#40 Vanderbilt Men's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

Vanderbilt Commodores
2018-2019 Overall Rank: #40
Conference Rank: #7 SEC
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Vanderbilt totaled only 12 wins in 2017-18, their worst season since 2002-03. The Commodores missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015, but they should quickly bounce back this season. Bryce Drew has brought in a top recruiting class along with some impact transfers to boost Vanderbilt’s roster. Five-star prospects Darius Garland and Simi Shittu should instantly become stars in the SEC and bring the Commodores back to national relevance.
2017-18 Record: 12-20, 6-12
2017-18 Postseason: None
Coach: Bryce Drew
Coach Record: 31-36 at Vanderbilt, 155-85 overall
Key Departed Players:
Jeff Roberson, Guard, 16.9 ppg
Riley LaChance, Guard, 14.1 ppg
Matthew Fisher-Davis, Forward, 11.2 ppg

Payton Willis, Guard, 5.1 ppg
Djery Baptiste, Center, 3.1 ppg
Larry Austin, Guard, 2.5 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Saben Lee, Sophomore, Guard, 10.6 ppg
Joe Toye, Senior, Forward, 5.7 ppg
Clevon Brown, Junior, Forward, 3.9 ppg

Maxwell Evans, Sophomore, Guard, 3.9 ppg
Ejike Obinna, Sophomore, Center, 2.7 ppg

Key New Players:
Darius Garland, Freshman, Guard

Aaron Nesmith, Freshman, Forward
Matt Ryan, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Notre Dame
Simisola Shittu, Freshman, Center
Yanni Wetzell, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Division II
Vanderbilt loses their top three scorers but should have no trouble reloading this season. Saben Lee is the top returning scorer after starting 29 games as a freshman. Lee averaged 10.6 points, 3.1 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals in his first collegiate season. The hype is around the incoming freshmen, but Lee has the potential to become an All-SEC player one day as well. Joe Toye will be the lone senior on the Commodores this season. Toye averaged 5.7 points and 2.0 rebounds as a junior and will provide leadership and experience for this year’s squad. Clevon Brown, Maxwell Evans and Ejike Obinna all return to provide depth for the Commodores. Brown is a breakout candidate as a former four-star recruit who averaged 3.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in just 17 minutes per game last season. Vanderbilt is most excited by their incoming freshmen though, headlined by five-star prospects Darius Garland and Simi Shittu. Garland and Shittu were both top-20 ranked recruits who instantly change the aura surrounding Vanderbilt basketball. Aaron Nesmith is a talented prospect in his own right who ranked as a top-100, four-star recruit. The Commodores also add a couple of transfers to the roster this season. Matt Ryan joins after spending two seasons at Notre Dame. Ryan is a sharpshooter who played 72 games for the Irish, averaging 4.4 points and shooting 39.8% from three during his Notre Dame career. Yanni Wetzell is a 6-10 forward who transferred in from Division II St. Mary’s in Texas. Wetzell averaged 15.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore while shooting 40.9% from three. Vanderbilt’s new acquisitions transform the Commodores from a 12-win team to an instant SEC competitor. Bryce Drew will feel the pressure of getting the most out of his talent and making Vanderbilt an NCAA Tournament team again.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.4 (214th in nation, 11th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 74.0 (220, 11)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.7 (229, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 46.6 (297, 14)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.0 (59, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.3 (159, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.3 (63, 3)
Rebound Margin: 0.3 (187, 9)
Assists Per Game: 12.3 (274, 13)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.8 (82, 5)
Madness 2019 NBA Draft Rankings:
#17 Simi Shittu
#37 Darius Garland
Madness 2018 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#9 Simi Shittu
#12 Darius Garland
#57 Aaron Nesmith