Tillman’s game is perfect for HAVOC!: he’s lightning quick for his size, he’s a solid rebounder, and he’s got a high motor.
Pacing back and forth and regularly dropping into the defensive stance, Coach Smart always brings intensity to basketball games, but he also wreaks HAVOC! on the recruiting circuit. This past Friday, 6-foot-8, 200 pound, 2014 ESPN 4-star forward Justin Tillman tweeted his intention to join the VCU Rams.
The commitment is an important addition as Coach Smart and Co. try to mitigate the loss of senior forwards Juvonte Reddic and Terrance Shannon after the 2013-14 season.
Tillman’s game is perfect for HAVOC!. He’s lightning quick for his size, he boasts a 7-foot-2 wingspan, he’s solid rebounder, he has a face up game on offense, and he rarely gets beat down the court. Most importantly, he’s a high motor player. It’s already easy to imagine him effortlessly going back and forth between trapping players on full-court defense and scoring on the fast break.
Tillman will have to go to work next summer adding muscle to get game ready, but the Coach Roose success stories are plentiful. Since coming to campus, 6-foot-9 forward Juvonte Reddic has added almost 50 pounds of muscle while maintaining the athleticism that makes him such a nightmare on the court. Added strength will help Tillman improve his post defense and rebounding.
At the A-10 tournament in March, when asked about the tradeoffs between size and speed in recruiting philosophy, Coach Smart shared some interesting thoughts.
The way we play, it’s predicated on speed and quickness energy. Smaller guys tend to have more of that. As you mentioned, if we could find a 6-10 guy that has speed, quickness, energy, and can shoot threes, we’ll take him. If you’ve seen one, let me know…You need to make a decision when recruiting as to what’s most important to you.
Tillman isn’t 6-foot-10 (but his wingspan helps him play bigger), and he isn’t a great 3-point shooter, but he probably represents the smallest sacrifice of size for speed for VCU in the past few seasons.
VCU currently has 12 scholarship players and one walk on for the 2014-15 season. Coach Smart prefers eight guards, one combo guard/forward, and four forwards. VCU is currently short one guard for that season. Coach Smart typically oversigns the 13 scholarship limit by one which means VCU will probably pick up two more commitments in the coming months.