How 'havoc' fuels VCU's success

Rams' style more than just a defensive scheme; key to deep run in 2013-14

Updated: October 30, 2013, 9:10 AM ET
By Fran Fraschilla | ESPN Insider

Roosevelt Jones AP Photo/Steve HelberVCU's "Havoc" defense, led by Briante Weber and Rob Brandenberg, will be crucial in 2013-14.
When Shaka Smart said at his opening news conference in 2009 that the VCU Rams were "going to wreak havoc on our opponents' psyche," few knew the word "havoc" would become the essence of VCU basketball for the next four seasons.

Vince Lombardi once said that "the difference [between a good coach and an average coach] is knowing what you want, and knowing what the end is supposed to look like."

I have always admired what Smart has accomplished in a short period of time. Even before he coached a college game, he had the vision of what "havoc" would look like in his head. The Rams have averaged almost 28 wins per season since Smart took over, and made their first Final Four appearance in 2011. And Smart became the 12th coach in history to win 100 games in just four seasons in the process.

But while "havoc" is thought of as a defensive system, it is also the basis for Smart's entire philosophy of basketball, from recruiting to talent development to conditioning to how the defense fuels VCU's offense.

Here's a look at how "havoc" works, and what we could expect to see out of the Rams this season.


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Fran Fraschilla is a college basketball analyst for ESPN. He formerly was the head coach at Manhattan, St. John's and New Mexico.