Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

A look back: VCU’s third place at the Legends was significant

December 2, 2014 Columns No Comments
vcu

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Last Tuesday evening, before Thanksgiving dinner even hit the oven, VCU did something of team building importance. It was more than just claiming third place in the Legends Classic at the Barclays Center. While the record books dutifully recorded a 77-63 victory over Oregon, the Rams did more than win a consolation game. This was the type of victory that proved significant on several accounts. First, to set the stage.

In Monday’s semifinal, VCU faced highly-regarded and nationally ranked Villanova. Following a close first half, VCU took the lead early in the second half. The Wildcats regrouped, going on a game changing 16-0 run and never looking back.

Tuesday saw VCU get out to a double-digit lead and withstand several runs by Oregon. In the stretch the Rams sealed the deal en route to a third place finish. VCU coach Shaka Smart saw his group challenged and respond favorably.

“We had a great turnaround,” Smart said. “We put together a game plan on limited time. We gave the team the game plan this morning and they did a great job executing it. We also made toughness plays.”

One of the individuals making his share of tough plays was Melvin Johnson. The 6-3 junior hails from the Bronx and had about 35 family and friends on hand. It’s great to play in front of the home folk, and more satisfying considering the outcome and how it was realized. “We emphasized defense completely,” said Johnson. “Every possession trying to get a stop.” Referring to smart’s orientation toward analytics, Johnson did make a few mistakes tonight but yesterday (against Villanova) we made way too many mistakes.”

Briante Weber also made the toughness players. Assigned to Joseph Young of Oregon, Weber held the 6-2 senior guard to 2 of 13 shooting and just nine points. Young entered the game averaging a team-high 24.5 points, and defending him was naturally a priority for Smart and VCU. “Weber did the job on defense,” Smart said.

Smart also lauded the offensive play of his club. Five players scored in double figures, a product of transition opportunities and good ball movement.

A satisfying victory no doubt. The defense, their trademark, did the job needed to win. The offense was effective and, as noted previously, well-balanced. An admirable trait to any coach. The most impressive aspect of this victory was that the Rams showed enviable resolve in putting the Villanova game behind them and concentrating on Oregon. In that consolation game they were “locked in” on the game plan and individual assignments. That ability to regroup and the manner in which they did is impressive. The win is something to build on. That outstanding resiliency is something that will bode well for them on entering the two or more games a week of Atlantic Ten play.

The Legends ultimately gave VCU much more than a split and third place finish.

Comment on this Article:







Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville

Advertisement


Your Phil of Hoops

Gbinije’s long journey may still have the ending many expected at one time

May 31, 2016 by

author_kasiecki

Michael Gbinije seemingly fulfilled the potential many thought he had, though he traveled a circuitous route to get there. Will it end up in the NBA Draft, or will he have to fight harder to make a roster?

The wait is over for Stony Brook

March 12, 2016 by

stonybrook

Stony Brook is finally going to the NCAA Tournament, and the story of tragic endings – and all that goes with it – is a thing of the past.

Saturday Notes – February 27, 2016

February 28, 2016 by

author_kasiecki

The last Saturday of exclusively regular season play seemed to follow the script of many others. We look at notes from many of the day’s games of consequence.

Hoopville Archives

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

hoopguy-cyan

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

hoopguy-yellow

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale preview

June 24, 2016 by

hoopguy-cyan

We look ahead to the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, held at a familiar location in Boston.

At the 2016 Boston Shootout, host BABC has a big day

June 8, 2016 by

hoopguy-cyan

Sunday was a big day for the host program at the 44th Boston Shootout

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by

hoopguy-cyan

The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.