VCU Ram Report

Ram Report - Winter 2014

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years," Duncan said. "We were familiar with J.D.'s system. We played hard. We played smart, and I believe as a team, we over- achieved." Many of that team's players said that familiar- ity helped build chemistry. They were no lon- ger playing for themselves. They were playing for the guy next to them. "We were more of a unit," said Alvin Robin- son. "We all got along together and hung out together." "We had really nice, experienced guys that knew how to play," said assistant coach Dave Hobbs. "Whenever you try to put together a team, an important thing is guys accep ng roles, not only accept it, but embrace it, and not only that, but perform. That was one of the be er teams I've been around at doing that." While Duncan and Lamb were unques on- ably the stars that season, Schlegel and Brown were not far behind. Brown, who held the VCU record for consecu ve starts for 25 years, was a double-digit scorer for the Rams in four straight seasons and averaged 10.8 points and 4.3 rebounds in 1984-85. Barne unflinchingly calls him the best player on that VCU team. "There was nothing he couldn't do," he said. "He was a great passer, a great rebounder, if you wanted somebody at the free throw line." Schlegel, known as a quiet, firm leader, anchored VCU in the post that year, averaging a career-high 12.9 points and 8.1 rebounds while shoo ng .574 from the field. "Mike wasn't scared of nobody," Duncan said. "Mike set picks to get you open. Mike would hit the 15-footer, the jump hook. Mike was awesome, and he was a be er athlete than they gave him credit for." Together, Duncan, Lamb, Brown and Schlegel formed an iron man quartet in which each player averaged at least 32 minutes per game. Barne used the same star ng five in all 32 games, and six players – if you add in Dicker- son and Wake – accounted for 85 percent of the team's minutes played. In order to play such heavy minutes, the Rams had to be well condi oned. "It was all about being in shape. We were do- ing Havoc before Havoc became Havoc," says Brown, referencing Shaka Smart's trademark defense. Duncan recalls a preseason running program they called "The Road", which featured three weeks of running in Byrd Park. It began with a 1.5 mile run the first day and every couple days, Barne would tack on half a mile. Dun- can also says the Rams' condi oning program included the running as many as 15 suicides during prac ce. While Barne 's rota on was short, it was also very good. The Rams held opponents to under 63 points per game (62.7) and shot a remark- able .519 from the field. Despite size disadvan- tages most nights, the Rams outrebounded their opponents by nearly two boards a game. "That team was more like a family unit," says Wake. "We all got along so well on and off the court. We were just a bunch of guys who loved the game and were focused."

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