Recruiting update: 2016s heating up
VCU will host a number of potential recruits within the coming weeks as Will Wade and staff try to lure some of the nation’s top talent to Broad Street. Below is an update of some targets you may want to keep an eye on and a preview of what the future of Havoc may look like for the black and gold. This is not a complete list of offers but one of potential high-priority targets and reasonable options for the Rams’ 2016 class.
6’5 190 guard/forward – Seguin High School
Parrish hits campus this weekend on an official visit after flying in from his home state of Texas. The 6’5 guard/forward is a bull of a scorer with the size (D1 body already) and explosion to get to the basket and attack it with authority. Parrish hold offers from the likes of VCU, Arkansas, SMU and TCU where his brother currently plays.
6’5 180 small forward – Hargrave Military Academy
Wade and Co. are making a serious push for the highly-rated Jenkins who will take an official visit to the Commonwealth next weekend before taking scheduled trips to Tennessee and Clemson. Jenkins is a consensus top-65 recruit by the likes of ESPN, Scout and Rivals and has the size, stroke and vision to give VCU a dangerously versatile backcourt piece. A Jenkins signing would give VCU their highest rated recruit since recent transfer Terry Larrier and prove that Will Wade and his staff are just as capable of luring the hot commodities as the previous staff.
6’0 175 combo guard – Trenton Central High School
Powell is one of the elite shooters of the 2016 class (ELITE), making him a high-priority target for all the schools recruiting him including Will Wade and the VCU Rams. The ESPN No.76 recruit recently trimmed his final list to five teams, a list that includes VCU, Pitt, UConn, Seton Hall and DePaul. Powell has yet to set an official visit date but will reportedly take one to the capital city, which is never a bad thing for teams looking for a guy who puts the ball through the hoop with ease.
6’2 165 point guard – Ensworth High School
The offers have started flying in for the Tennessee native with VCU being among them and in solid position to potentially land this talented guard. The black and gold made Bone’s final six alongside Wichita State, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Iowa State and Central Florida and are supposedly in line for a September visit. Bone is a quick point guard with great pace and a knack for getting into the paint where he can finish with the silkiest of touches. Think Rob Brandenberg meets a bit of Briante Weber.
6’2 170 point guard – George Wythe High School
Who doesn’t love a local product? White has blown up this past summer playing with the River City Reign and holds offers from the likes of Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Providence, three teams he will use official visits with these next few weeks. White has no official visit scheduled with the Rams but has “unofficially” visited and may be doing more soon due to the campus’ proximity to his home in Richmond. White is extremely quick and knows how to put the ball in the hoop. The speedy guard would be another great option for the Rams and surely a fan favorite after playing his high school ball less than five miles from the Siegel Center.
5-11 170 point guard – Lima Senior High School
Simpson is another example of how the new coaching staff plans on maintaining the recruiting level reached by the previous staff. The 66th-ranked player in ESPN’s 2016 class holds offers from the likes of Indiana, Iowa State, Xavier, Illinois and Wisconsin (to name a few). Simpson is the definition of point guard and would be another great option for a Rams team that will have a loaded front court featuring Mo Alie-Cox (as a senior), Justin Tillman and Mike Gilmore (as juniors) and newcomers Ahmed Hamdy Mohamed (as a senior) and Jonathan Nwanko (freshman or sophomore, depending on NCAA eligibility ruling).
6’6 195 guard/forward – Abraham Lincoln High School
Diallo may be new to ESPN’s top-100 (a recent addition) but he’s held a VCU offer from basically the time Will Wade unpacked his bags on Broad Street. Diallo has a great combination of size and athleticism with the tools to make him a tough player to defend at either the 2 or from the wing for whichever team he ends up choosing. VCU has had a ton of success with versatile 6’6 guard/forwards (think Bradford Burgess, Treveon Graham) and with that would welcome Diallo to the Siegel Center with open arms.
6’1 160 point guard – Auburndale High School
An explosive point guard, Clergeot recently released his final five school, a list that includes the Rams as well as Will Wade’s former stomping guards, UT Chattanooga, also Stephen F Austin, Texas Tech and Bowling Green. Clergeot is one of the quicker points in the 2016 class and shows great body control when attacking the basket. Clergeot is a Rivals and Scout 3-star but is unrated by ESPN, making him a likely steal for whoever lands him.
VCU’s 2016 graduating seniors
Melvin Johnson (6’4 190 shooting guard)
Korey Billbury (6’4 210 shooting guard, transfer via Oral Roberts)
See above. VCU graduates arguably their best deep-ball shooter and scoring guard after this upcoming season when they say goodbye to Melvin Johnson (my prediction for VCU’s 2015-16 season’s leading scorer). The Rams will also graduate Oral Roberts transfer Korey Billbury after he finishes career this season on Broad Street after averaging at least 14.4 points these past two seasons with the Golden Eagles. VCU recently graduated the schools second all-time scorer in Treveon Graham, so finding backcourt players who can put the ball in the bucket at a high rate seems to be the move for the 2016 class and you can see just that in the offers Will Wade and Co. have floated up to this point.
2016-17 Returning Roster
G – JeQuan Lewis (senior)
F – Justin Tillman (junior, ESPN top-100)
F/C – Mike Gilmore (junior, ESPN top-100)
F/C – Mo Alie-Cox (redshirt senior)
G/F – Jordan Burgess (redshirt senior, ESPN top-100)
PG – Jonathan Williams (junior)
SG – Doug Brooks (junior)
F/C – Ahmed Hamdy Mohamed (senior)
G – Samir Daughty (sophomore)
F – Gerron Scissum (sophomore)
C – Jonathan Nwanko (sophomore)
PG – Torey Burston (walk-on redshirt-senior)
PG – Jordan Riullano (preferred walk-on sophomore)
Editor’s note: Don’t fall in love with ratings. As Ram fans we’ve seen our two highest draft picks ever, Eric Maynor (20th pick in 2009 NBA Draft) and Larry Sanders (15th pick in 2010 NBA Draft), come to VCU as two-star recruits. The same goes for VCU’s current NBA ballers, the Charlotte Hornet’s Troy Daniels who was a late add in Shaka Smart’s first class as well as Treveon Graham (recently signed with the Utah Jazz) who held next to no offers out of high school outside of VCU and Cleveland State. Also worth mentioning VCU’s Final 4 team had just one top-100 recruit on its roster. I’ve also spoken to a number of coaches (both at VCU and outside of VCU) in my time covering the Rams who have loved unrated recruits while flat out telling me certain top-100 were overrated. So enjoy the ride and try not to lose sleep over recruiting and you’ll have fun following it.