Recruits Haven't Passed on Big Offers to be at VCU- til now


Elite Member
Apr 19, 2009
Why has that been the case in the past?

Exhibit A- Columns like this one from Mitch Vingle at the Charleston Gazette:

Congratulations to South Charleston High's Pierria' Henry, who committed to play basketball for Virginia Commonwealth on Monday.

It was somewhat surprising because at one time schools like WVU, Marshall, Akron, Xavier, Kentucky, Ohio State, Indiana and Wright State had been checking out the 6-foot-4 Black Eagle. Others, like Kansas, LSU, USC, Arkansas and Oregon State, had been in touch.

"I think he just felt most comfortable with [VCU]," said South Charleston coach Vic Herbert on Tuesday. "Plus, they were probably here more than anyone. It kind of surprised me too, though, because I thought he'd take more time to think about it."

All, including Herbert, a former WVU player, are happy for Henry. But there is a bit of disappointment.

See, Henry kept insisting through the recruiting process he wouldn't make a call until this summer.

"I'll have a cookout with family and friends," he said. "Then we'll talk about what's best for me, my mom, my friends and fans."

Guess those close to the player will have to find hot dogs and burgers elsewhere.

When everybody expects you to go to big name school if you're good, it's tough to disappoint family and friends if you're leaning towards playing for a successful mid-major. How good you are in high school is often equated with where you go to college. While Vingle's column is tough to digest as a Ram fan, it does capture the pulse of what it is to be a mid-major fighting for relevancy among power conferences in vying for a quality recruits' services. It makes what Shaka and company are doing all the more impressive as a coaching staff.

Sometimes you are able to find one player that might not care, but Shaka have found several. Reco McCarter, Juvonte Reddic, Darrell Haley, and Pierria' Henry all had offers from power conference programs and yet chose VCU. That is pretty remarkable in itself as if you look back, the only such high school recruit during the Grant era that fit that description (picking VCU over offers from power conference schools) was Ed Nixon. Think about that for a second. For all the ooh-ing and aah-ing we did over our recruits during that period, only Ed ever had offers from a big conference school (Georgia and VTech). Joey, Lance, Myk, Larry, Brandon, Bradford Burgess, and Terrance Saintil all had mid-major offers.

Shaka is stepping it up big time. While we had one high school recruit in the 3 years of the Grant era choose VCU over an offer from a BCS school, Shaka has already had 4 in his first year on the job. Pretty remarkable.
Even though as a fan I want to win championships and NCAA tourney games more than any thing else it looks like the back to back first round NBA draft picks could be paying off in addition to the hard work of the coaching staff. They might be a little underwhelmed right now, but I am sure that all of these guys coming in will impress the folks back home in due time.
That depends if you consider consider the A-10 a mid major conference. Joey had offers from UMASS and Rhody, Burgess from UR, and Larry GW. Brandon could have gone to St. John's, but picked VCU before they offered.
I think Eblen got an offer from Washington if I remember correctly?

Maybe Grant was overrated as a recruiter? ;)

Which brings up an interesting question, which skill is more important: being a great recruiter or being great at evaluating talent?
Ram it home said:
That depends if you consider consider the A-10 a mid major conference. Joey had offers from UMASS and Rhody, Burgess from UR, and Larry GW. Brandon could have gone to St. John's, but picked VCU before they offered.

Well I wouldn't consider the A-10 a major conference. I doubt anyone would except for A-10 fans. Brandon was never offered so it's a moot point.

Here are the facts, high school players with major conference offers (ie. Power Six) coming to VCU during the 3 years of the Grant era: 1 (Ed Nixon), during the 1 year of the Smart era: 5 (Darius Theus- I forgot he had an offer from Washington State, Reco, Juvonte, DJ, and Pierria').

Chill. Actually Eblen had several offers but I didn't count him since he never ended up coming here. He had offers from Clemson, Tech, Miami (Fl) and maybe a couple more.

Grant was a great recruiter in that he was able to evaluate talent. He found an NBA player in Larry Sanders which we don't know if Shaka will ever do at VCU yet. However none of his recruits were very highly-touted as Shaka's were (with the exception of Eblen, but he took him anyway). It's an interesting question...I think part of being a great recruiter is being able to evaluate talent, the two are not mutually exclusive. Shaka's recruits have not been given enough time to see if they pan out and live up to their higher rankings compared to Grant's recruits, who were less touted but more often than not proved they could really play.
Which brings up an interesting question, which skill is more important: being a great recruiter or being great at evaluating talent?

being a great recruiter. no doubt.

in today's college hoops scene, there are more than enough people out there who specialize in the evaluation of players. getting them to come to your school is the tough part.
Troy Daniels had offers from Cincinnatti and Gonzaga according to Rivals as well.
regardless, you make a great point DB. This is how basketball dynasties are started.

I think it is also important to note that we are snatching these guys up so quickly (i.e. Wilson & Henry) that they are not recieving the BCS offers they would have gotten if they were still on the market.

The fact that top notch recruits are committing to VCU as early as possible says a whole lot about our staff. I see us landing a 4-5 star recruit in a few years.
Of course its ideal to be both. You can be a great salesman and have the ability to talk highly rated recruits into coming to your program, but if you can't determine if a 5 star guy is vastly overrated and is really a two star guy in disguise, what good is it being a good recruiter.
Wright St and Akron were included in that list of teams that should of had an inside track or advantage? or were they included because they had offered?
I just think that the kids coming up realize that it's better to play early and play often then to ride the bench behind "mega stars" while never seeing the court to prove you can ball.

For example, imagine if Maynor played behind John Wall or Chris Paul as a freshman and those guys stayed think Maynor would be in the NBA now? heck no. He would of never had the chance to prove himself and show the world that he can ball with the best of them.

Imagine if Larry played behind Cole you think Larry would have blossomed as much as he has the last 3 years and be consider a first rounder. heck no.

In this day in age you can play anywhere and if you're good enough they will find you. The thing is you gotta PLAY.

Don't ride the bench at (insert Kentucky/UNC/UCLA type schools here) when you can play at a good "mid-major" and show the world what you can do.
IMO we are getting some of the great players available because our staff recognizes the talent very early on and then shows a set of ballzz and makes an offer. Not the case in Henry who already had major offers but very true for Kasey. Over the summer Kasey will probably get courted by BCS programs. But hey coach and staff saw the talent and went after him and now have a relationship with him. That means a lot to a 16/17 year old guy and his family.

What this does in the grand scheme of things is put pressure on not so good BSC programs who will start losing recruits to us. Also top programs may need offer sooner if they feel like they want a guy who will blow up over the summer and shows promise. In the case of Henry the likes of Kansas and others were watching but not offering. In the meantime coach and staff are out there spending quality time with the recruits and building an honest relationship.

It was written a million times last year when we hired Coach Smart that he was intelligent. I think we are seeing this now with the way he goes about recruiting. With a year under his belt who knows what he will accomplish on the sidelines. But I bet it will be great. VCU Basketball just keeps getting better!
I met Brandon Rozell when he was a freshman and I thanked him for becoming a VCU Ram - his response was quick and very direct - "All I ever wanted to do was play basketball for VCU Rams - its the only place I wanted to go."

I was as happy as a VCU Ram fan could have ever been...

I agree with the previous postings - you might get real playing time with a UNC, or a might...or you might get unsurped and ride the pine your whole career...For those players that have great talents its a tough choice...

I also think the atmosphere at the Siegal Center is driving some recruits to us as daughter went to a Maryland game last year and said it was not nearly as much fun as a VCU game...

Go Rams!

Not to be too simplistic but I wonder how enthusiasm plays a role. Shaka and his guys are genuinely excited about VCU and I assume that is obvious as they speak about the team and program. Every player who has come to visit, especially if they come to the SC for a game, mentions the atmosphere. I think the program just has a real good vibe going and that turns into momentum which can last beyond any one coach, player, or season’s record.