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Be Patient and Trust the Process

Be Patient and Trust the Process

Be patient and trust the process

Now that the turmoil of a few weeks ago has subsided, time to turn our attention to the business that really matters.  The business of offseason normalcy, although, it would appear that we as fans need to perhaps adjust what the definition of “normal” means, and to temper our expectations in the process.  I have no doubt that Will Wade will continue where Shaka Smart left off.  VCU basketball will continue to be an exciting team to watch and cheer for, and will very likely be in the running to win the A-10 in 2015-16.

So, what of this concept of “normal” and how we should temper expectations this offseason?  I want to implore fans not to get themselves crazed with rumors and speculation (more on this later).

For all intents and purposes, VCU had a successful 2014-15 campaign, finishing at 26-10 (12-6 in the A-10), and winning the A-10 tournament championship.  The season ultimately ended on a disappointing note, with the loss to Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.  Still, a pretty darn good year considering the injuries and adversity the team had to play through.  Most fans, including myself, immediately began looking forward to next season with great expectations, with most of the roster to remain intact, and a highly touted recruiting class poised to enter.

Then the first week of April happened, and the aforementioned turmoil.  Most certainly, a hit to our expectations, and what we consider to be normal, in looking toward next season.  The VCU administration, to its credit, acted quickly and brought in a great coach to replace Smart.  Will Wade is a known entity, and as I already mentioned, will continue where Smart left off.  The coaching philosophy is similar, and he’s inheriting a talented squad that will return most of its core for next year.  Wade wasted no time in getting his coaching staff in place, and immediately hit the ground running relative to keeping the current team intact, and on the recruiting side.

Keeping the current roster intact

First and foremost, this a very necessary task for any new coaching staff to be concerned with, as this is a huge part of the process in the transition to a new staff.  Despite losing senior leaders Briante Weber, Treveon Graham and Jared Guest to graduation, the end of season roster looked strong, with the likes of Melvin Johnson, Mo-Alie Cox, JeQuan Lewis, Terry Larrier, Justin Tillman, and others set to return.

Then rumors and speculation that I will again implore fans not to pay attention to, or at the very least, to take with a grain of salt.  Right off the bat, speculation was rampant that Lewis wanted to leave.  As we know, that didn’t happen.  JeQuan Lewis is still a part of the team.  Yes, while it is true that Justin Tillman did consider transferring, he didn’t. He is still part of the team.  Now, just this week, news that Terry Larrier wants to transfer.  It could happen, or maybe not; we just don’t know right now.  This is where we as fans need to chill out (the same holds true regarding recruiting) – these are young men, 17, 18 or 19 years old, and their future.  Only they know what’s best given individual circumstances, and we as fans can’t begrudge their right to decide how they want their futures to unfold…

The recruiting game

When the season ended, we as fans were certainly chomping at the bit in thinking about the recruiting class we had coming in.  Three top-100 players; the best recruiting class ever for VCU, with commits Tevin Mack, Jordan Murphy, and Kenny Williams ready to join the fold.  This is another huge concern for the incoming coaching staff right after keeping the current roster intact, and part of the process.  Of course, any new coaching staff would want to retain the commits.  As circumstances would have it, all three ended up being released from their letters of intent to play at VCU.

Now what for VCU?  A concern that all fans would have for sure.  Again, my mantra – try not to get embroiled in rumors and speculation.  In viewing this logically, it is understandable why commits would have second thoughts when a new coaching staff comes on board.  These youngsters were recruited by the former coach to play in a particular system – something now that has been turned on its head with the departure of said coach.  Fans are emotional and may not see this right away.  We can’t begrudge the decisions made by guys we thought we had coming in.  At the end of the day, we’re talking about mostly 17 and 18 year old young men; we have to respect their decision and wish them success elsewhere.

Coach Wade and staff are not wasting any time in ensuring that VCU will enter 2015-16 with a talented and loaded roster.  In the past couple of weeks, VCU has signed two potentially high-impact players: Korey Billbury, a transfer from Oral Roberts University who will be eligible to play right away, and Gerron Scissum, recruited by Wade at UT-Chattanooga.  There are offers out to others, so completion of the roster remains to be seen.  We should have a better idea by May 20th, when the current recruiting period ends.

Rest assured that VCU will be okay in this regard.

“Normal” and expectations for this offseason

Here, I will point to the title of this piece – “Be patient, and trust the process.”  Yes, it sounds trite and cliché; however, this is our “normal” for right now.  Coach Wade knows what he’s doing, and I think we’re best served knowing that we have a very talented team with new recruits who want to be here.  VCU is arguably in its “golden age” of basketball dating back at least 12 years and across three coaches, when viewed through the lens of winning percentage and NCAA Tournament appearances (and of course, that Final Four in 2011).

VCU has consistently performed better with each new coaching hire during this period of time.  There’s no reason to think this will be different now.  The bar may be set higher; however, there is always room for improvement.  We’d all like to see our Rams advance beyond the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

For my fellow fans – take rumors and speculation with a grain of salt.  Be patient, trust the process, and try to enjoy watching the growth of our team.  Things may appear uncertain now; I assure you, though, that everything will fall into place!

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