Coach Smart picks up another recruit, plus some thoughts on the changing face of HAVOC!
Hours removed from signing Tevin Mack (ESPN #56), Coach Smart and the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams added 6-foot-7 small forward Jordan Murphy from San Antonio, Texas.
Murphy’s announcement was lost in the hype surrounding Mack, but he’s a talented, high-motor basketball player who takes academics seriously (Check out this D1 Nation profile).
Murphy is not rated by ESPN, but he’s ranked 112th on Rivals. He had offers from Baylor, Marquette, Maryland, Memphis, Minnesota, Oklahoma, SMU, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt, but the decision came down to UNLV and VCU.
Like Mack, he’s a long small forward with guard skills who can get to and play above the rim and shoot 3-pointers. And like most of VCU’s recent recruits, he’s an incredible athlete with a fierce wingspan.
In terms of physical tools, HAVOC! is changing. At the 2013 A-10 Tournament, Coach Smart said he prefers having eight guards, one swing-man (Bradford Burgess/Treveon Graham), and four bigs. In the past, those eight guards were usually true guards that maxed out at 6-foot-4.
Smart’s recent influx of small forwards with guard skills is going to change the cogs in the HAVOC! machine. Lightning quick point guards like JeQuan Lewis and Jonathan Williams will still lead the attack, but passes that were going over the heads of guys like Rob Brandenberg in the press will now be intercepted and shots rushed through the press will now be swatted by Justin Tillman and Mo Alie-Cox.
The starting lineup from the 2013 NCAA Tournament is representative of HAVOC! past: Darius Theus (6-foot-3), Rob Brandenberg (6-foot-2), Troy Daniels (6-foot-4), Treveon Graham (6-foot-5), and Juvonte Reddic (6-foot-9).
Compare that to this lineup which may not be an uncommon sight next season: JeQuan Lewis (6-foot-1), Tevin Mack (6-foot-7), Terry Larrier (6-foot-8), Michael Gilmore (6-foot-9), and Justin Tillman (6-foot-9).
HAVOC! has never been run by athletes like the commitments Coach Smart has picked up in the past two seasons. Welcome to VCU, Jordan Murphy and Tevin Mack. Ram fans are excited to see what you contribute–the rest of the A-10, not so much.