Saturday, June 26, 2010

2010 Auburn-decommit Heath Houston Commits to VCU!

With the news of Kasey Wilson's decommitment 2 weeks ago, the VCU staff got to working hard to replace him. The hard work paid off. With just a 2 week turnaround VCU got great news yesterday when 6'8, 240 pound PF Heath Houston gave his commitment to Shaka Smart and the VCU coaching staff. Houston was a part of Auburn's #6 rated national class for 2010 (#2 in the SEC behind Kentucky) and signed with Jeff Lebo in the fall over offers from Cincinnati, Winthrop, and Tulane. With Jeff Lebo's firing this spring, Houston decommitted after Tony Barbee took the reins at Auburn. He was named 2nd team All-State in Georgia at the 4A classification. Interestingly enough we are trading a Georgia player (Issiah Grayson) for another one hailing from the same state. Houston ultimately chose the Rams over ECU where Jeff Lebo (the coach he signed with at Auburn) was really after him to become a Pirate. Clemson out of the ACC and fellow CAA-member Drexel were battling for Houston's services as well. Houston is a 2010 commit who will join Juvonte Reddic, Reco McCarter, Toby Veal, Rob Brandenberg, and DJ Haley. The Fab Five have now become the Super Six.

Houston has a college-ready body at 6'8, 240 pounds and is a face-up 4 who is pretty skilled and has a nice jumper out to 20 feet. He's yet another lefty who will be a great on-the-ball defender in the press for the Rams. He is not highly-rated by recruiting services (83 ESPN grade, Scout 2 star, unranked by Rivals), but his offers do speak for themselves. He has a high-major body and has shown flashes of high-major ability during his high school career. While he may not be an impact player in the SEC, he is more than good enough at the CAA level. He will be a steady 4-year player for the Rams who won't be flashy, but will get the job done. He is also a fairly good athlete (though not as explosive as Toby Veal) who will give us even more frontcourt depth with Jamie Skeen, Toby Veal, Juvonte Reddic, and DJ Haley.

VCU's Coaching Staff is recruiting at a very high level with well-regarded players and building for a bright future. Just when we thought the 2010 class couldn't get any better, we get a SEC decommit to cap off the class! Awesome stuff from Shaka and crew! Ladies and Gentlemen, I officially present the full VCU 2010 recruiting class: Reco McCarter, Juvonte Reddic, Toby Veal, Rob Brandenberg, DJ Haley, and Heath Houston! GO RAMS!

Friday, June 18, 2010

WCHS 8 does a feature on Pierria' Henry

Local Charleston ABC-affiliate WCHS did a video feature on Pierria' Henry outlining his recruitment and his late-season injury that almost cost him his life. They mention that if he had waited 1 more hour to get to the hospital, he likely would have died. He has 45 staples on the outside of his thigh and 50 stitches on the inside, the result of the 5 surgeries on his leg to treat the clot in his thigh. Henry talks about how the injury gave him a new appreciation for life as well as those close to him.

The feature said Henry received 11 scholarship offers, including in-state schools Marshall and West Virginia. He explains his reasoning for committing to VCU and cited the coaching staff's support and concern throughout his ordeal as being what sealed the deal for him. Vic Herbert (Pierria's basketball coach) said that Pierria' will undoubtedly learn and mature from this experience. There are highlights of him on the basketball court as well as the football field (the reporter also noted that Pierria' would not be able to play football this season as he recovers). It's a great feature and a must-see if you are a Ram fan!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Jordan Laguerre visiting VCU

According to VCU target Jordan Laguerre's twitter, he will be visiting VCU the next couple of days:

Let's see what you got vcu! Gonna have a good few days in VA.. I can already tell

Laguerre is a 6'2 scoring guard who is rated the #9 player in all of New England by the New England Recruiting Report. He was originally a 2010 recruit but has since reclassified to 2011. He is rated an 89 by ESPN (was a 90 earlier this summer), a 2-star recruit , and unrated on Rivals.

In other news, Larry Sanders worked out for the Milwaukee Bucks today, here is the video recap with comments from Bucks Director of Scouting Billy McKinney and Larry Sanders:

Friday, June 11, 2010

ESPNU announces Kasey Wilson decommitting from VCU

Senior-to-be power forward Kasey Wilson has decided to open up his recruitment and is no longer committed to Virginia Commonweatlh, his AAU coach Conrad Foss has confirmed to

Wilson originally chose the Rams in February over Ohio and also had interest from Georgia, Auburn, Syracuse, Oklahoma State and others.

Shooting guard Pierria Henry is the lone 2011 recruit for VCU.

We regret to see this happen, but wish luck to Kasey in his future endeavors. VCU will not be re-recruiting him. names VCU #5 non-BCS recruiting class in the nation! did their Top 25 mid-major/non-BCS recruiting classes for 2010 and VCU's 5 man class made the list at #5 in the nation. The teams in front of VCU were Memphis (top 3 national class), Central Michigan, Detroit (both with top 50 recruits pledging to play for their fathers), and St. Joes. VCU's class was ranked ahead of schools such as Xavier, Dayton, Butler, St. Louis, Western Kentucky, and Florida International (who has been recruiting well under Isiah Thomas). They are the sole CAA team represented in the top 25.

Shaka Smart and the VCU staff are continuing to gain accolades for the 2010 class, let's hope they perform well on the court as well!

Kasey Wilson named to All-Tournament team at the Bob Gibbons TOC

A little while ago the Report covered Kasey's performance at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions in North Carolina. Here's a little bit of additional information. Kasey Wilson was named to the 17U All-Tournament team along with teammate Michael Frazier. This placed him in the top 42 players in an event having 64 teams from all over the United States. He was also one of the top scoring leaders at the tournament at the 17U level and tied for 14th overall averaging 20.3 ppg for the tournament. Great job Kasey!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

More on Freddie Jackson...

Brian Mull, who runs a blog covering all things UNC Wilmington, wrote up an entry on local prep stars that the Seahawks are recruiting. Freddie Jackson is among those targets and has been tendered an offer from Buzz Peterson and staff. Here's what Mull had to say about Jackson:

Perhaps the most polished player of the three is New Hanover point guard Freddie Jackson, who toured the UNCW campus last month and received a scholarship offer from Peterson, according to his high school coach, Kirk Angel.

Freddie Jackson is a penetrator and passer, and perhaps a VCU lean

Peterson told Jackson – a true distributing point guard who flourishes in the up-tempo, opencourt style – that he could be the cornerstone of a critical 2011 UNCW recruiting class that has six openings.

If the Seahawks don’t land Jackson, they may have to play against him.

He’s being heavily courted by VCU. He and Angel took an unofficial visit to the VCU campus recently, where Jackson toured the facilities, played pickup games against the current Rams and met former point guard Eric Maynor, who recently completed his rookie year with the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder. New Hanover will return to Richmond later this summer for VCU’s team camp.

From the entry, it looks like UNCW has now joined VCU in having an offer to Jackson on the table in addition to interest from Charlotte and East Carolina. VCU certainly has the most to offer in the way of basketball success of the 4 programs. Meeting with a fellow North Carolina point guard in Eric Maynor who went from VCU on to the NBA isn't bad for recruiting either. It will ultimately come down to how comfortable Jackson is with going away from home. All other indicators would point to VCU as the best situation for him.

Larry Sanders NBA Draft Mania Continued...

There is a lot of press on Larry Sanders (and subsequent exposure for VCU) as he is right in the middle of workouts for NBA teams. Here's's Video Profile on Larry Sanders for the NBA Draft:

Larry has been all over the continent doing workouts for various NBA teams (Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, and New Jersey Nets among others) and most recently worked out for the Jazz yesterday. He made the homepage along with Georgia Tech's Gani Lawal and Kentucky's Patrick Patterson.

After the workout the Salt Lake City media conducted a video interview with Larry that was posted on

While Larry has been slated anywhere from 13 to 28 in the first round, his workout in Toronto on June 3rd seems to have boosted his stock. RaptorsHQ called him the standout of the day:

On the other hand,the stand-out player to me yesterday was Larry Sanders. Many don't know about this kid but like Hickson a few years back, I wouldn't be surprised to see him creep up draft boards and have an immediate impact in the league. He's even longer than I remembered, was all over the court in drills, rebounding the ball, dunking put-backs, and is starting to show a solid face-up game as well, something we touch on in my interview with him below. He's raw, but I'd argue more polished than Udoh or Orton, and has more upside actually than Aldrich. He's also one of the funniest and most personable prospects I've ever spoken to over the years, and you can see that in the following interview:

Click on the link to read a pretty lengthy and informative interview that Larry did with RaptorsHQ. He is scheduled to do approximately 13 NBA workouts total leading up to June 24th including one's on the 16th with the Memphis Grizzlies and the 22nd with the Atlanta Hawks.

The Toronto media also did a 4:40 minute video interview with Sanders after the workout in which he carried himself well and seems to have made a good impression on the Raptors staff:

Following the workout the Detroit Free Press wrote up an article on Sanders improving his draft stock and the possibility of the Pistons trading down to get him:

But while the focus is on sure-fire lottery picks Derrick Favors, DeMarcus Cousins, Ed Davis, Ekpe Udoh and Cole Aldrich, Dumars said on the night of the draft lottery that the Pistons would have to be mindful of fast-rising prospects -- for the pick and for the possibility of trading down.

One such prospect could be VCU's Larry Sanders.

In a workout with the Raptors last week while matched against Udoh, Aldrich and Daniel Orton, Sanders did far more than hold his own.

Projected to be a power forward, his length should enable him to guard all three frontcourt positions.

With all the buzz and media, VCU is getting a lot of great exposure to a large market of viewers that may not even follow college basketball all that much. It's nice to see Larry doing well and this is not being lost on the recruiting targets the Rams are pursuing. Hopefully Larry and Eric are the first of several VCU players to go to the NBA in the coming seasons ahead.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Kasey Wilson and Florida Elite win the USSSA Florida 17U Tournament Championship...

Kasey particpated as a member of Florida Elite's 17U squad this past weekend at Cocoa Beach for the 17U Florida USSSA tournament. While Florida Elite had already won the AAU state championship earlier this year, the USSSA tournament is another prestigious tournament that has slipped in significance over the years. The level of competition in this tournament was not as competitive as earlier ones and Florida Elite breezed their way to the Championship winning their first game by a 78-64 score and then beating the Brevard Bulls in the final by 30 points, winning 82-52. 2012 guard Michael Frazier was the tournament MVP for Florida Elite. Elite 17U are the 2010 USSSA State Champions! Congratulations to Kasey and Florida Elite!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Kasey Wilson continues to impress on the AAU circuit...this time at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions

Bob Gibbons' Tournament of Champions in North Carolina is one of the premier AAU tournaments of the year drawing AAU teams from all over the United States and Canada. The 17U tournament featured 64 of the top AAU teams around with 16 pool-winners advancing to the 17U national playoffs, while the second-place pool finishers advanced to the 17U select playoffs. Kasey Wilson and his Florida Elite 17U team played in Pool I and were seeded 2nd in their pool which included the #1 New England Playaz, #3 NC Gaters Blue, and #4 Team Power, GA.

Florida Elite's first game was against the #3 seeded NC Gaters Blue the Ravenscroft School's main gym on May 28th at 8:30 in the evening. Florida Elite jumped out to a 46-28 halftime lead and didn't let the lead slip away beating the Gaters by a score of 78-63.

Florida Elite's 2nd game would take place the next day (May 29th) at 11 a.m. against 4th-seeded Team Power hailing from Georgia at Duke University's Card Gym. Florida Elite once again came out on top beating Team Power by a 64-55 score.

Kasey Wilson would show up in the big games and it all started later at 6 p.m. on the 29th against the #1 seed in Pool I, the New England Playaz. The game was played at UNC's Carmichael Gym just down Tobacco Road from Duke. Kasey Wilson and Florida Elite looked to make a statement and turned it up. Kasey Wilson had 15 first-half points as Florida Elite took a 35-24 advantage going into the half. Elite cruised in the second half to a 65-39 victory over the #1 seed in their pool and Kasey finished with 22 points.

With the victory Kasey and Florida Elite advanced to the 17U National Playoffs as one of the 16 pool winners. They would face off against the winner of Pool H (Belmont Shore out of California who was the #1 seed in that pool) back up Tobacco Road at Duke University's Wilson Recreation Center at 10 p.m. that same night. The winner would advance to the final championship day of tournament play at UNC's Dean Smith Center the following day. Belmont Shore proved formidable and were a very tough team matchup for Florida Elite but Kasey put on a show scoring 25 points in a close 5-point loss.

All in all it was a strong showing for Florida Elite and Kasey Wilson continued his strong AAU play. Kasey continues to improve and looks to be a valuable contributor and a key part of VCU's 2011 class. With Pierria' Henry already committed and 2 other guards to join the Rams in the coming weeks, Wilson will be the sole forward in the 2011 class, joining 2010 forwards Juvonte Reddic, Darrell Haley, and Reco McCarter as the future of the VCU frontcourt. Let's hope he continues to play well and bring that momentum into VCU in 2011!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

ESPN lists VCU among the nation's top non-BCS classes!

Michael LaPlante at ESPN wrote up an article on the top non-BCS classes in the country today and VCU made the list and was the sole CAA representative. George Mason also received an honorable mention with two solid recruits of their own (credit to vcu_dan on the VCURamNation boards for the find). LaPlante gave VCU a "B" for the recruiting class overall placing it in the 5-10 range (since schools outside the top 25 with the same grade were placed alphabetically). Here's what he had to say about VCU's five man class:

In recent years, VCU has had an outstanding run with three different coaches and coach Shaka Smart has kept the talent level flowing with the addition of another strong recruiting class. Juvonte Reddic (Winson-Salem, N.C./Quality Education Academy) could be a major steal as he develops in the low post, while Reco McCarter (Goldsboro, N.C./Wayne Country Day) gives Smart a smooth, versatile scoring wing that should help continue the successful trend at VCU.

The Rams continue to gain accolades as the CAA's best recruiting class for 2010 and recruiting analysts seem to agree that Juvonte Reddic and Reco McCarter are the headliners of the class, reflecting the opinion of Ram fans in the Recruiting Report poll. With 2011 already having gotten off to a good start with Kasey Wilson (ESPN 91, Rivals 3 star) and Pierria' Henry (ESPN 90, Rivals 3-star) having committed already for 2011, the Rams look to continue their great recruiting under Shaka Smart for years to come.