2013-2014 Top 68 Team Previews: #15 VCU Rams
Shaka Smart attempts to take the Rams on another NCAA Tournament run.
By Aaron Ware
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Head Coach: Rick Barnes
G - Javan Felix So.
G - Kendal Yancy Fr.
F - Conner Lammert So.
F - Jonathan Holmes Jr.
C - Cameron Ridley So.
Key Additions: Kendal Yancy, Damarcus Croaker, Isaiah Taylor, Martez Walker
Key Losses: Myck Kabongo, Sheldon McClellan, Julien Lewis
Key Reserves: Damarcus Croaker, Demarcus Holland, Prince Ibeh
Longhorn Head Coach Rick Barnes will face the challenge of coaching another young but talented team to the NCAA Tournament. Barnes had a big loss in the off-season with Myck Kabongo leaving early but still has a quality roster to work with.
At point guard, Javan Felix will lead the young Longhorn squad. Felix got some much needed experience when Kabongo was sitting out so he is expected to step in from day one and be productive. Felix will need to cut down on the turnovers but he is a natural playmaker with above average passing abilities. Felix averaged 4.1 APG so look for that number to increase with more minutes. The freshman, Kendal Yancy will have the chance to start at the other wing spot as he is very talented and gives Texas a major talent on on the wing.
Conner Lammert struggled with his outside shot as a freshman but will be looked upon to start at the small forward spot after Ioannis Papapetrou left early to play professionally overseas. Lammert struggled shooting the ball from outside so he will need to improve his stroke from long distance and also his shot selection. If Lammert improves in this category, the Longhorns will be a much better team.
Down in the post, Jonathan Holmes is the lone upperclassmen in the starting lineup. Holmes will be looked up to provide experience and leadership. Beside Holmes will be Cameron Ridley. Ridley was projected as a star coming out of high school but struggled as a freshman. Ridley got his chance to shine as a freshman, so that experiene should help him as he enters his sophmore season. Along with Holmes and Ridley, Prince Ibeh provides solid depth off the bench as his improvements late in the season started to show up in the box score.
Overall, this is a young squad for Barnes that has experienced a ton of roster changes in the offseason. Barnes has some talent to work with but an NCAA bid will probably be a bit wishful thinking. The NIT seems like a more likely landing spot for this youthful Texas squad.