VCU hopes to shine with wealth of guards

Junior guard Rob Brandenberg chats with reporters at VCU basketball media day. (Photo by Chris Conway)
Junior guard Rob Brandenberg chats with reporters at VCU basketball media day. (Photo by Chris Conway)

Scott Wyant
Staff Writer

When Shaka Smart arrived at VCU in 2009 he promised to wreak HAVOC on opponents.

At the time it was unclear what that meant. Four years later and a team with all but one player recruited by Smart, it’s become much more clear.

To cause the HAVOC the Rams employ, Smart recruits talented and versatile guards, which leads to intense practice sessions for the Rams backcourt pieces.

Treveon Graham, a breakout player for the Rams a year ago as a freshman, believes these practices are helping to build the team.

“We go to war everyday,” Graham said. “One day somebody might have a great practice and one day another person might have a great practice, you just never know. By us practicing that hard it makes it easier during the games.”

Watching from afar, Juvonte Reddic sees just how much potential this backcourt has.

“They all get after it everyday its fun to watch,” Reddic said. “They’re competing with each other day. Cause there are a lot of minutes out there and some guys are gonna get most of them and some aren’t gonna get any at all.”

With a blend of experience from seniors Darius Theus and Troy Daniels to the younger players, as well as having the luxury of having Rob Brandenberg and Briante Weber who’ve both spent time in the starting lineup for Smart, the Rams look poised to have a dynamic backcourt.

The most explosive potential belongs to the younger guards though. With scoring options, Graham is poised to take over the role Bradford Burgess left and Melvin Johnson arriving at VCU as one of its most highly ranked recruits in recent memory will help the team.

Johnson is an interesting prospect for this VCU team. The New York native was named the 14th-best three-point threat in the 2012 recruiting class by Scout.com.

As for the one weakness for the Rams faced a year ago, it was their ability to knock down three-pointers. On the season VCU took 800 shots from beyond the arc with a shooting percentage of 33.4% and struggled at times.

But Graham and the Rams hope to tighten up the weakness as they transition from the CAA to the tougher Atlantic 10 conference.

“Everybody is trying to pick up their three-point (ability),” said Graham. “To make us a better threat from behind the line.”

As a unit, the goal is to be the best in the league and Brandenberg believes the team practices everyday with a chip on their shoulder and the need to improve.

“We want to be able to hold our own against the great guards in the A-10,” Brandenberg said. “We’ve been working hard to make sure we hold our own.”

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