RamNation Summer Hot Stove

Illustration by Mckenzie Bunting
Photo by Erin Edgerton

There’s always something cookin’ in the world of RamNation. Coach Mike Rhoades and his 2018-19 Rams will gear up for the new campaign amid a whirlwind of sky-high expectations this fall — here’s what you missed in the offseason news cycle.

 

Star guard Evans on the mend:

 

Junior guard Marcus Evans suffered his second achilles injury back in June. Evans had recently completed full recovery from a torn achilles, which occurred in June 2017. The full severity of the injury is still unclear, as VCU Basketball appears to be playing this one close to the chest.

 

“Out the hospital & nothing but good news ! God is good,” Evans tweeted June 5.

 

Evans, who averaged 20 points per game in two seasons under Rhoades at Rice University and made First-Team All-Conference USA both years, sat out last season due to transfer regulations. If healthy, Evans is poised to take over the starting point guard role vacated by Johnny Williams.

 

The Flying Dutchman:

 

Acrobatic VCU graduate and last season’s starting point guard Johnny Williams will begin his professional career in Holland. Williams signed with Dutch club Aris Leeuwarden. The Richmond native averaged 9.8 pointer per game last season, and his 182 assists ranks ninth in single-season school history. Williams will be the third VCU alum to suit up for Aris Leeuwarden, following in the footsteps of Darius Theus and Brandon Rozzell.

 

Shocking development:

 

Dec. 22 — mark your calendars, RamNation. VCU has agreed to a home-and-home series with perennial Final Four contender Wichita State University, beginning this season at the Siegel Center. The return game against the Shockers at Koch Arena in Wichita, Kan. is set for Dec. 21, 2019. The Rams’ full non-conference schedule will be released shortly, but established highlights will include away games at the University of Virginia and University of Texas at Austin.

 

RamNation TBT:

 

VCU’s alumni basketball team — RamNation — made it all the to the quarterfinals of The Basketball Tournament, a yearly, $2 million winner-take-all, 72-team bracket full of international talent.

 

“We fell in love with the concept a couple years ago before we were in,” said RamNation GM Mat Shelton-Eide on the TBT website. “We’ve done it the past few years and it’s so fun. Our players and their families love it … Obviously we lost to Overseas Elite the past couple years, but we want to continue to progress and win the whole thing.”

 

The squad, including former VCU stars Briante Weber, Darius Theus, Brandon Rozell and Eric Maynor, fell to three-time defending champion Overseas Elite 72 – 60 -— the third consecutive year RamNation has been thwarted by the eventual champions.

 

Tillman’s NBA future Heat-ing up:

 

Former VCU star forward Justin Tillman agreed to a Summer League contract with the Miami Heat in the offseason. Tillman averaged 6.5 points and .5 rebounds per game in two contests. The 2017-18 First Team All-Atlantic 10 selection worked out for a number of teams over the summer, including the Spurs, Celtics, Nuggets, Thunder, Pistons and Lakers.


Zach Joachim Executive Editor

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