New VCU head coach Will Wade sat down with media members Wednesday to go over a number of topics including the expected attrition upon his hiring. We think the video is a must-watch for Ram fans. Some highlights for those of you who don’t have the patience or time to do so (shame on you).
WADE ON MICHAEL GILMORE
Tallahassee, Florida native Mike Gilmore found his way to Broad Street as the 77th ranked player in the 2014 class by ESPN but saw little playing time under Shaka Smart at VCU despite leading the team in field goal percentage and defensive rebounding percentage while on the court. Gilmore averaged just 6.3 minutes per game under Smart’s leadership but appears due for a major breakout season, one I thought was due last season had he been given the opportunity. New head coach Will Wade is apparently as big of a fan of Gilmore as yours truly.
“Michael Gilmore and I have become very close in a short period of time” Wade said. “I love that kid. He’s gonna have an unbelievable career here. He’s going to make a huge jump as a player. He’s going to make as big a jump as anybody in our program as a player. He’s got unreal talent.”
Smart commented last year that Gilmore could quite possibly be the most talented player from last year’s freshman class but employed smaller lineups so frequently that limited the minutes of the likes of Gilmore and Justin Tillman. I think it’s safe to expect a big change in that regard under the new leadership, which is great news for the talented rising sophomore bigs, Gilmore and Tillman who Wade predicts will both make big jumps this upcoming season.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE STAFF ACCORDING TO WADE
Wes Long – With Wade for two seasons at UT Chattanooga, head DII coach for five years previous to that. Interviewed for UTC head job but didn’t get it so came with Wade.
Rasheen Davis – Former Manhattan assistant. Big recruiter in New York and New Jersey area. “I knew the day I got the job, I mean, before I got the job, I knew that if I came that was the one guy I wanted.”
Jamill Jones – Former Florida Gulf Coast assistant. Was an assistant with Nike Team Takeover program out of DC previously. “Has very good ties in Washington DC and Philadelphia.”
Casey Long – Was an assistant at UTC but will be Director of Basketball Operations at VCU.
Alex Wharton – Was Wade’s Ops guy at UTC but will now be his video guy.
“I brought my crew from Chattanooga, not neccessarily in the same roles but I wanted to take care of everybody, make sure everyone was taken care of. They’re in a little bit different roles but they’re making better money (laughs), so they’re happy, they’re pleased.”
Wade said VCU’s “bread and butter” recruiting area is North Carolina to New York but will go outside of that. He mentioned it was important to him to have the Mid-Atlantic covered as far as recruiting by his staff and that’s exactly what he did with the staff he put together.
ON VCU’s 2015 RECRUITS ALL DECOMITTING
“I knew beforehand what the deal was,” Wade commented on all three of VCU’s 2015 recruits under Smart decommitting. “When they get released and they’re freshmen, you know, they’re not coming back.” One of the funnier moments in the press conference, I highly encourage you to watch the video at the 7-minute mark for Wade’s hilarious comparison of recruits decommitting to someone’s wife leaving them. Ultimately Wade said that they just knew the situation would happen and that they had planned accordingly.
ON VCU’s NEW RECRUITS
Korey Billbury (Oral Roberts transfer) – “My first or second week here I went to Tulsa and met with him and his family…I left there with my assistant and said ‘we gotta get this kid’. You could just tell he has that ‘it factor’ to him.”
Wade said he wants guys who want to be here and mentioned Billbury looks at VCU like people look at the best programs in the country. “He thinks we’re Kentucky. That’s how he feels about us. I like that. I think we’re Kentucky. I like that. I like that he feels that way about us. You can’t ever underestimate that. You can’t ever underestimate guys who will lay it on the line for you and really really really want to be here. And that’s important.”
Wade says the addition of Billbury gives VCU another proven scorer and that Wade would like to add another transfer who will give the Rams another proven scorer at another position. “I’m betting on him. I think he’s gonna be good, I think he’s going to help us.”
Gerron Scissum – Wade recruited Scissum while at Chattanooga but says Scissum was too good for UTC. Wade built a good relationship with him and Scissum would continue to call Wade and ask for advice through the year then later called Wade with new interest once he got the job at VCU.