Former NCAA Tournament hero joins Rice Basketball staff

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HOUSTON - Former VCU basketball star, Joey Rodriguez is playing a very different role than he did six years ago.

"I'm in charge of getting all the film and helping the assistant coaches out with scouts," Rodriguez said.

As the video coordinator for the Rice men's basketball team Rodriguez also helps by mentoring the players.

Back in 2011, Rodriguez had a large role in getting Virginia Commonwealth University to the Final Four.

"We didn't even think we were gonna get in, but once we did, we were like why not?"

Looking back now Rodriguez appreciates the true madness of that time.

"It was crazy. We couldn't even go to class at one point because everyone wanted to stop and take pictures. Two weeks before that, we were just normal students at the school that played basketball. We went from that to being on the news and being on TV," Rodriguez said.

This season Rodriguez reconnected with former VCU assistant coach Mike Rhoades and joined the Owls' coaching staff.

Rodriguez shared his thoughts when asked about his new teams chances of making it to the Final Four.

"Of course I think Rice can do that. We have a great group of guys now. They're young, they're hungry. We have a lot of improving to do, but next 2-3 years, why not?"

It's all part of a future Rodriguez is hoping to build as a coach.

"The end all be all goal is to be a head coach one day, have my own program and be a mentor to other players," Rodriguez said.

As for this year's team Rice hosts the University of San Francisco in the College Basketball Invitational on Wednesday night at Tudor Fieldhouse.