It’s been a crazy year for VCU’s personnel. Five players have left the 27 win 2012-13 Rams, but VCU returns many of their key pieces while also adding seven very talented new players.
It has been a crazy year for VCU’s personnel. Bradford Burgess graduated, Reco McCarter transferred, Melvin Johnson left Miami and was in Richmond in the blink of an eye, Jordan Burgess and Mo Alie-Cox were ruled partial qualifiers, Torey Burston walked on midseason, DJ Haley left midseason, Teddy Okereafor transferred, and Justin Tuoyo transferred.
Despite all of the changes, VCU has maintained an extremely talented roster and in most cases, Coach Smart & Co. have ended up in a better place; VCU is in a great position to win the Atlantic-10 in 2013-14. The Rams are losing six players, but they return some of their most important pieces while making seven very strong additions.
Key returnees: Juvonte Reddic, Treveon Graham, Melvin Johnson, Rob Brandenberg, and Briante Weber.
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Troy Daniels, David Hinton, and Darius Theus
Daniels, Hinton, and Theus all graduated from VCU last weekend. No one player will be able to replace Daniels’s 3-pointers or Theus’s steals, but the Rams have the talent to replace them by committee.
Haley took a midseason break for undisclosed reasons, returned to the team, and then left permanently the day before the Atlantic-10 Tournament. Early in his career his 7-foot frame was valuable, but his role was marginalized as his lack of speed made him a tough fit for HAVOC!.
The late addition of Douglas Brooks put VCU over the scholarship limit. A few weeks later Teddy Okereafor announced he is transferring to Rider.
About two weeks ago, it was announced that Tuoyo (1.1 PPG, 1.4 RPG) would leave VCU. On Monday, Tuoyo became former VCU assistant Will Wade’s first addition at Chattanooga. Tuoyo’s departure made room for Terrance Shannon.
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After being deemed a partial qualifier, Jordan Burgess was forced to sit out the 2012-13 season. A top-100 recruit, Burgess practiced with the team last season and he should have an immediate impact replacing Troy Daniels at the 3rd guard spot.
Also deemed a partial qualifier, Mo Alie-Cox was forced to sit out the 2012-13 season, but he was unable to practice with the team. He earned a 4.0 his first semester, and he will be a valuable physical force for VCU for the next four seasons.
The news of the departure of Justin Tuoyo was almost entirely eclipsed by the addition of Terrance Shannon, a fifth year senior transfer from Florida State. After battling with multiple injuries throughout his career including an awful neck injury, Shannon earned a fifth season of eligibility, and he will be able to play during the 2013-14 season because of graduate transfers rules. Shannon graduated this spring from FSU with a degree in interdisciplinary social sciences.
Shannon averaged 7.9 PPG, 5.9 RPG, and 1.2 SPG in 16 games last season. He played five minutes and tallied one turnover against VCU in the 2011 Sweet 16. The Rams’ front court fell off last season beyond Juvonte Reddic and Treveon Graham. Shannon will be a valuable addition to Smart’s quick rotations.
CBS’s Jeff Goodman and others believe the addition will lead to Treveon Graham moving to the small forward position. Given Coach Smart’s post-Larry Sanders lineups of using Bradford Burgess and Treveon Graham at the 4 for the past three seasons, that seems unlikely. Reddic and Shannon will see minutes together, but Graham is too effective of a scorer when the Rams create mismatches using his speed against larger defenders.
A late addition in April, Brooks could be the sleeper of VCU’s 2013 recruiting class. According to Dave Telep, some schools had reservations because of his academics, but Coach Smart has a strong tradition of making these kinds of players work out. Douglas Brooks is a high energy player with the same skill set as Briante Weber–with an added 3-point shot.
VCU’s first commitment in the 2013 class, Lewis spent most of his high school career as an underrated prospect. ESPN finally made him a 4-star recruit last month, an honor he deserved. In addition to being a talented pointguard, Lewis is the all-time leading scorer at Dickson County Highschool. Lewis scored 50 points this November in the Holiday Classic in Missouri.
As with most of Coach Smart’s players, Lewis’s defense will dictate his minutes this season. Briante Weber will likely be starting point guard, but Lewis could see minutes as his reserve or even see playing time alongside Weber.
Lyles is a combo guard out of the famous DeMatha highschool. He’s lightning quick, and he has plenty in common with Melvin Johnson and Rob Brandenberg. His role will likely be limited during his first season, but Lyles has the speed and 3-point shooting to have a successful career at VCU.
Simmons has fallen in the rankings since committing to VCU on September 1st, 2012, but he is still a top-40 center nationally. The 6-foot-9, 220 pound Miami native’s role will likely be limited during his freshman campaign, but he will be an important option at center moving forward after Juvonte Reddic graduates.