VCU basketball played their annual Black and Gold intra-squad exhibition this week. Dedicated Ram fans waited in the rain to see the exhibition in a line that stretched around the building Sunday.
Fans know this game is worth the wait. Not only would it be their first time watching the newest team play, it’s also a great opportunity to watch their favorite players matched up against one another. Although half of the team had to lose, it’s the excitement of watching the sheer talent Shaka Smart has on his team this season that drew fans in.
The score was close at the end of the first period with the black team at 29 and gold at 34. The final score was 56-72 gold. Sophomore Melvin Johnson led not only the gold team but all players as the highest scorer, putting up 25 points. If he keeps putting up numbers like these, Johnson can expect to be in the rotation for plenty of game time throughout the season.
One of the most exciting players to watch in this game was freshman guard JeQuan Lewis. Lewis was the highest scorer on the black team as he put up 13 points. Although his team lost, he showed VCU fans his extreme energy and skills both under the basket and on defense. Coach Smart pointed out in his interview after the game that Lewis lost some energy the second half. With Coach Smart’s speedy HAVOC style that doesn’t let up one minute of the game, Lewis will excel once he builds his endurance and gets more practice in under Smart’s direction.
Coach Smart has some choices to make this season when it comes to point guards. Although word has been so far that Junior Briante Weber will replace now graduated Darius Theus as point guard, there is no guarantee. With the talent of veteran Rob Brandenberg, and new comers Jairus Lyles and JeQuan Lewis on the team, only time will tell who proves to be the best to fill the spot with the dynamics the team has this season.
Normally higher numbers of turnovers and steals would be a bad situation but in this game it excited fans. The black team ended with 9 turnovers and gold ended with 10. These numbers show that players are focusing on steals and looks like they are having success carrying them out. Coach Smart is enthusiastic about his team this season saying “We have a lot to work on but a lot to work with.” Fans can agree with Shaka after watching the game because the point of the matchup is to show weaknesses that need to be focused on and the talent there is to look forward to.
Fans can feel confident about their Rams after watching this scrimmage. The team looks as quick, precise and sharp as ever. VCU plays November 2nd at home again against California (Pa.) in their next exhibition game.