In addition to its recent ranking of 15th in the national coaches poll, the VCU men’s basketball team was predicted to win the Atlantic 10 this upcoming season when official conference projections were released in the midst of A-10 Media Day on Oct. 8.
VCU received 19 first-place votes and 307 points overall. Last year’s champion, Saint Louis, came in second with five first-place votes and 288 points overall.
Senior Juvonte Reddic and junior Treveon Graham gained individual expectations, earning First Team All-Conference honors. Junior Briante Weber was named to the Preseason A-10 All-Defensive squad.
Reddic emerged as a dominant force last season, averaging 15.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He has caught the eye of several NBA scouts and is an early season favorite for A-10 player of the year.
Graham led the scoring for VCU a year ago, averaging 15.1 points per game on 45 percent shooting from the field. Coming off of a summer selection to the USA World University Team, Graham looks to improve upon a sophomore season, which saw him finish as the conference’s eighth-leading scorer. Graham also contributed nearly six rebounds per game in 2012-13.
Junior point guard Briante Weber appears to be the best man for a vacant starting point guardjob. Weber has become a master ball hawk, averaging 2.7 steals per game in 2012-13, which was good for fifth in the nation a season ago.
In last year’s season opener against Florida Gulf Coast, Weber recorded a season-high 10 steals in just 18 minutes of play. He was named A-10 Defensive Player of the Year in his sophomore campaign.
Among all the preseason hype, VCU head coach Shaka Smart knows that nothing matters until his team takes the court and proves that they are the best in the conference.
“Coaches are funny about preseason polls,” Smart said on the A-10 website. “We happened to have been picked first but that doesn’t mean anything, you still have to go out and win games.”
The Rams will begin their 2013-14 campaign on Nov. 8 at home against Illinois State.