New-look VCU prepares to open season

Richmond, VA (WWBT)- The last eight months have seen the VCU basketball program experience more hype than the program has ever seen before, highlighted by a Final Four appearance and an ESPY award.  Now it becomes time to turn the page, as a new-look Rams team will take the floor for the 2011-2012 season.

Four key role players are gone from last year's team, meaning several members of last year's supporting cast will need to make up for some of the lost points.  Bradford Burgess is the lone senior and starter returning from last year's team.  The Benedictine graduate was second on the team in scoring last season with 14.3 points per game, and now will take the spotlight and is expected to shoulder much of the load this season.

Head coach Shaka Smart and the Rams opened up the doors of the Siegel Center for an open practice on Sunday afternoon.  Smart said that this was to benefit both the fans and the players.  The VCU faithful got a chance to get an early look at their team, while the young players got the opportunity to hit the court in front of a crowd.

The Rams will hit the court on Thursday at 7:30 pm for an exhibition game against California University of Pennsylvania, a Division II school.  They'll tip off for real next Friday, November 11, against St. Francis at 7:30 pm.

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