Shaka Smart and VCU
Shaka and his staff have landed Top 50 recruit Terry Larrier who is a 6'7/6'8 that blew up this past summer. He was noted as one of the best prospect at Lebron James Skills academy by this site as well as other outlets. He is their highest rated recruit since Kendrick Warren. The kid fits that Havoc defense perfectly. What does this say about VCU being able to land such a highly touted player? And do you think Shaka can land more in the future?
Shaka Smart will land more big time recruits because he is a great coach, also he gets the most out of his players!
VCU has come a long way and Smart is responsible for the turn around. The only thing I worry about with them being able to continue this rise is him leaving for a higher profile job, a la Brad Stevens. However, by all accounts he is very happy in Richmond and his wife is an attorney there. He is building something very special and if NCSU and UCLA weren't able to lure him away, it may take an NBA job to get him to leave. The Rams recently made the jump from the CAA to the A-10, which offers better competition. I wouldn't be surprised if they are able to move again if they can continue this surge.
Specifically about Larrier, he is going to be outstanding in this system. Defensively, he will be able to play the 2-4. He is long, strong and athletic and he should be able to generate plenty of steals and blocks.
If VCU starts getting the upper echelon talent, look out. Shaka has been doing it largely with guys that have been passed over by college basketball powerhouses. But because the DMV is so full of talent (especially at the guard positions), he has been able to bring in overlooked guys that can excel in his havoc system. Put that together with the fact that Juvonte Reddic is currently projected as a first rounder in the 2014 draft, and Treveon Graham is slated as a second rounder in 2015, and this should help Shaka increase awareness nationally for the VCU brand. There is no question that he is seen as a players coach, who employs a fast paced style of play and a high pressure defense that players want to play in.
If Brad Stevens works out in Boston, Shaka will be NBA bound and making a ton of $ in the next year or two.
Seeing someone post something about Shaka Smart and VCU on this site makes me happy. I am a VCU alum and love what Shaka has done to VCU basketball and the city of Richmond. I wasn't sure about Shaka being able to get high profile recruits because of the HAVOC style of play. I wouldn't think that many high profile players would want to play an all out pressing style for 40 minutes. the amount of running and conditioning that VCU must employ to get their players to be in top physical condition must be insane. Shaka has surprised me by getting four-star recruit Melvin Johnson last year and now Terry Larrier. Shaka is by all accounts a players coach and a great teacher and motivator. I'm worried that the NBA will be calling soon with lots of money and pry him away from my beloved Rams.
I wouldn't be worried about the NBA coming for Shaka. That full court pressing style wouldn't fly in the NBA. It never has. Its more likely that another big name school tries to steal him but he seems determined to build something special there. He's already turned down a number of more lucrative deals at other schools to stay at VCU.
Larrier's a great get. Toolsy, with a ton of potential, who could step right in and play their style. Needs to put on a lot of weight though. IDK if this is a sign of things to come. Usually with success comes attraction. "Havoc" looks like a fun style to play for kids, but it also looks physically challenging, they stepped up, but still don't play in a very attractive conference and I'm unsure how much playing like that prepares them for the next level.
I love Shaka and I don't know anyone who doesn't appreciate his intensity, style and overall awesome coaching.
2 years ago in their loss to Indiana by 2 points in the NCAA Tourney that came down to the wire, after they missed the game-winner the camera showed Shaka with a huge smile on his face and as he walked towards Tom Crean, I read his lips, he said: "Hey! Great game!!" You could tell he truly appreciated the insensity of the battle at its inner core regardless of the result
If he can land a couple more players in the NBA lottery he will get more recruits.