When it came to deciding VCU’s plans for the postseason, coach Mike Rhoades said the No. 1 factor was the team’s health.
Freshman Marcus Santos-Silva hurt his left wrist at the end of VCU’s Atlantic 10 tournament game against Dayton last Thursday. He wore a wrap on his hand and wrist during Friday’s game against Rhode Island and played just two minutes. He’ll get an MRI on the wrist on Monday.
Sophomores Malik Crowfield and Issac Vann will see doctors this week. Both suffered high left-ankle sprains in November.
“If you’re going to play in any of these tournaments, you want to make sure it’s an advantage moving forward for your team,” Rhoades said. “And I think the biggest thing, No. 1, is I wanted to make sure our guys, as soon as this season was over, are able to get healthy and not prolong that period of going to get healthy.”
This year marks the first since 2006 that VCU will not partake in some sort of postseason tournament. The Rams’ string of seven NCAA tournament appearances ends this season.
Rhoades said VCU was invited to play in the 16-team College Basketball Invitational.
“What we needed to do is get back to work and build our bodies and get stronger and get some of these guys healthier,” Rhoades said. “You can’t move forward and improve if you’re not healthy.”
The players will take a little time to recover. And Rhoades said one thing he’ll do right away is watch all the games from this season and make notes.
“And then we’ll have a lot of staff meetings and a lot of meetings with the coaches and with our players, just to discuss and evaluate so many different things,” he said. “And then really build a plan for the spring and summer to really improve and really move forward.”
As they recover, the players will spend time with trainer Eddie Benion and director of sports performance Donald Brown. Later, the team will jump into its spring program.
This will be the players’ first full offseason of work with this staff. Getting bigger, stronger and more explosive are priorities.
“That’s No. 1 on the list this spring for our guys, is we got to get tougher ... and that helps when you get stronger and you become more explosive,” Rhoades said. “And so that will be a challenge to everybody, but it’s also a great opportunity for guys to really improve their bodies and that will improve their games.”