November 9, 2011

SMART, RAMS LAND THREE HIGHLY-TOUTED RECRUITS ON NATIONAL SIGNING DAY

RICHMOND, Va. – On the first day of the national signing period, Head Coach Shaka Smart and the VCU Rams added three new players they believe can help the Rams reach new heights.
 

Forwards Justin Tuoyo (Hampton, Ga.) and forwards Mo Alie-Cox (Middleburg, Va.) and Jordan Burgess (Midlothian, Va.) all signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Black & Gold in 2012-13.

 

"I'm really excited about this group of players," Smart said. "They provide us with toughness, skill and terrific potential in the front court."

 

Tuoyo (pictured, right) is a 6-9, 210-pound center from Lovejoy High School in Hampton, Ga, where he led the team to the Quarterfinals of the 4A playoffs.  During his junior season, he averaged 12 points, 11 rebounds, and five blocks per game.

 

"Justin is a phenomenal kid with major upside on both ends of the floor," Smart commented. "His ability to run the floor and block shots make him a unique talent."

 

Rivals.com ranked Tuoyo 84th in the country last season, while ESPN.com ranked him the #30 center in the country and a Top 20 player in Georgia. His skill on the hardwood garnered him interest from Virginia Tech, Memphis, Richmond, and Georgia Tech.

 

Alie-Cox (pictured, left) is a 6-6, 250-pound power forward with a 7-1 wingspan who was named the #9 recruit in Virginia by Rivals.com and the #16 recruit in Virginia by ESPN.com.  He drew interest from Nevada, Delaware, George Washington, and Wake Forest before deciding to play for the Black & Gold.

 

"Mo's skillset is exceptional for a player of his size," Smart said. "His ability to rebound and score make him a terrific fit for our system."

 

A member of the Middleberg Academy basketball team, Cox averaged 16 points per game, 12 rebounds per game, and seven blocks during his junior year. He was also named to First Team All-State for Virginia Independent Schools last year.

 

Burgess (pictured, right), a 6-4, 210-pound wing, comes to the Rams from nearby Benedictine High School where he helped lead the team to the independent school state title while averaging 13 points per game and eight rebounds per game. During his junior year, he was named Second Team All Metro and Second Team All State Independent Schools.

 

"Jordan has a great opportunity to be an impact player," Smart said. "His body and toughness level are college ready, and he possesses very good understanding of what goes into winning."

 

A #4 recruit in Virginia, according to ESPN.com, Burgess was sought after by Penn State and St. Joe's, as well as conference foe George Mason and cross-town rival Richmond. ESPN.com also named Burgess the 31st starting forward in the country while Rivals.com listed him the #6 Impact Recruit outside the Top 150.

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