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2020 SEC Basketball Preview: Vanderbilt Commodores

2020 SEC Basketball Preview: Vanderbilt Commodores

Jerry Stackhouse enters his second year under the helm as Vanderbilt’s head basketball coach. While last year’s season was one to forget, it showed improvements over Bryce Drew’s infamous 2018 team. They’ll be looking to keep the ball rolling in the right direction for the 2020 season.

2019 Record: 11-21 (3-15), 14th in SEC

Key Returners: (G) Scotty Pippen Jr., (F) Clevon Brown, (F) Dylan Disu

Key Additions: (G) D.J. Harvey (Notre Dame transfer), (G) Isaac McBride (Kansas transfer)

Key Losses: (G) Aaron Nesmith, (F) Saben Lee

2019 Season

The 2019 season had almost as few highlights as the 2018 season. It had many similarities, namely the loss of NBA talent early in the season. Vanderbilt lost their top scorer in Aaron Nesmith for the season in an early January game against Auburn. The sophomore did not return after declaring for the NBA Draft.

2020 SEC Basketball Preview: Vanderbilt Commodores
Aaron Nesmith’s NBA projections have him as high as a top-15 pick. (Photo by bleacherreport.com).

Less than a month early the Commodores also lost starting forward Clevon Brown. Brown led the team in rebounds and had been playing very well in what was expected to be his breakout season.

The result led to the emergences of Saben Lee and the freshmen duo Scotty Pippen Jr. and Dylan Disu. Lee has since declared for the draft as well but stepped in a big way by leading the team in scoring in 11 of the 19 games after the Nesmith injury.

While the Commodores struggled in the out of conference, they were able to ensure they wouldn’t go winless in the SEC again with a trio of wins. By far the biggest win of the season was defeating No.18 LSU who came into Memorial Gymnasium at 17-4. After becoming the first winless SEC team in 65 years, the win was a breath of fresh air for fans worrying about a repeat performance.

2020 Season

Projected Starting Lineup: Scotty Pippen Jr. (G, So), Maxwell Evans (G, Sr) ,  D.J. Harvey (G, Sr),  Dylan Disu (F, So), Clevon Brown (F, Sr)

The starting lineup appears pretty clear at present time for Jerry Stackhouse. The status of transfer Isaac McBride’s eligibility remains in the air at the moment. McBride did not enroll until May since Vanderbilt didn’t have an available scholarship at the time of his transfer. Without a year of academic residence at Vanderbilt his waiver is up in the air with the NCAA.

The emergence of freshmen Pippen Jr. and Disu after the two big injuries last year should pay dividends in 2020. Stackhouse now has two young starters with a full season under their belts, including 19 SEC games. This should work nicely with three other seniors in the starting lineup.

2020 SEC Basketball Preview: Vanderbilt Commodores
DJ Harvey will have two years of eligibility with Vanderbilt available. (Photo by ndinsider.com).

D.J. Harvey’s presence will be felt immediately. He averaged 10.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game with Notre Dame in his sophomore season two years ago. Harvey was a top-50 prospect out of high school and brings good size to the lineup.

It still might premature to assume Vanderbilt will jump out of the cellar. They’ll is trying to avoid a third consecutive finish in last place. If they can dodge the injury bug this year they might stand a good chance. Disu and Brown’s development in the front court will play a big role in a physical SEC.

2020 Prediction: 14th

 

 

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