A Wild Offseason for the VCU Rams
The VCU Rams have had another whirlwind of an offseason after losing a handful of players. This is nothing new to the program though, as the Rams have replaced all they lost in a matter of two months and are looking to continue their recent success.
What They Lost:
HC Will Wade:
Wade decided to leave the program to be the Head Coach at LSU
Freshman, Marquell Fraser
Fraser, who was known for his on-ball defense, decided to transfer.
Senior, Ahmed Hamdy-Mohamed
The efficient post player chose to transfer to TCU as a grad transfer.
Incoming Freshman, Lavar Batts
Batts, who was an explosive scoring guard and Top 100 recruit, asked for his release and changed his commitment to NC State.
Incoming Freshman, Mayan Kiir
Kiir, also a Top 100 recruit, asked for his release and decided to follow Coach Wade to LSU.
Sophomore, Samir Doughty
Doughty was a solid back up Point Guard for the Rams averaging 9 ppg last season. He’ll be transferring to Auburn.
2017 Graduating Class
This class included the likes of Jordan Burgess, Torey Burston, Mo Alie-Cox, Doug Brooks and JeQuan Lewis. If you’re a Ram fan you know how much this class not only accomplished, but meant to the basketball program.
What They Got:
HC Mike Rhoades
Coach Rhoades was former Head Coach Shaka Smart’s Head Assistant from 2009-2014. He then left to become the Head Coach of Rice where he took a 7-win program to a 23-win program in 3 seasons. Not to mention he was the D-III Player of the Year in his college days.
Grad Transfer, Khris Lane
Lane is a versatile Power Forward who completed his undergrad at Longwood University. He received 2nd Team All Big South honors this past season averaging 17 ppg and 7 rpg and shot a career 35% from the 3-point line.
Redshirt Junior, Marcus Evans
Evans is a Virginia native who is coming from Rice to VCU along with Coach Rhodes. He averaged 20 ppg in his two seasons at Rice and while he’ll have to sit out a year due to transfer rules, it looks as if he’ll make a huge impact the following two years.
JUCO Transfer, Mike’l Simms
Simms is not only a Virginia native, but a Richmond native as well, who I actually played against in high school. After averaging 14 ppg at Cowley College, Simms will transfer with 3 years left to play and will be immediately eligible.
Freshman, Tyler Maye
Maye is an incoming freshman from North Carolina who knows how to put the ball in the bucket to say the least. He averaged 25 ppg his junior year on his way to a state title and tournament MVP, as well as, 36 ppg last year and might remind you of former Ram, JeQuan Lewis.
Freshman, Lewis Djonkam
Djonkam is another Virginia native who decided to bring his talents to Richmond. He’s athletic and has a high motor, which projects great potential for the freshman not to mention he adds well needed size to the roster.
Freshman, Marcus Santos-Silva
Speaking of size, this guy doesn’t lack any. Standing at 6’7" 260 lbs. Santos-Silva will be an anchor in the paint over his career at VCU and was one of the two recruits in the original 2017 class that decided to keep his commitment. He’s known for his efficient rebounding and is also an underrated passer.
Freshman, Sean Mobley
Mobley is a Swiss Army Knife of a basketball player who also kept his commitment to the Rams after the coaching change. He is a true stretch 4 that also has the ball handling and passing ability to play the wing in a bigger lineup
After a coaching change, graduating senior class, current players transferring and incoming players changing their commitments, the Rams left with only 5 returning players from last year’s team. But just as the Rams have always done, they bounced back and show promise for this upcoming season. They even secured the first commitment for their 2018 class in 6’8" big man Corey Douglas. Believe it or not, I’m actually more confident in the current roster than what it would’ve been had all those players decided to stay at VCU. I think the Lane commitment was HUGE because it adds an experienced big to help Justin Tillman down low and bring the freshman bigs on slowly to allow them to develop. Add in the fact that Issac Vann is now eligible to play and Mike’l Simms is immediately eligible to play, the Rams now have 3 versatile, scoring wings that are all 6’5". This will help with getting is passing lanes and running in transition, which is exactly what Coach Rhodes wants his team to do. VCU still has one roster spot remaining but summer workouts have started so it looks like this will be the team for the 2017-18 season. All in all, I think the Rams will have another successful season en route to their 8th straight NCAA Tournament appearance.