RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Shaka Smart and VCU are set to open a new chapter of Rams basketball, as they'll begin preseason practice for the 2014-2015 season this Friday. Smart held his first media session of the season on Wednesday morning to give us an idea of how the team looks coming into the campaign.
Smart says that many players put in a great amount of work during the summer, singling out Mo Alie-Cox and Melvin Johnson as two that excelled. The head coach says Johnson spent more time in the gym than any player he's coached at VCU, to the point where the coaching staff had to kick him out of the gym.
One thing Smart pointed out was the amount of close losses down the stretch last season. VCU lost five games by a combined 20 points in February and March, and he says he'd like to see his team be a bit more disciplined and solid in those situations this time around.
He also expects better senior leadership. Smart says last season, Briante Weber and Treveon Graham were the two best leaders on the team, and it was hard to get then-seniors Juvonte Reddic and Rob Brandenberg to take a level of ownership of the group.
Smart also announced the Rams will play a closed scrimmage at the University of Florida on November 1, in addition to their black and gold scrimmage on October 26 and exhibition game against California (PA) on November 7.
Smart also addressed the freshmen class, and replacing several coaches. Click on the above video to see some highlights of Smart's press conference.