Perhaps not surprisingly, there have been some changes this offseason with the swap of Mike Rhoades for Will Wade as head coach of the Rams. Let’s take a quick peek at the dominoes that fell via that and where we stand as of now.
TWO SIGNED, TWO GONE
Re-committed: Sean Mobley (ESPN 4-star), Marcus Santos-Silva (ESPN 3-star)
De-committed: Lavar Batts (ESPN No.96), Mayan Kiir (ESPN No.95)
Clearly losing two ESPN top-100 players is a hit to a recruiting class, at least one paper. Point guard Lavar Batts asked out of his LOI and opted to stay home in North Carolina, joining Kevin Keats (who had recruited Batts while at UNCW) at NC State. Mayan Kiir asked out as well and has yet to sign with another school.
Still, VCU’s 2017 class is still off to a very strong start with Sean Mobley and Marcus Santos-Silva. Mobley is coming off a high school national championship appearance with Montverde. While the Florida native may not have cracked ESPN top-100, he could quite possibly be the biggest piece to keep for VCU. A 6’9 big with guard skills, Mobley can do it all and fits in perfectly with what Mike Rhoades will likely look to do at VCU (shoot tons of threes).
Then there’s Santos-Silva. A 6’7 265-lb bruiser, Santos-Silva is more substance than style. While he’s perhaps not as flashy as many in the ESPN 100, in many cases he’s more productive. Santos-Silva averaged a 15.8-point, 11.8-rebound double-double in last year’s Nike Peach Jam showcasing many of the most talented high school players in basketball. He’s a rebounding machine and comes to VCU as a large human being than Mo Alie-Cox as an exiting senior.
HAMDY OPTS TO LOOK AROUND
After being granted a fifth year of eligibility it has been reported that senior big Ahmed Hamdy (5.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg) was granted his release from VCU. The 6’9 Egyptian will explore his options but also may stay with the Rams. Hamdy was one of VCU’s most active bigs offensively this season but finished just 47.7% of his attempts.
The bad news is it turned out VCU wasn’t the dream situation for those three aforementioned people. C’est la vie. The good news is VCU returns a ton of talent, is adding two very talented freshmen and also now has four scholarships to hand out. Two of those scholarships were to go to Batts and Kiir, one for Hamdy and the other was a leftover Will Wade was saving for a potential grad transfer. Four spots open on a very good team/program should be a fun offseason activity to keep track of.
VCU will likely use at least one more of those spots on another freshman, but don’t be surprised if the Rams fill more than one with a transfer, including one or more immediate impact grad transfers. Two key names to watch are Duquesne decommit Jamarie Wheeler and Rice transfer Marcus Evans (19 ppg). Those are two players I won’t be the least bit surprised to see end up in the black and gold.
A total of 633 players transferred from their DI basketball team last offseason. VCU may have lost two 2017 recruits and may potentially lose Hamdy as well, but the list of options to fill their positions will grow by the day. Stay tuned.