VCU’s Head Coach Shaka Smart has one of his best recruiting classes coming in next season. Although the Rams graduated two top players, they have many strong returners. With the mix of these two groups of players, Coach Smart should have some serious speed and intensity on his court.
Projecting the starting five in the lineup for the 2014-15 season is no easy task this early on. There does, although, appear to be a distinct five that will earn those spots, consisting of returning players and of newcomers. First things first, understanding what players fit best into Coach Smart’s style is important to keep in mind when trying to project who he will start. Coach Smart’s “Havoc” style, as it’s known, is full of speed and full court pressure. Smart uses full court pressing in order to exhaust his opponents while also throwing off the timing of their offense. Smart needs players who have proven defensive skills as well as the speed and athleticism to keep up with these exhausting plays.
The Rams lost forward Juvonte Reddic, and guard Rob Brandenberg this past season. With that in mind Smart will be looking to fill a forward position. He will also be looking to fill Brandenberg’s position. This will call for a very quick player, a player who has no trouble moving the ball quickly and with taking (and sinking) shots.
Here is the projected starting lineup:
- Briante Weber
- Treveon Graham
- Melvin Johnson
- Terry Larrier
- Jordan Burgess
Weber, Graham and Johnson go without much needed explanation as they started in almost all games last season. Jordan Burgess started in 19 games out of the 31 that he played in. Burgess was a redshirt freshman last year and fans could actually watch the amount of confidence he developed on the court throughout the season. Burgess not only gained time and a starting position, he also proved he fits right in with Smart’s plays. Burgess averaged about 5 PPG and killed it on defense. With 81 rebounds last season, 63 of them were on defense. He definitely has the speed and power Smart looks for when filing a guard position.
Finally we come to rising freshman Terry Larrier. Larrier is one of ESPN’s top 50 2014-15 recruits and he proves on the court why he has earned this ranking. Larrier is perfect for a starting position on Smart’s team because he has all the characteristics in a player that Smart needs. He doesn’t waste any time on the court with his speed and with the way he acts on plays. His shooting will greatly help VCU as he averaged 17 PPG in his last season. If Larrier is able to come in and train well with the team in order to perfect mixing his talents with his teammates, then he should be able to earn a starting spot. The Rams are stacked with talent and Larrier will have to come in ready to work hard while staying a great role model both on and off the court. From what he has shown in his career so far, this shouldn’t be a problem for Larrier at all.
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