Nebraska transfer Andrew White III has had a lot to think about these last couple of weeks as he tries to decide where he’ll play his final season of college hoops. We recapped White’s transfer situation earlier this week, and even though he took a surprise visit to the Robins Center, it appears as if VCU is the only A-10 school solidly in the mix for the star hooper. Averaging 16.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game for the Cornhuskers last season, White III is an instant mega-boost to whichever team is able to land him. While a lot of power 5 programs remain in the mix, VCU (or even Richmond, if something crazy happened) makes sense as a possible destination. Andrew White III is from RVA, and a team that’s made the NCAA Tournament 6 years in a row has a lot to offer to a star like White III. Were the former Cornhusker to settle down with the Rams, here’s the impact it would have to VCU’s 2016-17 team.
The Rams move into the Top 25 pre-season polls
If I’ve learned anything watching college basketball the last couple of years, it’s that pre-season rankings mean squat. Actually, rankings in general mean squat. If you take a look at the pre-season rankings compared to that at the end of the season, you usually won’t see many similarities. And at least 1 or 2 Top 10 teams go down in the first round of the Big Dance every year. That being said, it’s always a nice morale boost to receive that sort of national recognition before the first games tip in November.
ESPN’s Revised Way-Too-Early Top 25 does not have the Rams making the list, neither does any other major poll online. The Rhode Island Rams do find themselves cracking the list though, and Dayton is listed right outside the Top 25. VCU is going to have some competition this season, and it’s going to have to be equally as impressive, if not better, as it was last season. Though Rhode Island and Dayton are ranked just a bit higher, throw White III to the Rams, and VCU moves up into the Top 20 easily. An all-conference caliber player joining a team that’s already expected to make the NCAA Tournament would make pre-season poll makers salivate.
VCU has one of the best frontcourts in the nation
Never mind rankings and polls, if White III decides to join up with VCU, the Rams will have a ridiculously talented frontcourt, and that’s a fact. VCU was 58th in the nation last season in offensive rebounding percentage and 77th in defensive rebounding percentage. White III pulled down 5.9 boards per game last season; Alie-Cox and Tillman combined to pull down 11.2 boards per game last season, and they’ll both be back. With Andrew White III’s ability to crash the glass, the Rams would live on rebounding and devastate their opponents down low.
We know that VCU can dunk; Tillman and Alie-Cox had highlight reel throw downs all season long. White III’s got a little swagger himself when it comes to slamming it home, and if he joins the Rams, defenders better get out of the way when their big men come crashing into the paint.
Andrew White III is versatile enough to run the floor and could be a nice component to the pick-and-roll that the Rams like to utilize with Alie-Cox and Lewis. He’d fit the system perfectly, giving the Rams a weapon they could use extensively on the interior along with the help of existing veterans. Though Michael Gilmore transferred to Miami (who’s also in the mix for White III, by the way), VCU keeps Ahmed Hamdy-Mohamed who’s turning into a solid player with tremendous upside. Adding to an already lethal frontcourt, White III would make this team dangerous down low.
The Rams score an effective replacement for Melvin Johnson
Not to say Melvin Johnson can be completely replaced, but White’s scoring would be a huge help to a Ram team that loses it’s best scorer in Johnson. Andrew White III’s scoring doesn’t just come inside or around the paint; the 6’7″ transfer is also deadly from three point range. Knocking down 41.2% of his long range attempts last season, his three point efforts could help pick up the slack lost by Melvin who scored 110 of VCU’s 255 threes last season. White III made 87 of his attempts from long range last year.
The Rams already have some very capable scorers in JeQuan Lewis and Mo Alie-Cox, but the addition of White III would create a deadly scoring trio that could dominate the A-10. Having three key guys that could put up 20 points any night would be huge, and even if someone has an off night, there will be another scorer there to pick up the slack. Andrew White III is a complete player, and given what VCU has (a strong PG and a deadly frontcourt) and lacks (a consistent perimeter threat), he’d be perfect for the job. His decision will be huge for whatever program lands him, and don’t be surprised if VCU end up snatching him from the Power 5s.