#56 Vanderbilt Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Vanderbilt Commodores

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #56
Conference Rank:  #7 SEC

Vanderbilt Team Page#56 Vanderbilt Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Vanderbilt Basketball Tickets

In recent years Vanderbilt has enjoyed its most successful years in the history of the program.  Just two seasons ago, they had 25 wins (tying the most wins all-time) and enjoyed an NCAA tournament victory.   They knocked eventual national champion Kentucky out of the SEC tournament that season.  Kevin Stallings has done a great job in his 13 seasons in Nashville.  At a school not known to be as athletically competitive, Vanderbilt has experienced some successes, last season notwithstanding.   They lost their star center Festus Ezeli and a leader in Jeffrey Taylor.  They struggled to get on track.  This coming season, they look to get back into the 20-win realm.

2012-2013 record:  16-17, 8-10
2012-2013 postseason:  none
Coach:  Kevin Stallings
Coach Record:  277-176 at Vanderbilt, 401-239 overall

Who’s Out:
For two seasons in a row, Vanderbilt loses some valuable pieces.  Kevin Bright, a starter last season, signed with a pro team in July.  He played a lot of minutes for Stallings, and he was going to be relied upon a lot this season.  They also lose their leading scorer Kedren Johnson to suspension.  He averaged 13.5 points a game.  Vanderbilt is going to have a tough time replacing those points.  Last season, Vanderbilt was ranked 13th in the conference in field goal percentage.  Stallings will have to find the right combination of guys to maximize the team’s scoring ability.

Who’s In:
A lot of the scoring responsibility will fall to second-leading scorer in 2012-2013, Rod Odom.  He is a 6’9” forward who averaged in the double-digits.  They also return center Josh Henderson.  His production needs to take a step forward not only in terms of points, but also on defense.   He did not even rank in the top 15 in the conference in blocked shots.   Guard Dai-Jon Parker also returns to patrol the backcourt.  Parker is a decent shooter who will have to control the ball.  It looks like James Siakam will have an increased role this season as well.  He has been playing well in Vanderbilt’s summer camp games.

Who to Watch:
Siakam might be poised to break out this season.  In their final game on their trip through Europe, Siakam registered a double-double (11 points, 15 rebounds).  The 6’7” forward from Cameroon played sparingly last season.  He only scored a basket a game.  It will be difficult for Stallings to keep him on the bench if his production in the regular season matches what he has done overseas.  Junior Kyle Fuller will also have something to say this season.  He has been an integral contributor to the Commodores over the last couple of seasons.  He is the team’s best free-throw shooter, and his experience will play a part in Vanderbilt’s success or lack thereof.

Final Projection:
Vanderbilt is not necessarily a bad team despite their record.  They boasted the third best field goal defense in the SEC.  They also made the second most three-pointers per game.  The problem is the rest of their offense.  Their mid-range game could stand to improve.  The big men on the block are going to have to become all-around players to stand up to the athletic bodies that Kentucky and Florida put on the floor.  The Commodores should be good enough for a winning record this season – a positive bounce here or there can change their fortunes.  But losing two key ingredients to a maturing team is going to hurt them a lot.  They have three starters that are older and wiser, but that might not be enough to compete in the SEC.  They appear to be a team that will have to work really hard to escape the bottom half of the conference.

Projected Postseason Tournament:  NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Dai-Jon Parker, Junior, Guard, 7.2 points per game
Kyle Fuller, Senior, Guard, 8.7 points per game
Josh Henderson, Junior, Center, 5.4 points per game
Rod Odom, Senior, Forward, 10.4 points per game
James Siakam, Junior, Forward, 2.0 points per game

By the numbers:
Scoring Offense: 60.3 (315th in nation, 14th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.1 (33, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 40.8 (292, 13)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.7 (75, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.8 (36, 2)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.0 (111, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 63.5 (319, 13)
Rebound Margin: -0.9 (210, 11)
Assists Per Game: 11.7 (253, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.1 (75, 4)

Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruiting:
#76 Damian Jones


See All Top 144 Basketball Previews