After the news about Briante Weber’s suspension broke this week fans are in surprised dismay. Weber has been a fan favorite just about every year. His trouble he’s gotten into affects both him and the VCU basketball program.
For those who don’t know yet, Weber is suspended from pre-season games and from VCU’s first in-season game against Tennessee. He allegedly stole an iPhone in the Cary Street gym (the University’s gym for students and faculty). Since the phone is valued at $200, Weber is charged with petite larceny. His suspension is due to his failure to uphold the team’s standards. Weber may still have to face a board with the university due to his failure to follow the Code of Student Conduct as well.
Fans don’t have concrete information yet that these will be the only games Weber will miss. With his absence, the point guard position opens to two players who are ready for the challenge.
JeQuan Lewis got a good amount of practice last year as he averaged 16.1 min/game. He has much of the same energy that Weber has. This is great because VCU’s havoc is largely energized by Weber. Weber sets the tempo of the court and is an all-or-nothing type player. Lewis showed that he has this same mentality last season, but as a freshman he lacked the qualities that only come with time training under Shaka Smart. Lewis has proven in the off-season that he is ready for this responsibility as he’s been one of the hardest working players. Lewis already averaged 5.9 PPG and 1.3 RPG. These numbers will likely be much higher this season. Being thrown in to run the court and to play most of the game will pay off for Lewis. He should be able to keep up and he’s going to show the crowd his development. Who knows, this may mean more playing time than he expected this season. New ideas and personalities on the court are always good and Smart isn’t one to deny playing time to the right players no matter their experience.
Second, VCU has Jonathan Williams to count on. He’s a four-star recruit and is one of the reasons that his incoming class is ranked 14th nationally by ESPN. Williams has the strength and speed that VCU needs in their point guard. He’s been working on his long range shooting and is already a high scoring point guard. Williams has the talent to mix in very well with Smart’s plays. He will likely get to see playing time early on as Weber is out when Lewis needs it. This extra time may allow Williams to prove himself and get more time on the court later as well.