RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Virginia Commonwealth University basketball player Rob Brandenberg has two years left at school and he’s already been to the Big Dance twice.
Brandenberg thought his ‘dream come true’ might only happen once.
But Monday night the starting sophomore earned the chance for it to happen again.
“A lot of people never get to see the tournament once in their career, and I’ve seen it twice and I’m only a sophomore so I’m not taking anything for granted,” said Brandenberg.
The Ohio native comes from a family of six children.
He is taking the trip to the tournament with a very different team than he did last year.
It’s a younger team since only one senior player returned.
Brandenberg believes the new make-up has pushed the team to work collectively.
“We all look to contribute,” he said, “that’s the difference between now and last year’s team.”
VCU Athletic Director Norwood Teague agrees and believes there are no “me” players on this year’s team.
In his mind the team has already exceeded many expectations.
“You never know how the whole team will gel chemistry wise and [Coach] Shaka got them to gel,” said Teague.
Teague said it’s a new era for the basketball program.
He said recruiting calls are getting returned faster and for the first time seats are consistently selling out.
“I could have never dreamed the Coliseum would be the way it’s been past few nights,” said Teague.
But with that kind of excitement comes expectations.
Fortunately Brandenberg said he’s felt more support than pressure.
“That’s what’s helped us become so successful not comparing us to last year’s team and understanding we’re a different team,” he said.