2008 Vanderbilt Commodores Basketball Preview
The Vanderbilt Commodores (26-8 overall, 10-6 SEC) are coming off two straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Last season, after finishing third in the SEC East, they lost in the first round of the Big Dance to Siena 83-62. Although coach Kevin Stallings, who has guided this team to March Madness appearances in three of the past five seasons, will have another good team, he’ll also put a young roster of players on the court. These guys will need time to develop.
In his freshman season last year, A.J. Ogilvy (26.4 MPG, 17.0 PPG. 6.7 RPG, 1.2 APG, 58.8 FG%, 76.9 FT%) was outstanding. There was a lot of hype around the six-foot-eleven, 250-pound center, and it was all true. Ogilvy, a gifted and athletic player, is a massive presence around the basket and also a sure shooter from 18-feet away. Three others will vie to support the star player, including sophomore Darshawn McClellan (14.1 MPG, 2.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 0.7 APG, 42.9 FG%, 50.0 FT%), a fine defender and banger, and freshman Steve Tchiengang, a tough power forward who can also hit from downtown.
One problem for Vandy is in the backcourt where the team lacks true guards. The point will be manned by Jermaine Beal (27.5 MPG, 7.6 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 4.6 APG, 38.4 FG%, 75.7 FT%). The junior is the only guy in the backcourt who has significant experience. Sophomore Andre Walker (11.2 MPG, 2.4 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 1.1 APG, 38.5 FG%, 54.3 FT%), who last season was at times very effective on offense and defense, may get the chance to start on the wing. If he can play more consistently, he’ll be an important contributor. Freshman point man Brad Tinsley, a skilled combo guard, may see significant minutes. Sophomore Jamie Graham (4.3 MPG, 1.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 0.7 APG, 42.6 FG%, 50.0 FT%) is fine on “D.”
Vandy, without one senior on board and just two juniors, will probably
struggle this season. This is a year of adjustments and game-time
learning. A third straight NCAA appearance is unlikely, but the
Dores could make it to the NIT. Fourth-place in the SEC East is
the most likely regular season scenario for this club.