCAA Tournament.
I’d also recommend keeping an eye on these former VCU players:
Teddy Okereafor is entering a promising senior season at Rider. He’s been a huge driver in their resurgence and they could sneak into the NCAA Tournament out of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
After sitting out last year at Robert Morris, Jairus Lyles will join UMBC in January. He played one season with VCU but struggled to find a role in the Rams’ crowded back-court. Center Antravious Simmons, one of the most popular teammates in recent VCU memory, will join Florida Gulf Coast University in January.
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College basketball season is just beginning, and that means months of opportunities to watch current Rams, former Rams, future Rams, imaginary Rams…all the Rams! You can catch the current Rams as they take on Radford tonight, at 7:00 PM, on CSN. Follow @rvaramnews for live updates.