July 30, 2012
The following is the third feature on a group of newcomers to Vanderbilt basketball - this time it's 6'4 point guard Eric McClellan, who transferred from Tulsa this summer. As a freshman in 2011-12, McClellan started in 16 games and averaged 8.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game with the Golden Hurricane. He also scored a career-high 25 points in 46 minutes of action in his last game with Tulsa - a Conference USA quarterfinal triple-overtime loss to Marshall.
McClellan will redshirt the 2012-13 campaign and be eligible to compete with the Commodores in the fall of 2013.
See below on McClellan's reason for transferring and his relationship with current Vanderbilt assistant coach, David Cason.
Talk about your transfer from Tulsa to Vanderbilt.
My coach got fired at Tulsa at the end of the season, and when he got fired, I told myself that I wasn’t going to transfer, that I was going to stick with the new staff. Somehow it got out in the media that I was going to transfer, and I never told anyone that. Then I started to get calls from a bunch of different schools, with some of those coming from high major schools that didn’t recruit me in high school. I didn’t really know how to handle it. So, I just sat down with my mom and asked her what we should do. She was with me 110%, no matter if I stayed at Tulsa or if I wanted to open up my recruitment. I prayed about it for weeks and weeks, and then I decided to ask for my release. Coach Cason recruited me out of high school to Tulsa, but he left to go to Vanderbilt three days after I committed (in spring of 2011), so looking at Vanderbilt first was very easy for me. Coach Cason is my guy.
That leads me to my next question – talk about Coach Cason as a person and what you saw in him.
I trust Coach Cason with everything. I’ve only known Coach Cason for a year and a half, but he recruited me, and he kept it straight up with me. That’s something I pride myself on – loyalty, respect, and trust – and those are three qualities that he has. I trust him with my career. As a person, I couldn’t ask for a better big brother, a better father figure. He’s just a great guy.
In your last game at Tulsa against Marshall, the game went three overtimes and you scored 25 points. Talk about that game.
That was a crazy game, but you have to give props to Marshall, and especially DeAndre Kane, who scored 40 points. It was surreal though, and it’s hard for me to describe it.
Were you tired? You played 46 minutes.
I really wasn’t thinking about the fatigue factor, but it definitely was a factor. I was just fortunate.
I see you like video games. Do you have a favorite?
Probably Call of Duty. Or NBA 2K.
Are you doing the FIFA thing?
I’ve tried. I’ve tried to expand myself, but I just can’t get with soccer right now. I’m going to keep on trying though.
Talk about your game and your strengths.
I would say my strengths are my speed, my unselfishness, my leadership, my vision, and getting my teammates involved. I pride myself on being a true point guard, not just a scoring point guard. I realize that I have a lot of things to work on to become a better point guard.
What are some things that you think you need to work on?
Specific things like my pullup jumper, my defense, and making better decisions. I averaged about three turnovers last season, and that’s the most important stat, in my opinion.