Wednesday, September 26, 2007



Last Season: 28-7 (16-2), beat Duke in first round of NCAAs, lost to Pitt in 2nd round
Key Losses: G Jesse Pellot-Rosa (13.3 ppg/4.5 rpg), G B.A. Walker (14.8 ppg)
Key Adds: G Ed Nixon (top 300), G Joey Rodriguez (top 300), F Lance Kearse

Despite losing two starting backcourt players in Pellot-Rosa and Walker, the Ram backcourt is still in good shape, with NCAA hero Eric Maynor returning. Maynor was second on the team in scoring (13.9), fourth in rebounding (4.2), and first in assists (6.4 - led the conference) and steals (1.4). He is a master at directing the Rams' high powered offense, and came through in the clutch against Duke in the NCAA tournament, not to mention his performance in the CAA tournament championship game (see below). Maynor is the best player in the CAA, and a legitimate All-American candidate.

Joining him in the backcourt will be last year's sixth man, senior Jamel Shuler. Shuler has improved every year, and will be looking to continue that trend as a starter this season. Shuler can score, as he averaged 8.6 ppg last season, including breaking 20 points twice, and is the leading returning three point man, with 52 last season at 41%. Depth will come from a trio of freshman in Joey Rodriguez, Ed Nixon, and Brandon Rozzell. Rodriguez will be the point guard back up, Nixon is an athletic wing who can handle the 2, and Rozzell is a three-point specialist.

The Rams are returning experience and rebounding from last year, if not scoring. The top two leading rebounders are back, in 6-7 Will Fameni (8.9 ppg/5.4 rpg) and 6-7 Michael Anderson (6.4 ppg/4.9 rpg) - both seniors. The Rams need one of the two to step up his offensive game to take some of the pressure off of Maynor. Fameni would seem most likely, but his stats tailed off at the end of last season, averaging just 6 ppg in the team's final five games.

Joining those two in the starting lineup will likely be sophomore T.J. Gwynn, a 6-4 slasher who averaged 4.8 ppg in just 14.1 minutes per game on his way to being named to the Colonial Conference All-Rookie team. VCU will get depth from sophomore Franck Ndongo or freshman Lance Kearse (second cousin of Jevon), either of whom could end up starting over Gwynn if they decide to go with a bigger lineup or Gwynn doesn't produce.

The Colonial Conference has produced some very cool moments in the NCAA tournament over the past two seasons, and shouldn't be overlooked. VCU is one of two teams in the CAA that could do some damage in the tournament, assuming they give out two bids this year.

I leave you with the final two minutes of last year's CAA tournament championship, also known as the Eric Maynor show:

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