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Back College Sports News College Basketball VCU Builds for More Final Fours

VCU Builds for More Final Fours

Written by Chapin George
User Rating: / 18

Shaka Smart had a taste - he wants more. We all know that the 34-year-old head coach of Virginia Commonwealth University took his Rams to the Final Four this past year, dominating nationally ranked teams along the way. But to surprise the sports world furthermore would be to do it again. Names like, Austin Rivers, Anthony Davis, and James McAdoo are popular in relation to NCAA basketball recruiting for the upcoming 2011-2012 season. It's no surprise that schools like Kentucky, Duke, and North Carolina have snatched those players, and rightfully so - they're just plain talented. But will they help their respective teams in the long run? Not as long as the one year rule is still in effect.

Perhaps Coach Smart doesn't yet have the resume to recruit the big name prospects; or maybe he's smart enough not to pursue them. Maybe he wants to have more seniors like Jamie Skeen, the Rams' power forward who averaged 17.5 points a game in this year's NCAA tournament. He could want to recruit a point guard like Joey Rodriguez, another senior who matured in his career at VCU. J-Rod led the Colonial Athletic Association in assists this year; he also averaged just under 8 assists per game in the NCAA tournament.

So you may not recognize the names of next year's VCU freshman ball players, but you will probably have time to. Treveon Graham will be a freshman guard for the Rams next season. Out of St. Mary's Ryken High School, Graham is 6 foot 5 and weighs 200 lbs. He's not the son of any recognizable NBA talent, but he did average a double double in high school at 22 points and 12 rebounds a game. In four years at St. Mary's Ryken, Graham put up over a thousand points.

Briante Weber, another name that eludes ESPN accolades, will be wearing the black and gold next year - most likely for the next few years. Shaka Smart recruited Weber out of Great Bridge High School and Fork Union Military Academy, where Weber played his senior year. Smart needs somebody to assume the leadership role for which Joey Rodriguez was responsible - Briante Weber has the credentials to do so. In four years of high school basketball, Weber averaged 17 points per game as well as 5 assists - not done - he also recorded 8 rebounds and 4 steals a game. A two-time all Souteastern District Defensive Player of the Year, how come no "notes" are available under his name on the college-recruiting list?

If you know Coach Smart, you know he's not done recruiting either. VCU's incoming class of 2012 is also in the making. The current VCU starting small forward, Bradford Burgess, has a younger brother that will be joining the squad in two years.  Jordan Burgess is a 6'5, 200 pound small forward who will finish up his senior year at Benedictine High School in Richmond, Virginia.  In his recently completed junior year, Jordan averaged 13 points and 8 rebounds a game on his way to a state title. He will be accompanied by 6'6, 250 pound Mo-Alie Cox who's playing his high school ball at Middleburg Academy, a private school in northern Virginia.  Cox is said to have a 7 foot 1 inch wingspan. O yeah, he also averaged 16 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 blocks per game in his junior year, statistics that would be greatly appreciated by Coach Smart in a couple years.

As the final buzzer sounded in the Elite Eight victory over the Kansas Jayhawks, Shaka Smart pumped both fists in the air, a rather subtle celebration for a head coach on his way to his first Final Four.  His Rams showed that raw tenacity, hard work, and stifling defense can beat a squad of McDonald's All-Americans, beat them by a lot.  The VCU head coach will look to follow this same agenda in years to come; he's got the skill sets to do so.  Let's just try not to be surprised if Coach Smart's Rams are playing again late next March.


0 Tanya Huskey 2011-06-15 08:17 #4
Nate, What is your claim to fame?????? You know what they say opinions are like. Maybe YOU should proof read before posting. No need to be insulting.
-1 Nate 2011-06-14 15:19 #3
Well written? You must not be able to read! Try proof-reading before posting. It was well-composed, but not well written. There's a difference.
+2 Dan 2011-06-13 12:37 #2
Look into the England player who the rams have picked up for next year at PG - 6'4" Teddy Okereafor. He was originally supposed to be a 2012 recruit but reclassified as 2011. He may be the most impressive out of the bunch. He had serious looks from Georgetown, Clemson, & UVA among others.
+2 Tanya Huskey 2011-06-13 12:20 #1
Very well written and very insightful.

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