March 25, 2011
VCU is the ultimate underdog in the NCAA tournament as the only team remaining that had to play a play-in game to get in, so throughout most of the past few weeks, the team has stressed a loose attitude that still fosters a competitive spirit.
That's why when coach Shaka Smart saw former NBA 3-point specialist Steve Kerr sitting on the sideline watching his team's shootaround, Smart not only wanted to introduce him to the team, but thought it might be fun to pit VCU's best 3-point shooter, Joey Rodriguez, against Kerr in a long-range contest.
"I'm 45, it takes me about an hour to warm up," Kerr said with a laugh, but he accepted the challenge after shooting a few warmup free throws. Kerr, dressed in jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt, and Rodriguez in his practice uniform complete with shooting sleeve, started taking fire in what was supposed to be a best-of-10 contest.
The game actually went 11 rounds and Rodriguez won 9-6.
"I'm sure if he had a couple more warm-up shots he would have killed me," Rodriguez told CBSsports.com. "It was cool shooting against someone like that. And you could kind of see at the end he wanted to win. He's a great shooter, probably the best clutch shooter of all times, one of them at least. ... That was a fun experience. That was great."
Rodriguez is averaging 12.3 points per game during the tournament, but is shooting just 33.3 percent from 3-point rage. Perhaps Thursday's contest will help ignite his 3-point shooting against Florida State on Friday night.