- India diplomat who touts women’s rights busted for $3 wage to nanny
- MSNBC host Ed Schultz paid $252K by unions in 2012-2013
- Korean War memorial ordered to take down Christian cross
- Billy Graham near death, ‘close to going home to be with the Lord’
- SeaTac, Wash.: City’s new $15 minimum wage heads to court
- Obama mulls support for Islamists in Syria, with conditions
- Obama ‘birther’ theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- U.S. drone faulted for killing 14 ‘innocent civilians’ at Yemen wedding
- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
Skeen’s vision helps lift VCU to next level of competition
HOUSTON | A hand descending from heaven as it clutches a basketball is tattooed on Jamie Skeen’s right arm. Another hand reaches up for the basketball. Between them is a gap.
Skeen’s college career hung in that gap for four years, the place between possibility and reality.
“I always knew his potential,” Virginia Commonwealth University junior Brandon Rozzell said Thursday at Reliant Stadium. “Now he’s able to play as free as he wants. He’s as confident as he’s ever been.”
Known by teammates for his ability to lose at video games, Skeen smiles easily, cracks jokes and likes to talk. But those words dry up at mention of the last few years.
In 2008, Wake Forest suspended Skeen for the fall semester because of a “violation of academic policy.” Skeen, a top-100 recruit out of high school in Charlotte, N.C., transferred to VCU that December. He picked the Richmond school over South Florida and Seton Hall.
VCU’s size - more than 32,000 students - attracted Skeen, after the 7,000-student campus at Wake Forest that felt like high school. Skeen dubbed it “Groundhog Day,” after the Bill Murray movie where he lives the same day over and over.
“I could see the future,” Skeen said. “Maybe I could go there and help out. I had a vision. Now we’re in the Final Four. My vision panned out.”
The other big change came on the court. At Wake Forest, all 6-foot-9, 240 pounds of Skeen played on the perimeter. That’s not his game. Skeen is most comfortable when he’s doing a little of everything, inside and out. That’s shaped by thoughts of playing professionally.
“I want scouts to know that I can do more than one thing, that I’m not one-dimensional,” Skeen said. “I do it all, or at least I try to.”
That’s exactly what Skeen enjoys. If 3-pointers aren’t falling - he’s shooting 40.2 percent from beyond the arc - he’ll go inside and try to use his quickness to maneuver around taller, wider opponents.
“I’ve seen coaches get frustrated when he’s putting up threes wide-open because people don’t close out on him,” Rozzell said. “They have a hard time guarding him.”
In Sunday’s jaw-dropping win over top-seed Kansas in San Antonio, Skeen demonstrated his versatility to the country. He sank four 3-pointers, then drew fouls as he pounded the ball inside, going 10-for-12 at the line.
When Kansas closed within two, it was Skeen who sank a pair of free throws, then added a 3-pointer and layup minutes later. You wouldn’t believe the same player chides his teammates for giving him the ball too much.
All that amounted to 26 points and 10 rebounds in 38 sweat-drenched minutes against hyped Kansas forwards Marcus and Markieff Morris.
If there was any question, the gap disappeared.
“We’ve been trying to tell people for a year how good he is,” senior Joey Rodriguez said. “This is his chance to showcase his skills. He belongs at the next level.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- FENNO: Honestly, Mike Shanahan, why should we believe you now?
- Robert Griffin III surprised at being benched by Mike Shanahan
- FENNO: High schooler Chris Cotillo balances MLB scoops, Spanish homework
- Turmoil now a major part of Redskins' game plan
- Mike Shanahan says he'd like to return to Redskins
Latest Blog Entries
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- House budget bargain faces Senate filibuster; Republicans line up to oppose
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- Obama birther theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- PRUDEN: The last living witnesses; they wore the yellow star and remember the Nazi terror
- Echoes of Cold War in Ukraine as Russia tries to rein in former Soviet satellites
- KEENE: James Clapper should resign for lying to Congress
- Kim Jong-un consolidating power or losing grip on North Korea's military
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- Broncos-Chargers game ends with several stabbings
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Implement these actionable tips, how-to’s and best practices in 10 minutes or less to leverage online communications and technology for brand, business and career development.
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow