Georgetown season preview: Porter primed

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Georgetown season preview: Porter primed

What's back: No seniors, but the rising sophomore class led by the all-everything Otto Porter picked up plenty of experience during last season's 24-win campaign which ended after one victory in the NCAA Tournament. The soft-spoken Porter has a subtle style, but the versatile 6-foot-8 forward is poised for a very loud and monster of a season, which is why he's receiving plenty of preseason hype in the Big East, nationally and the highest levels of the sport. Stats alone do not define his varied skill set or impressive first season on the Hilltop, though he led the Hoyas in rebounding (6.8) and field goal percentage (52.5) while averaging 9.7 points and 1.1 steals. Except more scoring now that last year's top three scorers - Jason Clark, Henry Sims, Hollis Thompson - have moved on. Fellow sophomore Greg Whittington adds go-go-gadget arms and a confident 3-point shot to the frontcourt mix while former DeMatha star Mikael Hopkins takes over in the middle. Bouts of inconsistency have plagued power forward Nate Lubick and point guard Markel Starks, but the juniors should gain confidence as the team's elder statesmen.

What's new: On the heels of last season's five-player recruiting class, the Hoyas added four more newbies, headlined by flashy guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera. The 6-foot-3 scoring threat averaged 22 points as a High School senior and is the one freshman ready to crack Georgetown coach John Thompson III's rotation. Agile 7-footer Bradley Hayes brings even more length to the frontcourt while sweet shooting wing Stephen Domingo skipped his senior season to join Georgetown for this campaign.

What's key: JTIII will need to have his young roster grow up quick with a challenging regular season slate that starts Friday on an Aircraft carrier against Florida and ends with the last scheduled game against its fiercest rival, Syracuse. Freshman needing to gain familiarity is nothing new, but the Hoyas also lack a proven high-post passer for their own offensive designs and Starks is the lone returning guard with starting experience. Georgetown's size - especially if the team starts four forwards - will limit opposing scoring and allow Thompson to use Porter and Whittington all over the court to cover up any weaknesses.

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Virginia guard Marial Shayok transferring from program

Virginia guard Marial Shayok transferring from program

By Ben Brown

Following a disappointing end to a once-promising season, Virginia guard Marial Shayok and forward Jarred Reuter will transfer to another school, head coach Tony Bennett announced Wednesday. 

"Marial and Jarred informed me today that they are leaving the Virginia basketball program and are looking to transfer to other schools," Bennett said. "I thank Marial and Jarred for their hard work and contributions to our program, and wish them success in the future."

Shayok was the Cavaliers' second-leading scorer at 8.9 points per game, despite playing only the fifth-most minutes and regularly coming off the bench. The Ontario product scored a career-high 23 points in Virginia's win over UNC-Wilmington in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. 

Reuter averaged 10 minutes a game and averaged 3.8 points per game. 

Shayok and Reuter transferring comes at the end of a very disappointing season for Virginia. The Cavaliers began the season in the top 10 of the AP poll, and halfway through conference play they were near the top of the standings in the ACC. But that was before the team went into a major funk as they lost four of their last seven games, which dropped them to sixth in the conference standings. 

Virginia lost in the second round of the ACC Tournament to Notre Dame, and then got blasted by Florida by 26 points in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. 

In addition to the losses of Shayok and Reuter, London Perrantes, the team's best player and leader, is graduating. 

After a rough regular season, Virginia's offseason is off to a rocky start as well. 

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VCU reportedly wastes little time finding Mike Rhoades, Will Wade's replacement

VCU reportedly wastes little time finding Mike Rhoades, Will Wade's replacement

BY TYLER BYRUM, @theTylerByrum

Less than 24 hours after VCU saw yet another head coach in Will Wade, take off to a Power 5 school, the athletic department has already found a replacement, according to a report. 

Wasting no time, or allowing any speculation to build, the Rams have hired Mike Rhoades, the head coach of Rice, as Will Wade's replacement.

Rhoades will be the 12th coach of the men's basketball program in VCU history. 

The announcement was first reported by CBS's Gary Parrish:

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Rhoades is a former VCU assistant and associate head coach for five seasons. During his time with the Rams he helped the Shaka Smart led team to four NCAA Tournament appearances, including the Final Four run in 2011.

After Smart's departure to Texas, many considered Rhoades to be on the short list of coaches that VCU would contact. His familiarity with the program and the culture was exactly what VCU was looking for in order to have continued success at the school. The athletic department went on to hire a former assistant, but instead hired Wade. 

In 2014, he took on the head coaching position at Rice where he has been for the past three years. His overall record with the Owls is 47-52 with this past year being the only one to finish above .500. Receiving a bid to the CBI Tournament, it was the Owls first postseason appearance since 2012. 

If Rhoades does not work out for the Rams, there is only one more assistant remaining from the Final Four team that has yet to take over the program. Mike Jones is currently the head coach of Radford and has been there ever since that season. 

Wade's departure was yet another in a long line of talented, up-and-coming coaches using VCU as a springboard to a high-major position.

Jeff Capel began the trend in 2006, when he left for Oklahoma after returning the Rams to the NCAA Tournament in 2004 for the first time since 1996. His replacement, Anthony Grant, led the Rams to two NCAA Tournaments before leaving to take the head coaching job at Alabama. Grant's replacem,ent, Shaka Smart, led the Rams to five straight NCAA Tournaments, including a trip to the Final Four in 2011. 

Wade led the Rams to two NCAA Tournaments in his two seasons and is now headed to LSU to attempt to revitalize the program.