Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A New Era is Beginning

Not to take away too much from football, because we still have four games left and a shot at getting to a bowl game (although all of us understandably are disappointed), but something else incredibly exciting is happening in the world of Vanderbilt Athletics.

A new era is beginning for the Commodores men's basketball team.

No one really knows what to expect out of this squad, which has no seniors and 7 players who have never played a college basketball game before.  We do have the bedrock in A.J. at center (who by the way was named to the first team All-SEC).  We have a sturdy point guard in Jermaine "Dolla" Beal, but what do we make of everyone else?

Fortunately CKS hit the trail hard and fast last year and has injected this program with some quality young talent.  I don't know about y'all but I can't wait to see what Brad Tinsley, Jeff Taylor, Lance Goulbourne, and Steve Tchiengang can do out there.  It may take a year or two to get this team to gel, but we might be seeing the Commodores fly higher than they've ever flown before.

There's another guy who I'm anxious to see play, and that is Festus Ezeli.  He's a mammoth with a tremendous work ethic who's only been playing basketball for a short amount of time.  If our gamble on him pays off and he develops into a solid option down-low, Vanderbilt could have a tremendous post presence with him and Ogilvy.

Plus let's not forget some of the other guys we've got, including George Drake, who I know Seamus expects to have a breakout season, and Andre Walker and Darshawn McClellan, who put in quality minutes last season on our way to a 26-8 record.

I've been anxious for this season ever since Tinsley signed his LOI last year and I can't wait to see where this team goes.  With more talent coming in (see John Jenkins, our '09 recruit) Vanderbilt basketball has a bright future ahead of it.

We just might have to endure a dark present to get there...

11 comments:

Tony Arnold said...

I am pumped about the upcoming season. Likely some ups and downs, being young, but could really surprise some people.

I truly believe that if AJ stays for his Jr. year, VU will have a final four caliber team, maybe a National title contender.

I will go out on a limb and say a definite title contender if AJ stays for 4 years (which is doubtful).

Anonymous said...

This team is certainly going to have it's rough patches this year, but they play a really soft non conference schedule which will either be fantastic and allow our team to develop before conference play, or be to easy and leave the young players in for a rude awakening once sec play starts, I could easily see it going both ways. The future is definitely bright however, and next years season opener at the maui invitational could be a spring board into a monster year for vandy bball.

Anonymous said...

i don't think the present will be too dark but def not great. i think a 7-9 or 8-8 season and a total of 18 to 20 wins. there are going to be some games where we get smoked and there will be some games where we're the ones smoking. even last year's team had a few embarassing performances (at florida for one - geez what a horrible game that was). i expect some more of those this year. i'm looking for walker and mr. darshawn to be extremely improved. aj too. i always feel that whoever works out the basketball players does a good job of bulking the guys up over a 2 to 3 year timespan. they should all be bigger and more athletic as well as more comfortable.

Anonymous said...

All that and no mention of Jamie Graham

Anonymous said...

graham didn't do very much last year. he hustles and he can be a disruption defensively, but really we did not use him that much. every now and then we'd see how well he would work and the crowd always went nuts over the guy which i always thought was strange. he brought energy and he is definitely a good defensive and quick player. but i didn't see many signs of offensive skills which this team needs considering all we've lost. i expect graham to play about the same role this year as he did last year, maybe even less since he's actively playing football and the seasons have games at the same time.

Stanimal said...

I think Graham has scoring ability that just hasn't been tapped into. Still, as much as I love his defensive intensity and his hustle, I can't really see him ever turning into a frontline starter who's going to contribute heavily on offense. I agree with the last anonymous' post that his playing both football and basketball at the same time limits his ability to really get involved in the offense because he just doesn't get the same kind of practice time that everyone else does.

That being said, I love what he does on the football field and don't really know if we necessarily need him to fulfill a huge offensive role for us.

Douglas James said...

After the depressing loss against Georgetown two years ago Seamus and Bobby proclaimed George Drake would be 2009 SEC player of the year. I just hope he can put up over 5 points a game. I can't wait to watch this team and also think that if AJ sticks around for his junior year this could be a final four team.

J.B., M.D. said...

I spoke with AJ during Homecoming and he was impressed with the athletic ability of the incoming class. I can't wait to watch this team this year, and to think we'll be much better in the next two years is making me forget football.

J.B., M.D. said...

And AJ loves Vandy. I think it may be all of the beautiful women. Just maybe.

Patti O'Houlihan said...

Your optimism is lovely.

Just watch out for Siena...

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