The incoming 2012 class is VCU’s first since it broke onto the national scene in March of 2011. Next year’s Rams will be experienced, incredibly deep, and they will add two and a half versatile front court weapons. Meet the new Rams.
Last month VCU announced that, beginning this year, it would compete in the Atlantic 10 Conference in all sports. The move is another bold step in the right direction for the Rams as they continue to capitalize on the momentum from their 2011 Final Four run. The quick nature of the move is ambitious, and it proves that VCU isn’t complacently waiting for greatness.
Despite losing Norwood Teague to the Universtiy of Minnesota, President Rao, the athletic director’s office, and Coach Shaka Smart have all remained aggressive. Coach Smart’s recruiting perfectly reflects this aggressiveness.
The incoming 2012 class is VCU’s first since it broke onto the national scene in March of 2011. Even with the departures of Bradford Burgess and Reco McCarter, the Rams will return after a successful 2011-2012 season despite having the 9th youngest roster in the nation. Next year’s Rams will be experienced, incredibly deep, and they will add two and a half versatile front court weapons.
Jordan Burgess, from Benedictine High School right here in Richmond, will be an immediate contributor. An ESPN top-100 prospect, he has the potential to help the Rams remedy last year’s scoring woes.
Mo Alie-Cox from Lorton, VA is a bruising 6-foot-5, 240lb. power forward that is quick enough and long enough to thrive in Smart’s system.
Justin Tuoyo is a 6-foot-9 center from Lovejoy High School in Georgia. He will add much needed depth behind Juvonte Reddic and DJ Haley.
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With the 2012 class finalized, Smart and his assistants will now focus all of their energy on the 2013 and 2014 recruiting classes. VCU is undoubtedly on the national playing field, and Smart’s scholarship offers clearly reflect it. He’s extended 11 scholarship offers for the 2013 class, and surprisingly none of the players are from Virginia. While Coach Smart has always brought in players from around the country–players like Rob Brandenberg (Ohio), DJ Haley (California), and Teddy Okereafor (England/VA)–it’s still a huge change from the regional recruiting that dominated VCU’s past.
Consider this: of VCU’s top-10 career scorers, six are from Richmond and two are from elsewhere in Virginia. Eric Maynor from North Carolina and Nick George from England are the outliers, but George played high school basketball at Montrose Christian in Maryland.
Despite the move Smart says, “Our recruiting pitch was and will continue to be VCU centered” as opposed to Clemson where “the number 1,2 and 3 things [he] sold were the ACC.”
Recently Coach Shaka Smart commented, “We’ve demonstrated that we can go outside [the conference footprint] to go recruit guys.” Only time will tell how much the conference move will help VCU in recruiting, but Smart is definitely going after some very high caliber players.