Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 9/16/13
An “off-season” never really means “off” and from what we’ve seen thus far, this summer has been very successful for the VCU Rams. In these past few weeks the team scored their fifth all-star recruit, Justin Tillman. Tillman is a strong player standing at 6’8” but what tends to be his strongest characteristic is his wingspan which is said to be about 7’2”. That kind of length and power enables Tillman in being the successful rebounder that he repeatedly is. Those who follow the Rams know they haven’t always had the most consistent rebounds so Tillman will make a great addition. Tillman is also particularly powerful under the hoop with his quick hands and he caught Shaka’s interest because he uses the fast-paced style that Shaka stands by. VCU won Tillman over his other offers which included Iowa, Iowa State, Xavier, Kent State, Bowling Green, Rhode Island and Oakland. We can’t forget about the other four extremely talented players that have committed to the Rams for their 2013-2014 season. Point Guard, Jequan Lewis, committed to VCU over his other finalist UGA. With his 24.9 average points per game, he looks to be a strong ball handling addition to the team. Although Lewis lacks sheer size (6’1”) his power and speed make him hard to keep up with. Joey Rodriguez, the Ram’s Point Guard when they made it to the Final Four in 2011, had many of the same characteristics as Lewis so based off of the success Rodriguez had under  Shaka’s coaching, Lewis looks to have a bright future with the program as well. Jairus Lyles and Douglas Brooks are the two newest Shooting Guards for VCU. If the trend hasn’t been apparent yet, both players have speed, speed, speed! Finishing well at the rim, Lyles plays best inside and has proved to be a quick Shooting Guard, which isn’t the easiest to find. Additionally, Lyles isn’t one to avoid contact in the lane which will give VCU even more power under the hoop. As fans have seen, Shaka’s dedication to a strong defense is one of the most important pieces of his havoc on the court. Brooks pays close attention to his defensive game and is a high energy player, with 16 ppg, he is a great fit for Shaka’s coaching style. Shaka Smart (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/ Getty Images North America) Finally we come to Antravious Simmons who has the size and power to be a successful Center for the Rams. Averaging 26 ppg, and standing at 6’9”, Simmons is a powerhouse inside and makes smart use of his size while being a patient player at the same time. Simmon’s talented passing game will fit great with VCU because he can move the ball quickly which is a necessity with most of Shaka’s plays and then he can finish in the low post. It will be enjoyable to watch these men grow and play in VCU’s program.
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