COLUMBIA, S.C. — When the clock finally hit all zeros, the large contingent of VCU fans stood and gave their team a standing ovation.
The Rams deserved it, not just for the effort they gave against the University of Central Florida in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but for what they gave each other, their coaches and their fans, beginning almost as soon as the 2017-18 season ended, continuing through the off-season in the dog days of summer, into the preseason, the non-conference games and the grind of an Atlantic-10 Conference season.
When VCU finished 2017-18 with an 18-15 record and no postseason engagements, a down year by its standards, Mike Rhoades knew changes had to be made. Actually, he knew it during the 2017-18 season, but he was wise enough to know patience would be a virtue.
Progess, the head coach knew, depended on the players buying into the effort required to win championships and advance to the NCAA tournament.
“Nobody thought we’d be in this position,” Rhoades early Saturday morning after the 73-58 loss that closed out the 2018-19 season. “Nobody did. To be where we are right now says a lot about the guys’ commitment…
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