In live event, coach Rhoades explains how COVID-19 is changing the rules
The COVID-19 pandemic got real for VCU Men’s Basketball on March 12 when, seconds before tipoff in their first Atlantic 10 tournament game at the Barclays Center, the team learned that the tournament had been cancelled. Much has happened since then – to VCU’s training, recruiting and even the outlook for graduates of the VCU Center for Sports Leadership.
In a 40-minute Q&A on Facebook Live on April 16, VCU Men’s Basketball Head Coach Mike Rhoades (M.S. ‘02/B) took questions from VCU’s biggest fans as well as alumni. Greg Burton (M.Ed. ‘12/E), director of communications and engagement for the VCU Center for Sport Leadership, moderated the event that can now be viewed in its entirety on the VCU Alumni Facebook wall.
How the Rams’ five senior players reacted to their final season being cut short
Methods and technologies used by the VCU Men’s Basketball staff to stay in touch with players and support them with their educational and conditioning goals
An update on Justin Tillman, former VCU forward whose family has suffered loss and illness as a result of COVID-19
“Virtual visits” and how VCU recruiting has adapted to the NCAA’s social distancing recruitment guidelines
The hopes and realities of scheduling games (thoughts on the proposed 20-game schedule; if fans might see a Power Five school at the Seigel Center; and whether West Coast Rams fans can hope to cheer their favorite team in future seasons)
Encouraging updates on injured players Cory Douglas and Vince Williams
The three pointer Rhoades considers to be “one of the gutsiest plays in VCU history” and some of the his favorite “away” arenas
Rhoades has been lauded for the close and personal relationships he maintains with his team’s graduate assistants. When asked what advice he might have for students graduating from VCU’s Center for Sport Leadership during this unprecedented time of uncertainty for the sports industry, Rhoades invoked the advice of his late father: “Never be too proud to dig ditches. … There’s nothing wrong with that, especially now.”
“You might have to take a job that you think is beneath you right now,” he said. “You know what? A lot of people in the world are going to do that. Make the best of it, knock it out of the park, then you’ll have people supporting you… Hang in there, keep going, and try to do a little bit every day to get closer to what you want to do.”
Rhoades closed with an earnest message to his beloved Ram Nation: “To everybody listening and watching, I send all my thoughts and prayers to everybody. I tell our players every time I hang up with them: Number one is be safe and be smart – stay healthy and do your job, do your part in all of this. If we all do our part, we’ll get closer, sooner, to where we want to be and taking the next step in life. … Stay home, get on Netflix, go walking, go fishing, watch some old games, do all that stuff but make sure everybody is doing their part. Like I tell our players all the time, ‘I love you. Be safe. I can’t wait to see you guys.’”