|School Name:||Virginia Commonwealth University|
|Arena:||Verizon Wireless Arena|
|Conference:||Colonial Athletic Association|
|Head coach:||Shaka Smart|
he Virginia Commonwealth University Rams are the basketball team that represents the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia. VCU currently competes in the Colonial Athletic Association. The team is the reigning 2010 CBI Tournament Champions and first team to sweep the CBI Finals best-of-three series. The team last played in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in 2011. The Rams are coached by second-year head coach Shaka Smart.
- 1 Season-by-season results
- 2 Post-Season History
- 3 VCU players in the NBA
- 4 Individual Career Records
- 5 References
- 6 External Links
|Benny Dees (1968–1970)|
|Chuck Noe (1970–1976)|
|Dana Kirk (1976–1979)|
|1977–78||Dana Kirk||24-5||-||-||NIT First Round|
|J.D. Barnett (1979–1985)|
|1979–80||J.D. Barnett||18-12||8-6||5th||NCAA First Round|
|1980–81||J.D. Barnett||24-5||9-3||1st||NCAA Second Round|
|1982–83||J.D. Barnett||24-7||12-2||1st||NCAA Second Round|
|1983–84||J.D. Barnett||23-7||11-3||1st||NCAA Second Round|
|1984–85||J.D. Barnett||26-6||12-2||1st||NCAA Second Round|
|Mike Pollio (1985–1989)|
|1987–88||Mike Pollio||23-12||10-4||2nd||NIT Quarterfinals|
|Sonny Smith (1989–1998)|
|1992–93||Sonny Smith||20-10||7-5||3rd||NIT First Round|
|1995–96||Sonny Smith||24-9||14-2||1st||NCAA First Round|
|Mack McCarthy (1998–2002)|
|Jeff Capel (2002–2006)|
|2003–04||Jeff Capel||23-8||14-4||1st||NCAA First Round|
|2004–05||Jeff Capel||19-13||13-5||2nd||NIT First Round|
|Anthony Grant (2006–2009)|
|2006–07||Anthony Grant||28-7||16-2||1st||NCAA Second Round|
|2007–08||Anthony Grant||24-8||15-3||1st||NIT First Round|
|2008-09||Anthony Grant||24-10||14-4||1st||NCAA First Round|
|Shaka Smart (2009–present)|
|2009–10||Shaka Smart||27-9||11-7||5th||CBI Champions|
|2010–11||Shaka Smart||23-11||12-6||4th||NCAA Elite Eight|
Conference Regular Season Champion
Conference Tournament Champion
The Rams became the first team to sweep the best of 3 championship series in the CBI post-season tournament on their way to becoming the 2010 CBI Champions. It is the first post-season tournament championship, excluding conference tournaments, in the history of the program.
|1980||#12||East||First Round||#5 Iowa||L 72-86|
|1981||#5||East||First Round||#12 Long Island||W 85-69|
|Second Round||#4 Tennessee||L 56-58 OT|
|1983||#5||East||First Round||#12 La Salle||W 76-67|
|Second Round||#4 Georgia||L 54-56|
|1984||#6||East||First Round||#11 Northeastern||W 70-69|
|Second Round||#3 Syracuse||L 63-78|
|1985||#2||West||First Round||#15 Marshall||W 81-65|
|Second Round||#7 Alabama||L 59-63|
|1996||#12||Southeast||First Round||#5 Mississippi St.||L 51-58|
|2004||#13||East||First Round||#4 Wake Forest||L 78-79|
|2007||#11||West||First Round||#6 Duke||W 79-77|
|Second Round||#3 Pittsburgh||L 79-84 OT|
|2009||#11||East||First Round||#9 UCLA||L 64-65|
|2011||#11||Southwest||First Round||#11 USC||W 59-46|
|Second Round||#6 Georgetown||W 74-56|
|Third Round||#3 Purdue||W 94-76|
|Sweet Sixteen||#10 Florida State||W 72-71 OT|
|Elite Eight||#1 Kansas||
|Final Four||#8 Butler||L 62-70|
The Sun Belt Years
VCU received their first bid to the NCAA Tournament in the 1979–1980 season with a 18–12 overall record and Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship led by then first-year VCU Head Coach J.D. Barnett in VCU's first season in the Sun Belt. They entered the tournament as a #12 seed in the East Region and were eliminated in the first round by #5 Iowa.
It would not be long before the Rams returned to the tournament. The following year the Rams posted a 24–5 record on their way to the Sun Belt Conference regular season and Conference Tournament Championships. The Rams entered the tournament as the #5 seed in the East region and defeated #12 Long Island before being eliminated by #4 Tennessee in overtime in the second round 56–58.
The Rams would return to the tournament in 1983. The Rams, the #5 seed in the East region, defeated #12 seed La Salle in the first round and were eliminated in the second round by #4 seed Georgia 54–56. The Rams lost their second-round game by the same margin to #4 Tennessee in 1981. The 1984 tournament held similar results for the Rams squad. They entered the tournament as a #6 seed in the East Region and defeated #11 Northeastern before being eliminated by #3 Syracuse. It should be noted that the second-round losses in the NCAA Tournament by VCU in 1981, 1983, and 1984 were to teams with first-round byes before the tournament expanded to 64 teams for the 1984–1985 season and byes were eliminated.
In the 1984–85 season the Rams once again made it to the newly expanded 1985 NCAA Tournament. The Rams entered the tournament as the #2 seed in the West region, the highest seeding they have ever received in the tournament. The Rams defeated #15 Marshall in the first round, but unfortunately their luck had not changed in the second-round and they were upset by #7 Alabama 63–59.
During his tenure, Head Coach J.D Barnett (1979–1985) led VCU and the Rams to five NCAA Tournament appearances (1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985) while capturing four Sun Belt regular season conference championships (1981, 1983, 1984, 1985) and three Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championships (1980, 1981, 1985). He was 132–48 overall and 59–19 in conference play during his time at VCU.
The Rams next stint in the post-season came under Head Coach Mike Pollio in the 1988 NIT Tournament where they would reach the quarter-finals before ultimately falling to UConn 60-69. The Rams posted wins over Marshall and Southern Mississippi in the first and second rounds, respectively.
The Rams remained in the Sun Belt Conference until 1991 when they joined the Metro Athletic Conference. Their time in the Metro was short-lived and they left the conference to join the Colonial Athletic Association(CAA) for the 1995–1996 season.
The CAA Days
In their first season as members of the CAA, the Rams posted a 24–9 overall record, going 14–2 in conference play en route to the CAA regular season and conference tournament championships. The Rams earned the right to go dancing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1985, but fell in the first round as the #12 seed in the Southeast region to #5 Mississippi State. In 2011 the VCU Rams entered the tourney as the #11 seed play in game beat USC, beat Georgetown, and Beat Purdue taking the rams to the schools first ever sweet sixteen appereance
Jeff Capel era
The VCU men's basketball team would return to prominence in the 2003–2004 season under then second-year Head Coach Jeff Capel. Following a 2nd place conference finish in his debut season, Capel led the Rams to a 23–8 overall record, going 14–4 in conference play and capturing the CAA regular season and conference tournament championships. The Rams were awarded the #13 seed in the East region and faced #4 Wake Forest in the first round. VCU led for much of the second half and had a chance to win towards the end despite the Wake Forest comeback, but ultimately fell 79–78.
Jeff Capel originally joined VCU as an assistant in 2001 and at the time of his promotion to the head coaching position in 2002 was the youngest head coach in Division I NCAA basketball at 27 years old. During his time as the head coach with VCU, Capel compiled a 79-41 record. In April 2006, Capel resigned as head coach to accept the same position with the University of Oklahoma Sooners. He was replaced by Anthony Grant, formerly an assistant and associate head coach for several years to Billy Donovan, including the 2006 NCAA champions, the University of Florida Gators.
Anthony Grant era
In his first year as head coach, Anthony Grant led the Rams to a school-record 28 wins. The Rams finished the season 28–7, also setting a school and CAA conference record with 16 wins in conference play. Grant, who also set a school record for most wins by a first-year head coach, was named the CAA Coach of the Year. The Rams were 16–2 in conference play and captured the CAA Regular Season Championship before capturing the CAA Conference Tournament Championship in thrilling fashion as Eric Maynor burst onto the national scene by scoring 9 points in the final 1:55 to bury theGeorge Mason Patriots, finishing with 14 of his 20 points in the second half. Maynor also had 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals in the victory.
The Rams entered the 2007 NCAA Tournament as the #11 seed in the West region and upset the #6 seed Duke Blue Devils 79–77 on a game-winning bucket from just beyond the free-throw line by Eric Maynor in the final seconds of the game.
Unfortunately, the Rams good fortune did not continue into the next round where they were eliminated by the #3 seed Pittsburgh Panthers. The Rams squad showed outstanding poise in the second-half by forcing overtime after trailing 26–41 at halftime. Unfortunately, they were outscored 10–15 in the overtime period and fell 79–84.
The next year the Rams would win their second straight CAA regular season championship, posting a 24–8 overall record, 15–3 in conference play, but fall short in the conference tournament in a heartbreaking upset to William & Mary in the semi-finals. The Rams missed an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament but instead received an invitation to play in the NIT. The Rams heartbreak continued as they were upset on their home court in the first round by old-time Sun Belt Conference rival, the UAB Blazers 80–77 as a late comeback fell just short.
The 2008-2009 season was another successful one for the VCU program. The Rams finished the season with a mark of 24–10 overall, going 14–4 in a hotly contested CAA and sealing the deal on a three-peat as CAA regular season champions for only the second time in CAA conference history and the second time in school history, the first coming during the Rams time in the Sun Belt Conference. The Rams would not fall short again and captured the CAA Conference Tournament Championship for the fourth time since joining the conference capped by a 71–50 rout of rival George Mason in the final. The 21-point margin is the largest margin of victory in a CAA Conference Tournament Championship Game. Larry Sanders set CAA Conference Tournament Championship Game records for the Rams with 20 rebounds and 7 blocks in the victory.
So once again, the Rams headed to the NCAA Tournament as a #11 seed in the East region. Unfortunately, the Rams were eliminated by the #6 seed UCLA Bruins in a hard-fought to the wire 65–64 loss.
Anthony Grant posted an impressive 76–25 record in his three seasons as the head men's basketball coach at VCU. He was an outright dominating 52–10 versus CAA opponents, including conference tournaments, capturing three straight CAA Regular Season Conference Championships and two CAA Conference Tournament Championships. He led VCU to two NCAA Tournament berths and one NIT berth before departing the program to take over the head coaching position at the University of Alabama. Eric Maynor would go on to be drafted #20 in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz.
Shaka Smart era
In his first year as the Rams head coach, Shaka Smart posted a 27-9 record, going 11-7 in the CAA. The Rams made it to the semi-finals of the CAA conference tournament as the #5 seed, where they fell in overtime to league champions Old Dominion. The Rams earned a berth in the CBI tournament and were the first team in tournament history to sweep the CBI Finals best-of-three series as they became the 2010 CBI Tournament Champions. Larry Sanders decided to forgo his senior year to enter the 2010 NBA Draft. He was selected 15th by the Milwaukee Bucks
On Selection Sunday 2011, the Rams got an At-large bid to the NCAA Tournament to start off the newly created 68 team field. They were scheduled to play USC on March 16th at the University of Dayton, Dayton Ohio for a spot at the 11th seed in the tournament. In the first round of the NCAA tournament, dubbed by many as "The First Four", The Rams succeeded in knocking off USC by the score of 59-46. The Rams blew out Georgetown, 74-56 in Chicago to reach the Round of 32 and followed this win up with a 94-76 routing of third-seeded Purdue to advance to VCU's first-ever Sweet Sixteen appearance. In overtime, VCU then beat Florida State University 72-71 to advance to the school's first ever Elite-Eight appearance.
VCU players in the NBA
Jesse Dark 1974 to 1975 - Drafted by the New York Knickerbockers in the 2nd round (14th pick, 32nd overall)
Bernie Harris 1974 to 1975 - Drafted by the Buffalo Braves in the 4th round (9th pick, 63rd overall)
Individual Career Records
1. Eric Maynor - 1,953
2. Kendrick Warren - 1,858
3. Charles Wilkins - 1,716
4. Phil Stinnie - 1,645
5. Calvin Duncan - 1,630
6. Domonic Jones - 1,616
7. Jesse Dark - 1,586
8. Monty Knight - 1,549
9. Nick George - 1,546
10. Gerald Henderson - 1,542