Shaka Smart and the VCU Rams have to be one of the nation's most anxious teams to hit the hardwood this upcoming season after the way they ended last season in heartbreaking fashion to Stephen F. Austin in the NCAA Tournament. Smart recently commented on the push to November 14 to CBS Sports.
I'd say we're always equally anxious to start the year. That was definitely a tough way to finish the year and it wasn't just the game against Stephen F. Austin. The game we lost in the Atlantic 10 tournament title game to Saint Joseph's was also really difficult for us. But I'd say we're like the vast majority of teams out there -- our season ended in a loss -- and we're very excited about getting back out there on the court.
VCU fans are even more anxious when you factor in the Rams entering class of Terry Larrier, Justin Tillman, Mike Gilmore, and Jonathan Williams. The four newcomers make up the most heralded class in VCU history and some Ram fans already have Larrier's jersey up in the rafters.
While other Cinderellas, like George Mason and Butler, have whiffed in recruiting since their Final Four runs, the Rams have excelled. Smart is already building a solid class for 2015 and has an early commitment from Richmond area guard Kenny Williams who decided to stay home and turned down the likes of North Carolina, Indiana, Michigan, and others.
Smart is now in the middle of two crucial weeks with Tevin Mack and Aric Holman on campus this coming weekend and Ernest Aflakpui and Marcus McDuffie last weekend. The thought of Mack and Aflakpui, both highly heralded recruits probably has Rams' fans salivating.
Where momentum has seemingly petered out for other former Cinderellas, it seems as Shaka Smart has been able to sustain the momentum of the Rams' historic trip to Houston a few years ago. The only thing that could seem to slow the Rams down right now is a November 14 opening night match up with the Tennessee Volunteers in Annapolis without starting point guard Briante Weber.