Vanderbilt has produced some great SEC players in its basketball history. A small percentage of these Commodores have made their way on an NBA or ABA 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 sixth 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.
The San Francisco Warriors in the 1966 NBA draft selected Lee. 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 (1994-99) with a 104-81 record.
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 Davis--Davis (1976-81) ranks eighth 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 tenth in scoring average (16.0), second in career field goals made (683) and ninth 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 Turner--Turner (1980-84) ranks 23rd 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 ppg. with 3.3 rebounds.
Will Perdue--Perdue (1984-88) was the SEC Player of the Year and an All-American selection as a senior. He ranks 22nd 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 1991-93.
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 Houston (1967-68) in the ABA 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) and Milwaukee (2004) averaging 3.5 points per game and 1.5 rebounds in his career.
Matt Freije (2001-04)--Freije played 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. Freije played briefly for the Atlanta Hawks in 2007 appearing in 19 games averaging 2.1 ppg. with 0.4 boards.
These former Commodores were drafted by NBA teams, but did not appear in any games The year of their selection is included: Billy Joe Adcock (1950), George Kelley (1951), Dan Finch (1954), Al Rochelle (1957), Jim Henry (1959), Bill Depp (1961), Keith Thomas (1966), Jerry Southwood (1967), Bo Wyenandt (1968), Bob Bundy (1969), Perry Wallace (1970), Thorpe Weber (1971), Steve Turner (1973), Terry Compton (1974), Jeff Fosnes (1976), Tommy Springer (1980), Mike Rhodes (1981), Glen Clem (1987), Derrick Byars (2007) and Shan Foster (2008).
Several former Commodores have played or currently are playing professional basketball in other countries.
If you have any comments or suggestions you can contact Bill Traughber via e-mail at WLTraughber@aol.com.