Two words summed up VCU head coach Shaka Smart's feelings about the Atlantic 10 Conference: scary good.
Smart said that although it was an institutional decision, he believes that men's basketball had an important part in the move to the A-10.
The most compelling reason to move to the A-10, though, in Smart's eyes was for the student athletes.
"Reasons No. 1, 2, and 3 why the move was so immediate was I didn't feel like it was right to have to go into the locker room and tell our seniors and the seniors of the other sports at VCU, 'Hey, thanks for everything you've done, but you're not going to be able to participate in the conference tournament.' . . .which for a lot of sports pretty much precludes you from playing in the NCAA Tournament. So that was certainly the main reason."
Some CAA roots will stay, however. Smart said that he hopes that VCU can play several of their former conference mates in the future. That includes Old Dominion, who Smart noted is a 98-99 percent possibility of happening this upcoming year with the game being played at ODU.
With five of its top six scorers coming back, it helps that VCU has a veteran lineup returning for a move to the A-10.
The jump is rather vertical for VCU, as the Atlantic 10 has had an impressive track record in recent years.
"The success that [men's basketball] has is certainly critical to the athletic program and I know the expectations on us will be greater than they were before this move but honestly we have very high expectations within our program. We like to take challenges head on."
In addition to the move, it'll be interesting how VCU ends up changing its recruiting efforts.
"We're still in the process of figuring that out," Smart said. "I will say that we've gotten a very positive reception this week from the guys that we were already recruiting about the change, so that's always a good thing. We are a team that in the past, we tried to recruit guys that on a given night could help us beat some of the teams in the power conferences. . .that's challenging if you're not in those leagues. Recruiting is so conference-driven. We're in a league, in the Atlantic 10, that in a given year can compare if not favorably, then close to favorably to those conferences in a given year. We just have to get the word out to recruits about how good the Atlantic 10 is."