Oct. 31, 2012
The Commodores' season is two days away from getting underway with their first exhibition game of the year against St. Xavier (Ill.), and it's time to read up on some materials to get accustomed to your 2012-13 squad.
Get a roster, the latest bios on players and coaches, a recap of the 2011-12 season, and the ultimate historical perspective of Vanderbilt basketball in the 2012-13 Factbook. Click the link above to give it a look.
The following outlook is in the factbook, but it can be read in full below.
2012-13 Season Outlook
Talented, but unproven. Those three words sum up the 2012-13 Vanderbilt men’s basketball campaign for head coach Kevin Stallings, who enters his 14th season at the helm of the Commodores.
The longtime mentor saw three of his five starters from his 2012 25-win, SEC Tournament Championship team get drafted in the first 31 selections of the NBA Draft in June (Festus Ezeli, John Jenkins, Festus Ezeli), with the other two (Lance Goulbourne, Brad Tinsley) and his top reserve off of the bench (Steve Tchiengang) also lost due to graduation. In all, 88% of the team’s offensive production from last season must be replaced, and the team’s leading returning scorer, sophomore point guard Kedren Johnson, averaged 3.1 points per game, the lowest returning point total in the SEC, with the 2012-13 team also having no seniors and only two juniors.
If anyone is up to the challenge, it is Stallings and his experienced staff. Stallings has had quite the run for the last eight seasons, posting seven 20-win campaigns, the most in school history, appearing in six NCAA tournaments and two Sweet 16’s. His 2010, 2011, and 2012 teams became the first to advance to three consecutive tournaments in school history, and the aforementioned NBA Draft picks marked the first time in the history of the program that two Vanderbilt players were chosen in the first round, and only the second time that the Commodores have had three players selected in the entire draft.
Stallings explains that his new group of guys have worked hard in the summer, and he is looking forward to what comes out of the fall practices.
“We’ve tried to attack a lot of skill development things in the summer and I think that will pay dividends when we start with the scheme things, because they’ll be better basketball players as a result of what we’ve done,” said Stallings. “I’m not prepared, or qualified even, to say that our strength will be defense, or offense, or shooting, or passing. I truly don’t have enough of a feel for this group and these guys.”
Sophomore Kedren Johnson and junior Kyle Fuller will have a shot at the starting point guard position, while sophomore Dai-Jon Parker and freshmen Kevin Bright and A.J. Astroth will vie for time at the two guard spot.
Johnson is the Commodores’ leading scorer from 2011-12, playing in all 36 games and averaging 3.1 points per game. The Lewisburg, Tenn., native also saw significant playing time towards the end of the 2011-12 season, and made the go-ahead bucket against Kentucky in the SEC Tournament Championship game in New Orleans. Johnson, a prolific scoring point guard at nearby Marshall County High School, will be called upon to make up for some of the scoring that departed from a year ago.
Fuller, who started a game last season and has played in 52 career games in his career, has worked hard on his body and his game in the offseason, leaning out and drastically improving his outside shot. The 6’1 guard from Moreno Valley, Calif., averaged 0.9 points per game in 2011-12.
At the off-guard position, 6’3 sophomore Dai-Jon Parker returns with the most experience at the position, however will be suspended to begin the 2012-13 season. Parker played in all 36 games and averaged 1.7 points per contest. A strong defensive presence, the Baton Rouge, La., native will be called on to be more of scoring threat this season.
Freshman guards Kevin Bright and A.J. Astroth will also compete for time at the two-guard position, and may get a chance for some time at small forward. The 6’5 Bright, from Mannheim, Germany, was a member of the 2012 Under 20/21 German National team that placed fifth in the European Championship, and averaged 14.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 blocks, and 1.3 steals in his last season at the Urspring Basketball Academy.
The 6’6 Astroth, from Tampa, Fla., averaged 22 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 3.4 steals for his Wharton High School team in his senior season, and was a first-team all-Hillsborough County selection in his junior and senior seasons and was a second-team all-state team member in his senior year.
Sophomore point guard Eric McClellan transferred from Tulsa in the summer and will redshirt this season and have three years of eligibility remaining. McClellan averaged 8.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 23.1 minutes per game in 30 contests for the Golden Hurricane last year.
Junior 6’9 forward Rod Odom leads the Commodores’ group of frontcourt players in 2012-13 after playing in all 36 games a year ago and making two starts. Odom averaged 2.4 points and 2.0 rebounds per contest.
Odom, from Central Islip, N.Y., has added size to his 6’9 frame, and has been a force in early workouts for the Commodores. Odom possesses a solid perimeter game, and has worked on getting to the rim to round out his game in the offseason. He could also see some time at the five position.
The other returning forwards include 6’8 sophomore Shelby Moats and 6’7 redshirt sophomore James Siakam. Moats, who played in 16 games a year ago, has made tremendous strides in the summer, both on and off the floor, and will be called upon to score from the outside and be a physical presence around the basket.
Siakam, from Douala, Cameroon, has tremendous athletic ability and can be a force on the glass rebounding the basketball. He played in 15 games a year ago.
Freshman Sheldon Jeter will also contribute in the frontcourt for Vanderbilt in 2012-13. Jeter, at 6’7, is from Beaver Falls, Pa., and was a first-team All-State selection, while also being named the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and Pittsburgh Tribune Review Player of the Year as a senior when he averaged 22 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, two blocks, and two steals.
Redshirt sophomore Josh Henderson is the lone center on the roster at 6’11. Henderson, from Roanoke, Va., played in only eight games a year ago because of a stress fracture in his foot. After surgery in the summer, Henderson hopes to be ready by the beginning of the season.
Henderson averaged 2.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in those eight games backing up Festus Ezeli in 2011-12.