Some Plays Mean More Than Others...
The cockamamey ideas typically find their way into conscious thought in the time frame between the top popping off of the fourth Stella and when the fully-spent bottle hits the recycling bin. Usually it's Friday night. In May. It's life and velocity is fueled by Twitter, a friend's text, love for VCU basketball, and, well, four (or more) Stellas.
This is no different. On Friday I threw out the idea of stereotypical VCU plays, those moments that define the VCU player and VCU brand. Then I let my mind do the walking. You were all very kind and helpful in closing up the holes in my memory, and to round out the thought process. Typically these ideas are met with a laugh and an "oh Lord" from The Beautiful One, and she is right, but this seemed to have legs. So I pondered, and here we are.
First, we need a definition. What a VCU Play is, and what it is not. We have rules on this pointless blog.
It is not merely a great play or thrilling moment. Many people cited Bo Jones' 70-footer at the buzzer to beat East Carolina. A holy-crap play and a winner, but that was not anything outside the realm of a 70-foot shot. It doesn't make my list.
Big sack plays also do not make the list. Marcus Evans dumped Dayton twice in 2019. JeQuan Lewis sent the UR game to overtime. Ro Lamb to beat Northeastern in the NCAA tournament. That's an inexhaustible list and maybe one day, with a fresh supply of Stella, we will rank those. Bradford Burgess might have his own list, ditto the 2011 team. Anyway, I"m off track here.
There's a level of scrappy, a level of swag, a level of "I don't care who you are nor do I care what this moment represents" that is required. There's gravitas. I'm not going to call it disrespect because there's malicious intent behind that word. It's never malicious and it's almost always fun. It's guys making plays, or guys making the opponent know they just made a play.
I also realized we cannot boil it down to one play. There are, shall we say, segments. I've added those to the list.
Enough blabber. Here we go. (This is my list. Your mileage may vary, and I reserve the right to change my mind.)
Top 10 VCU Plays
10. Literally, you can play "Pick a Kendrick Dunk" because they were vicious. You can't watch the 91 seconds of the
highlight video and not feel sorry for the opposition when Kendrick Warren is in the semi-open floor.
9. Rob Brandenberg, a freshman, picks up a loose ball and drills a three with a hand in his face near the
first half buzzer vs. USC, 2011 NCAA tournament (2:50 mark in the link).
8. Treveon Graham from 30 feet to beat UVA in Charlottesville, and then telling the fans about it.
7. Briante Weber's girder-shaker vs. Butler in the return game. If we're sitting in a bar, this is one you could probably talk
me into being higher on the list. Iconic moment, iconic photo.
6. Terrance Shannon putback dunk off missed Juvonte Reddic dunk. There's so much to this one that I love. Reddic was
still in the way. Got Briante hopping.
5. Mo Alie-Cox baptizes Kavanaugh at GW, 2016. Mo's first words in the locker room: "and he fouled me but the ref didn't
call it." Side note: the VCU five-man split a trap and attacked the rim. Very VCU.
4. Brandon Rozzell tells Bill Self and the entire Kansas bench that yes, it would be a wise idea to get someone out on him.
Hit the 0:50 mark and then stick with it. We get Rozzell at the 1:08 mark as well. That was nearly 10 years ago and I
still talk trash with Rozzell when I rewatch.
3. Briante Weber steals an inbounds pass, one of the those late-game rollers. It's entirely possible this could be number
one, if it occurs on the road or in the postseason. Who has not dreamed of their guy doing this? Weber did it.
2. Eric Maynor steal and three-point play, followed by a steal and layup, followed by clapping in Gabe Norwood's grill,
2007 CAA Finals. Swagtastic.
And number one: Is this the dagger? I held quite the internal debate as I washed windows this morning. For awhile, this was number two. I mean, it's one play and a big shot--how is it different than Ro Lamb? Well, it's Duke. VCU was the underdog. Maynor was never, and I mean never, passing the ball. And my favorite part, tied: waving off Anthony Grant, and then pointing to the crowd and screaming "that's for you" as bedlam ensued.
Tyron McCoy, swishing a sideline three as a coach, after a bad pass lands in his lap.
I'll go to my grave with seeing 7,000 people jammed into The Stu at 2am to welcome the team home from San Antonio. Connected.
Three That Were Close
The Experience turning a front somersault after JeQuan Lewis buries a three, during game play.
Jonathan Williams diving from the court, over the media table, and headlong into a concrete wall to save an errant pass.
Marcus Santos-Silva blowing a kiss to the Duquesne student section.
Kenny Harris scores 26 points in nine minutes and VCU rallies from down 30 in the second half at South Florida.
Troy Daniels hits 11 threes, many while standing on the ETSU logo.
Rodney Ashby and Louisville. Nuf Ced for Sweet Chuck. Except this: I get a kick out of Rodney's postgame interview and he says he's no Bryant Reeves !!!
The Michael Doles Game. Yeah. Down 18 with five minutes to go, Michael Doles makes Every. Single. Play. This game includes The Peppas entering the building carrying a coffin. That's an understated moment in our time.
Jamie Skeen scores 18 second half points in the 2011 CAA quarters vs. Drexel, when Shaka Smart ran the same play 16 straight times down the floor, isolating Skeen.