Past Rams pursue plans to play pro

Eric Maynor_file photoKristopher Mason
Contributing Writer

Three former VCU Rams made headlines this summer by signing contracts to continue their dreams of playing basketball professionally.

Last season’s starting backcourt of Troy Daniels and Darius Theus both inked deals this offseason, joining other ex-Rams in professional leagues.

Former VCU guard Troy Daniels signed a free agent deal with the Charlotte Bobcats after going unselected in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Making an NBA summer league roster was far from unexpected, as Daniels had worked out with many teams throughout the spring. Although the deal was assumed to be temporary, Daniels made the most of his opportunity. After averaging about 10 minutes of playing time in the first four games, the shooting guard saw his court time skyrocket the final two contests, playing 30 and 31 minutes respectively. He scored 13 points in both of his final two games, shooting a combined 5-11 on three-point attempts.

Also on the Bobcats summer league squad was Daniels’ former VCU running mate from the 2011 Final Four team, Jamie Skeen. After playing in both France and Israel the past two years, Skeen averaged seven points and five rebounds per game with the Bobcats this summer, and remains on the outside-looking-in for the 2013-14 NBA season.

As for Darius Theus, the point guard appears to be taking his talents overseas. The former Ram signed a deal with Aris Leeuwarden of the Dutch Basketball League this past July and hopes to polish his skills for a run at the professional ranks in the U.S. in the future.

In addition to the recent graduates vying for the final roster spots on NBA clubs, VCU also has a couple of established NBA veterans making headlines.

Eric Maynor, who was an unrestricted free agent this past offseason, recently signed a two year deal with the Washington Wizards. The all-time leading scorer in VCU history has played four season in the NBA for the Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trailblazers. The 6-foot-3 guard has averaged more than four points and three rebounds per game over the course of his career in the Association.

Maynor’s former teammate Larry Sanders signed a four-year, $44 million extension with the Milwaukee Bucks last week. The 6-foot-11 forward had an outstanding season in 2012-13, finishing second in the NBA in blocks and seventh in Defensive Player of the Year voting. Sanders declared for the 2010 NBA draft after his junior season and was selected 15th overall by Milwaukee.

Consider that Eric Maynor ended a 17-year drought for Rams reaching the NBA in 2009, the flurry of signing and tryouts is a testament to how far VCU’s basketball program has come in recent years.

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