Douglas’ canvas a blank scoresheet
Timing, energy the secret ingredients for shot-blocking artist
If there’s an art to shot blocking, the basis is timing.
It’s knowing where to be at the right time, when to jump.
“And then, if you have length, long arms, being able to get your hands up fast enough,” VCU’s Corey Douglas said.
Douglas would know. Douglas’ block percentage (his percentage of opponent 2-point attempts blocked while on the court) of 13.03 ranks
15th in Division I, according to KenPom.com.
His 2.38 blocks per game are tied for 28th in the country.
After tying his career high with four blocks against Iona, Douglas had three against Texas.
Asked about how he approaches playing defense, Douglas said first and foremost he feels like he has to bring energy on the floor.
“And just be active as much as possible,” he said.
Blocking shots isn’t anything new for Douglas. He’s been doing it since he was a 6-foot-4 sophomore at Ballard High School in Louisville.
He still played in the post at that height.
“We had a really talented team, so there was no way I was going to get on the floor playing the wing,” he said. “And our coach, Coach Renner at Ballard, he gave me the option, he said, ‘If you could play down low, there’s minutes for you.’ “
Douglas had another growth spurt ahead of his junior year, reaching over 6-6. He set Ballard’s single-season record for blocks as a senior.
Afterward, he played a postgraduate season at Fork Union, during which he averaged 14.1 points, 12.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks.
While at Rice, current VCU coach Mike Rhoades recruited Douglas to play for the Owls as part of the 2016 class.
However, a hip injury cut Douglas’ freshman season short after nine games, and he redshirted. After Rhoades was hired at VCU in March 2017, Douglas transferred from Rice to Tallahassee Community College.
He committed to
VCU that June to rejoin Rhoades in Richmond, before averaging 13.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in Tallahassee last season.
Assistant Brent Scott, who works with the Rams’ bigs, has coached Douglas at both Rice and VCU. He said he’s seen Douglas grow as both a person and a player.
He said Douglas is about the right things.
“First and foremost, he’s a great, great dude. Hard worker,” Scott said. “And just, he wants to do whatever he can to help the team win.”
That includes a bit of a physical revamp this past offseason. When Douglas arrived at VCU ahead of this year’s summer program, he was 190 pounds. He’s since put on about 25 pounds.
Douglas said the added weight has changed his game completely.
“Being able to just hold my own and then impose my will on some people, too,” he said. “And being able to knock people around, and then hold my ground when I’m posting up and everything.”
As the season progresses, Douglas said he wants to keep working on his offensive game. He’s averaging 3.1 points in
19.8 minutes right now.
But Douglas may just be scratching the surface. After his injury at Rice, he’s still only played in 18 Division I games.
“I think he’s going to continue to get better,” Scott said. “Once again, just because of the type of kid he is and his work ethic.”
Corey Douglas, seen blocking a shot last month against Hofstra, is hoping to expand his offensive game as VCU’s season progresses.