So I was right. I really like being right. When both UR and VCU made it into the Sweet 16, I told my sister who used to work at Sports Illustrated for Kids that I thought both Chris Mooney (men’s bball coach at UR) and Shaka Smart (new Richmond deity and men’s bball coach at VCU) would say no to the twinkling lights of bigger conferences and stay in our town to build their programs.

Richmond--Crazy to Love, and I mean that in a good way!

She scoffed. Said I was naive. Maybe, but I thought these guys were a world apart from  the usual suspects in college coaching. They are no doubt ambitious and talented. But they believe they can be successful here.      Yippee. This is very good for Richmond, and not just for basketball players and fans. Bloom where you are planted works so much better when you live and work in a great climate and now both Mooney and Smart are saying this is where they want to be. For good reasons. Richmond is a town that will reward them with love and loyalty, as will their universities. And I haven’t even offered them free food tours for life–yet.  And in the A-10 and CAA conferences, now that perhaps the tournament selection committee gets that parity has arrived, they have perhaps an easier road to the NCAA tournament each year than if they took on an N.C. State or Georgia Tech in the ACC (nowhere to be seen in the Final Four this year).

Forgive my analysis.  As anyone who has watched a basketball game in the same room as my sister and I knows, we have opinions and share them.  With her vast store of knowledge and my endless store of opinions, we analyze the hell out of every game we watch when we’re not obsessively tapping our feet and fingers and jumping up and down and cussing and cheering. Must be our Catholic upbringing. My tiny, retiring grandmother (as opposed to my larger than life, oversized one) would go nuts whenever Notre Dame played.

It’s nice to be able to celebrate the good news that both Shaka Smart and Chris Mooney are staying in Richmond so soon after the disappointing defeat the other night. Welcome home!

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