Virginia Commonwealth's ascent towards college basketball's top tier took another step on Monday, as Shaka Smart and the Rams secured a commitment from 4-star small forward Terry Larrier.
The Bronx, N.Y., native confirmed his decision to SNY.tv, via ZagsBlog.com. He pointed to Smart and his staff as a main reason for his choice:
“Basically my relationship with Shaka Smart and the whole coaching staff,” the 6-foot-8 Larrier told SNY.tv. “I think he’s one of the best coaches in the country and I want to play for him.”
Larrier said, “I think I’m the highest-ranked kid to go to VCU. It shows that high-ranked can go to VCU and play for the best coach in the country.”
VCU Ram Nation's Twitter feed pointed out that Larrier isn't quite correct in that thinking, as he is actually VCU's highest-ranked recruit since Kendrick Warren:
Nevertheless, the idea remains the same. Smart, fresh off taking the Rams to their third NCAA tournament in many years, has landed an elite prospect who figures to fit perfectly into the HAVOC system.
According to 247 Sports' composite rankings, the 6'7", 172-pound Larrier is rated as the 44th-best prospect and 11th-best small forward. Playing for The Phelps School in Pennsylvania, he is rated as the ultimate recruit coming out of the state.
Larrier's AAU coach, Terrance Williams, via the SNY.tv report, called the young small forward a versatile athlete who can play the 2, 3 or 4 and "get in the passing lanes, block some shots (and) make some steals."
Hmm. A long, athletic, versatile guard who can create turnovers on defense and play an uptempo style of basketball. It doesn't get much better than that for Smart, who loves to employ a high-octane, pressure-filled style of basketball on the defensive end.
Larrier joins Jonathan Williams and Justin Tillman in VCU's extremely promising 2014 class, as Smart, easily the best young coach in America, continues to entrench the Rams as a perennial tournament team.