2012-2013 Overall Rank: #27
Conference Rank: #2 Atlantic 10
Virginia Commonwealth Team Page
The competition just got tougher…for VCU and the Atlantic 10. The Rams left the CAA and will join Butler as the newest members of the A-10. That turns an already underappreciated conference into one that will be right in the mix with the Big Six when it comes to the RPI. Despite all the scorers, it is point guard Darius Theus who is the extension of Coach Shaka Smart on the floor. Theus can score when he needs to, but it is his job to orchestrate the Rams offense and spearhead the havoc on the defensive end of the floor. Theus dished out 4.7 assists last year and tallied 2.0 steals per game. His senior year should be even better. Briante Weber is another pesky defender who creates plenty of fast break opportunities for the Rams. Weber is also the backup point guard, but do not be surprised to see Theus and Weber on the floor at the same time more in 2012-2013.
2011-12 Record: 29-7, 15-3
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Shaka Smart
Coach Record: 84-28 at VCU, 84-28 overall
VCU does lose its leading scorer in Bradford Burgess. The 6-5 wing knocked down 2.3 three-pointers per game and also used his size to effectively attack the basket. He was even the second leading rebounder on the team during his senior season. Burgess will be missed and has led the Rams through some amazing times during his collegiate career. Yet, thanks to players like Burgess, VCU has more than enough talent coming in to keep the team a consistent NCAA Tournament representative. Heath Houston and Reco McCarter have left the program after seeing limited action as freshmen.
Who better to help replace Bradford Burgess than little brother Jordan Burgess? The younger Burgess joins fellow incoming freshman Melvin Johnson as two of the best recruits to ever head to VCU. A trip to the Final Four will do that. Like his brother, Jordan Burgess is a 6-5 wing who will play physical basketball. He knows how to compete at this level and Burgess will make an impact if his shot is falling. Johnson was a late pickup for the Rams after decommitting from the Miami Hurricanes. Johnson is more of a true shooting guard than Burgess and will help replace the lost three-point shooting. Forwards Mo Alie-Cox and Justin Tuoyo both have the talent to crack the regular rotation as freshmen and Coach Smart will need at least one of them to step up.
Who to Watch:
VCU does need to replace the elder Burgess on the wing and Coach Smart has plenty of experienced options to go along with his new young talent. Troy Daniels was the most prolific and consistent three-point shooter on the team last season. With Theus driving and dishing, Daniels will get a ton of open looks again this year. Daniels has size and strength, but he will mostly stay outside and shoot the long ball. However, that length does come in handy on defense and the glass. Rob Brandenberg had a bit of a sophomore slump last season. He did finish very strong and averaged 9.0 points per game on the year, yet his starting job may be in jeopardy if he does not pick up where he left off. Trevor Graham is a physical wing in the mold of Bradford Burgess. He did not start a game as a freshman, but was extremely productive off of the bench, averaging 7.0 points and 3.2 rebounds. VCU would be a little light on the glass if they start Daniels and Brandenberg. Graham would help alleviate that concern. Yet, this is VCU and they are certainly not opposed to running out a small lineup and rely on steals more than rebounding.
The frontcourt may be too talented for the Rams to play small too often. And this is the A-10 now too. It will not be as easy to get away with playing a small lineup anymore. But that is not a problem with Juvonte Reddic and D.J. Haley. Reddic is the interior scoring threat. He has a nice touch in the paint and is a very tough rebounder. It is also Reddic who can consistently block shots. Haley, a seven-footer, is a bit more of a project. He did start 33 games as a sophomore last season, but only averaged a tad over 15 minutes per game. Haley’s size and presence in the paint will be much more important this year in the A-10. VCU will not need him to score, but they will need him to emerge as a better rebounder and a more consistent defender. Depth in the frontcourt will be more important now too and that is why Alie-Cox and Tuoyo need to be ready to go. Jarred Guest, a 6-8 sophomore, will be in the mix for playing time off of the bench as well. VCU will not have to play big all of the time, but there will certainly be moments where they have little choice. If rebounding and defending the paint become a big problem, the Rams could be in for a disappointing debut season in their new conference.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Darius Theus, Senior, Guard, 8.5 points per game
Troy Daniels, Senior, Guard, 10.0 points per game
Treveon Graham, Sophomore, Guard, 7.0 points per game
Juvonte Reddic, Junior, Forward, 10.3 points per game
D.J. Haley, Junior, Center, 3.2 points per game
Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#127 Jordan Burgess