RICHMOND, Va. – Sure it's nice to see the VCU men's basketball team featured by ESPN, CBS Evening News, Lopez Tonight, Sports Illustrated, Sporting News and just about every major media outlet in the country.
However, the effect of the tournament run took on a whole new level this past week as both Head Coach Shaka Smart and senior point guard Joey Rodriguez received invitations to join the Commander in Chief, President Barack Obama, in Washington, D.C. on separate occasions in the coming weeks.
"I'm blown away by this and really can't believe it," Rodriguez said. "This is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I'm truly honored. It's really a testament to all my teammates and the way we pushed each other to reach goals that only we thought were possible. The past month is something that I'll never, ever forget."
Rodriguez received his invitation this afternoon in a letter from President Obama and his staff. The Merritt Island, Fla. native will head to the White House on May 5th as a guest at the Cinco de Mayo dinner.
As an invited guest of the Washington Times, Smart will head to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on April 30th for the annual White House Correspondents dinner.
He'll join the President and his staff at a cocktail reception prior to heading into the main room for dinner with hundreds of headliners from across the country.
"This is an honor that is truly humbling," Smart said. "I look forward to meeting President Obama, a man who my wife and I have admired for many years. It's a privilege to be included among such a distinguished guest list and such a historic event."