Assistant Sports Editor
Commonwealth Times’ Twitter
Scratch “lanky” off the list of cliché adjectives for announcers to use when they talk about Juvonte Reddic.
The sophomore forward has transformed his body this offseason, now standing at 6-feet-9 inches, 235 pounds, up 25 from his freshman season. Shaka Smart put him on a strenuous summer workout program that included two, sometimes three, workouts a day. The results speak for themselves.
Despite starting 12 of VCU’s 36 games last season, Reddic was more or less waiting his turn as he adjusted to the intricacies of the college game and learned from his veteran teammates. But with the departure of the four seniors plus the abrupt exit of Toby Veal, Reddic will be one of the key players in Smart’s scheme this year.
“He’s just getting a lot more opportunities, and he’s more of a focal point of what we’re doing,” said Smart. “What we need from (Reddic) is to play with a consistently high motor all the time.”
In addition to all his work in the weight room, Reddic spent countless hours this summer in the gym refining his game. He wanted to become a better post player and to become a more consistent shooter. He averaged just 3.5 points per game last season, but only took about three shots a game because the Rams had so many other mouths to feed. But with an expanded role, look for Reddic to shoot a lot more this season.
Smart acknowledged Reddic’s physical transformation, but said that his game hasn’t transformed, just evolved.
“He still can shoot the ball from the mid-range,” Smart said. “He’s a good finisher, he’s got good quickness and he can rebound.”
Reddic received high praise from his coach for the way he worked this offseason, but the on-court aspects are just one area in which he improved. With such an inexperienced team that includes four true freshman, two redshirts and just one senior, Reddic will have to overcome his quiet personality and step into a leadership role as well.
“I’m not that talkative at all; I’m a pretty chill and quiet person,” said Reddic. “But I’m going to do whatever it takes to help my team, so if I need to step out of my comfort zone and become a leader, that’s what I’m gonna do.”
Reddic said he helps the freshmen by telling them about the growing pains he went through last season, and works with them on the same adjustments he had to make just a year ago.
“Everything just came so fast, but once you get used to it, you start to pick up the pace,” he said on adjusting to the college game. “I tell them just to have fun and work hard.”
Reddic, Rob Brandenberg and DJ Haley all made significant contributions as freshmen last season and will play a big part in VCU’s success this season. Reddic said he believes the three of them are the core of the team.
“We lost four seniors, and we’re a very young team, so we have to step up and do as much as possible to help our team win,” said Reddic.
“Those guys are going to have an opportunity to take on an enhanced role, so it’s going to be interesting to see what they do with that role,” said Smart on his trio of sophomores.
For Reddic, the sky is the limit when it comes to physical ability, and the weight he put on in the offseason should pay big dividends. Look for a breakout year on both sides of the ball.
Photo by: Kyle LaFerriere