Vanderbilt Athletics

Commodore History Corner: Vanderbilt Players in the Pros

Commodore History Corner: Vanderbilt Players in the Pros


Nashville historian Bill Traughber looks at Vanderbilt players who have made their way to the professional men's basketball ranks in this week's Commodore History Corner.

Vanderbilt has produced some great SEC players in its basketball history. Some of these Commodores have made their way on an NBA roster. These are those players:

Clyde Lee--Arguably the best center in Vanderbilt (1964-66) history. The 6-10, 205 pound big man holds all of Vanderbilt's career rebounding records. While playing in an era that freshmen were ineligible for the varsity, Lee ranks fifth on Vanderbilt's all-time scoring (1,691) list. The David Lipscomb High School player was a three-time all-SEC member; two-time SEC Player-of-the-Year and an All-American.

Lee was selected by the San Francisco Warriors in the 1966 NBA draft. He was the third overall pick behind Cazzie Russell and Dave Bing. Lee played for San Francisco/Golden State (1966-74), Atlanta/Philadelphia (1974-75) and the 76ers (1975-76. In Lee's 10 seasons, he played in 742 games, averaged 7.7 points per game and 10.1 rebounds. Lee played in one all-star game.

Jan van Breda Kolff--Van Breda Kolff (1971-74) was the SEC Player-of-the-Year in 1974 while leading Vanderbilt to its second SEC championship and the NCAA tournament that season. The 6-7, 200 pound forward scored 740 points (10.9 per game) and 9.7 rebounds per game. The native Californian left Vanderbilt with best assist record for a career (5.4). Van Breda Kolff was Vanderbilt's head coach from 1994-99 (104-81).

The Portland Trailblazers, in the 1974 NBA draft, selected Van Breda Kolff. He was a second-round pick and 20th player taken overall. Virginia of the ABA also selected van Breda Kolff in the first round that year. He ended up playing his first professional season with Denver of the ABA.

In his nine-year career van Breda Kolff played for Denver (1974-75), Virginia/Kentucky (1975-76), New York and New Jersey Nets (1976-83). His career totals include 434 games in the NBA (6.0 ppg. and 4.1 rpg.). In the ABA van Breda Kolff played in 164 games averaging 6.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Van Breda Kolff's father, Butch, also played briefly in the NBA and was a college and professional coach.
Bob Warren--Warren (6-5, 190) played forward for Vanderbilt from 1966-68. As a senior, Warren was selected to the First Team All-SEC and led the Commodores in rebounding in 1967.

Warren was selected by the Atlanta Hawks in the fourth round (47th player overall) of the 1968 NBA draft. He chose to play in the ABA where he stayed for eight seasons. Warren played for Los Angeles (1968-70), Memphis (1970-72), Carolina/Dallas/Utah (1972-73), Utah (1974), San Antonio (1974-75), San Diego (1975-76). In eight seasons Warren averaged 8.9 points per game in 486 games.

Charles DavisCharles Davis--Davis (1976-81) ranks 7th all-time in scoring (1,675) on Vanderbilt's career list. The 6-7, 215 pound forward was born in Nashville and played for McGavock High School. He ranks ninth in scoring average (16.0), first in career field goals made (683) and eighth in career field goal percentage (.514). Davis was also a two-time All-SEC selection.

Washington chose Davis in the second round (35th player) of the 1981 NBA draft. In his eight-year career Davis played for Washington (1981-84), Washington/Milwaukee (1984-86), Milwaukee/San Antonio (1987-88) and Chicago 1988-90). While with the Bulls, Davis was a teammate of Michael Jordan.

Davis played in 415 games with four different teams. He averaged 5.3 points per game with 2.4 rebounds.
Jeff TurnerJeff Turner--Turner (1980-84) ranks 21st on Vanderbilt's all-time scoring list with 1,271 points (10.9) and 5.3 rebounds. The 6-9, 230-pounder was first team All-SEC as a senior forward. He was also a two-time selection to the SEC all-academic team. Turner was a member of the 1984 Olympics gold medal basketball team.

Turner was a first round selection in the 1984 NBA draft and 17th overall by the New Jersey Nets. He played 10 seasons for the Nets (1984-87), Orlando (1989-96) and Vancouver (1996). When Turner retired from the Magic he was in the all-time top ten for minutes, games played, field goals and field goal attempts. In his career he played in 612 games averaging 6.0 points per game with 3.3 rebounds.

Will PerdueWill Perdue (1984-88) was the SEC Player of the Year and an All-American selection as a senior. He ranks 20th all-time on Vanderbilt's career scoring list (1,281) and is 7th in rebounding with 708 (6.8).

He was the 11th overall pick by the Chicago Bulls in the 1988 NBA draft. Perdue would also become a teammate of Michael Jordan. In his 13 seasons the 7-0, 240-pounder averaged 4.8 points per game in 779 games. Perdue also averaged 5.0 rebounds per game. He was a member of the Bulls first three NBA championship teams in 1991,92,93.

Frank Kornett (1986-89)--Kornett played in 89 games for Milwaukee (1989-91) averaging 1.9 points per game and 0.8 rebounds.

Butch Feher (1973-76)--Feher played in 48 games for Phoenix (1976-77) averaging 5.2 points per game and 1.5 rebounds.

Rod Freeman (1970-73)--Freeman played in 35 games for Philadelphia (1973-74) averaging 3.0 points per game and 1.5 rebounds.

Tom Hagan (1967-69)--Hagan played in 73 games in the ABA for Dallas (1969-70), Texas/Kentucky (1970-71) averaging 4.9 points per game and 1.5 rebounds.

Willie "Hutch" Jones (1980-82)--Jones played in 13 games for San Diego (1982-84) averaging 3.2 points per game and 1.3 rebounds.

Bill Ligon (1972-74)--Ligon played in 38 games for Detroit (1974-75) averaging 1.0 points per game and 0.7 assists.

Roger Schurig (1963-65)--Schurig played in 21 games for ABA Houston (1967-68) averaging 4.8 points per game and 1.4 rebounds.

Dan Langhi (1997-00)--Langhi played in 133 games for Houston (2000-2), Phoenix (2002-3), Golden State (2003-04) averaging 3.5 points per game and 1.5 rebounds.

Matt Freije (2001-04)--Freije played for Miami and New Orleans (2004-05) before being released in January 2005. His New Orleans stats include 23 games with 4.0 points per game average and 2.7 rebounds.

Next week read about the Vanderbilt/Kentucky basketball playoff game in 1961.

If you have any comments or suggestions you can contact Bill Traughber via e-mail

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