Tournament berth means end nearing for revered seniors

Senior Juvonte Reddic was honored on March 8 at the last VCU home game of the 2013-14 season. Reddic and guard Rob Brandenberg are the last remaining members of the Rams team that went to the Final Four in 2011. Photo by Audry Dubon.

Colin Kennedy
Sports Editor 

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — With Sunday’s loss to Saint Joseph’s University in the Atlantic 10 tournament championship, the VCU men’s basketball team moved one step closer to losing two of its most prominent players.

Seniors Juvonte Reddic and Rob Brandenberg are the only remaining names from a 2011 Final Four roster, which helped establish the foundation for a now nationally known program in Richmond.

As the two seniors head into their fourth NCAA tournament in four years, each knows they have to put everything on the line.

“For me and Rob, we know every game could be our last game,” Reddic said. “So we just go out there and give it our all for not only ourselves, but for our teammates.”

That’s what Reddic and Brandenberg have been doing since day one, when the pair of freshmen joined a team competing in the Colonial Athletic Association and  struggling to earn a tournament bid.

Now, after helping transform the Rams into a perennial contender, the two are preparing to leave the program after their next loss. Brandenberg says that serves as inspiration to compete.

“I’m going to use this as motivation to leave it all out there,” he said after the loss to SJU. “I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure my teammates are ready, to make sure that, whatever happens, I leave it all out on the floor like I did tonight.”

The motivation was evident Sunday when Brandenberg dropped 18 points in the losing effort. Several VCU players were emotional after the game, and junior Treveon Graham said the team is consciously playing for the seniors.

“We talk about it a lot,” Graham said. “This being their last go-around, we want to make it special for them.”

Friday, March 21 marks the first, and potentially last, do-or-die scenario for Reddic and Brandenberg with the Rams, as VCU gets set to play Stephen F. Austin State University in the second round of the NCAA tournament in San Diego. With a win, the Rams will advance to the third round and take on the winner of  UCLA and Tulsa matchup for a bid to the Sweet 16.

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