VCU men’s basketball welcomes 14th ranked recruiting class

RICHMOND, Va. — VCU is expecting big things out of its 2014 recruiting class, ranked 14th in the nation by ESPN, as the rams look forward to the 2014-2015 NCAA basketball season.  The rams signed three four-star recruit prospects, all ranked in the nation’s top 100 NCAA basketball recruits of 2014.  VCU also added a fourth three-star recruit prospect to join VCU’s havoc; coach Shaka Smart’s high velocity defense headed by senior guard and national steal leader Briante Weber. Atop the list of VCU signees is 6-foot-7 small forward Terry Larrier, ranked 43rd among 2014 recruits.  Expected to be the successor of VCU’s starting small forward and points leader Treveon Graham, Larrier should see some solid minutes off the bench this upcoming season, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Larrier subbing in at shooting guard for the rams as well.  Larrier’s athletic ability, ball skills, 20.8 point per game and 6.6 rebound per game average during his senior year at Phelps High School in Penn. make him an instant offensive threat for the rams who finished the 2013-2014 season 64th in points per game (75.4) and extremely poor 284th in field goal percentage (.420).

Coach Shaka Smart coaches up freshman point guard Doug Brooks

Coach Shaka Smart coaches up freshman point guard Doug Brooks.  Photo Credit:  Matt Shelton-Eide

With the graduation of power forward Juvonte Reddic, the rams signed two top 100 recruits at power forward to fill the void.  6-foot-9, 210 pound Mike Gilmore takes the second spot in VCU’s recruiting class ranking 77th among NCAA basketball recruits of 2014.  Gilmore adds to the rams front court which features five players towering 6-foot-8 or taller.  VCU ranked 42nd in rebounds during the 2013-14 campaign, and with Gilmore’s versatility in both offensive and defensive rebounding, you can expect that the rams will be a more physical rebounding team this season.  6-foot-8 freshman Justin Tillman is the second recruit joining the ram’s front court this season.  The Michigan native just slipped in the top 100 prospects ranking 97th.  Tillman brings a strong defensive presence with 22 blocks as well as 35 rebounds in 8 games last season with his former team Detroit Pershing.

VCU’s fourth prospect, Jonathan Williams ranked 30th among point guards in the 2014 recruiting class and looks to add the same type of offensive and defensive presence as Weber, with 24 steals and 55 assists in his senior season at Saint Benedict’s Prep.  At 5-foot-11, Williams lacks the size of your average NCAA point guard but like Weber, also seen as undersized, Williams will have to prove himself as a big force off the bench for the rams.  Without question this is one of ram’s strongest draft classes in recent history.  Larrier, Gilmore, Tillman, and Williams should all see plenty of playing time and take on early responsibilities with the Rams who generally sub players a lot due to the speed and intensity of the havoc defense.  You can expect the rams to welcome this recruiting class with open arms as they prepare for another run at making the NCAA tournament for the fifth straight year under Coach Shaka Smart.