Nov. 7, 2012
During the last four weeks, VUCommodores.com profiled all four of Vanderbilt's most veteran men's basketball players: Kyle Fuller, Josh Henderson, Rod Odom and James Siakam. The interviews were all conducted before the start of practice and provide viewers with a closer look at the upbringing and personalities of each player on and off the court. To conclude the series, we feature junior guard Kyle Fuller.
Up Close: Henderson | Siakam | Odom
After playing in all 34 games as a freshman, Vanderbilt guard Kyle Fuller appeared destined for big things in his second season with the Commodores, but instead of breaking out, Fuller suffered through the proverbial sophomore slump.
The Moreno Valley, Calif., native played in just 18 games and averaged 0.9 points per game. Now as a junior, Fuller believes he is better prepared to take that next step forward in his career.
"I feel like every aspect of my game has improved, as in leadership, my shooting and dribbling ability, and as in maturing and growing up," Fuller said. "I feel like I've improved in almost every aspect I could have."
To make those improvements, Fuller put in an enormous number of hours in the gym this summer. After all that hard work, there is just one thing left to do.
"Perform," Fuller stated. "Perform when the lights are on, not just in practice and in workouts as I've been showing, but now it is time for the games to begin and I want to show everyone what I've been doing."
Fuller's offseason was filled with a lot of work, but even more grief. This summer, Fuller lost his father - Kyle Sr. - to lung cancer. Suddenly any on-the-court struggles seemed insignificant.
"My dad has always been a role model to me and now that he is gone, it hurts me," Fuller said. "He's always been there for me. He's always shown me the right path, even though I didn't like it he always stood there by my side."
Before his father's death, Fuller was motivated in basketball only by himself wanting to improve, but now he has a much greater reason for his drive to get better.
The day before his father died he asked Kyle Jr. to be the man of the house for his mother, Olga and younger brother, Khalil (16).
"My motivation is my brother," Fuller said. "I know that he is watching me and every move I make because my dad is not here. He really wants to see me succeed so he knows that he can. I feel like if I do that and I show him that I can succeed in this game and I'm going to show (him) that it is possible without daddy."
To learn more about Fuller, be sure to watch this video.
Also, read more about Kyle Fuller's hardship in a story featured in the October issue of Commodore Nation.