Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Vandy Basketball Lands #1 Recruiting Target: Welcome Kedren Johnson

Via Jerry Meyer, Rivals Recruiting Analyst (on Twitter @3starmeyer): "Kedren Johnson to Vanderbilt over Ala, Fla, and Lville!" Kedren is the #75 overall prospect in Rivals Top 100 and the #19 point guard. Scout has him ranked as the #21 PG prospect. Kedren is also #91 in the ESPNU Top 100.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a massive reversal in what I thought would be a tough recruiting year for Stallings and his squad. Kedren Johnson was an absolute must-get for the Commodores. Stallings and his staff have been focusing on Kedren for quite some time now. This commitment is huge for four reasons:

1) Kedren is a game-breaking point guard, the kind of player who, added to our lineup, can be a real difference maker in the long-term.

2) He will add depth in a backcourt that was starting to look a little sparse come 2011, particularly depending on Jenkins performance. Jenkins is not projected by most to come out until next year, so a backcourt of Johnson and Jenkins with Fuller and Tinsley would be one of the most dynamic in the SEC.

3) With the looming uncertainty at Tennessee and an entire year that Bruce Pearl will be unable to recruit, if he is even allowed to remain at the school, landing Kedren was another step towards possibly getting a stranglehold on the Middle Tennessee region. With Jenkins and Johnson now in the fold, the chances of us landing players like Alex Poythress in 2012 may increase as there is less in-state competition. If we can keep this pipeline flowing, we'll have a solid base of in-state talent which we can start to build even more fully around.

4) We are being viewed as more intriguing than major out-of-state programs. Johnson was Bama's #1 target after they landed Levi Randolph. Florida was in the mix, as well as Louisville. While we lost out on Casey Prather last year, we have won 2 out of 3 major in-state recruiting battles with Jenkins and Johnson. In short, we're running with the big boys far more than expected.

I owe Kevin Stallings and his staff an apology after this huge news. I mentioned to the VSL brain trust that I felt our recruiting was tailing off and that we were losing some good will. Kedren Johnson was a must-get and Stallings did what needed to be done. Kudos to all of the Vanderbilt staff in landing a big fish for the program. And rumor has it........we're not quite done!

9 comments:

AD said...

Good news, Stanimal. For those of us who don't follow recruiting closely, players like Johnson who are committing now will be on the team for the next season after the upcoming one? Just a clarification on timing. Thanks.

Douglas James said...

Big get by CKS. While I don't believe KJ is to the level of a Jenkins or even to a Taylor in terms of pure talent, his impact can be just as great simply because he is a big strong point guard. His "buzz" impact, especially in the Middle Tennessee area should not be underestimated either. He is our first committ for 2011 and coming off a bad bad, no good, very bad loss in the 1st round of the NCAA, well we needed some positive buzz. As stanimal said this also puts us in a good position to land Alex Poythress and allows CKS not to have to force a 3-star recruit into the program. I like it, like it alot.

Stanimal said...

@AD:

Yes, Johnson is a 2011 recruit and will be around next season, not this one. Johnson was rated as the #1 prospect in the Middle Tennessee region. With the struggles at Tennessee, the Commodores have a real opportunity to establish a definitive pipeline in the Nashville area and beyond. The long-term importance of this commitment cannot be understated.

Anonymous said...

Great news about Kedren!

I just wanted to acknowledge our Vandy boys' performance in Dallas last Sunday. Glad DJ showed up when given the chance to play!

Get well soon HH and CW.

Anonymous said...

Stanimal's comment is dead on about how important this is.

Not that I don't love African Post Thunder, but look at the baseball team. This is exactly the same recruiting plan that's worked wonders for Corbin. Price, Minor, and Gray were all from middle Tennessee, and now the baseball roster is littered with local talent. Secure the best local players, and the rest will fall in place. If that means UT's program falling off the Earth, so much the better.

The turmoil at UT and the downturn at Memphis couldn't have come at a better time. At a minimum, Vandy has to reach the NCAA tournament again this year to keep the pressure on, and the coaching staff surely knows it.

Tom M said...

I hadn't even considered that Jenkins would leave early. Is anyone really talking about that or is it just a lofty expectation that he'll be getting 20 ppg by his junior year?

Oh, and welcome KJ!

Stanimal said...

Definitely not talking about Jenkins leaving early after this season, but leaving the option open because the college basketball landscape is fairly unpredictable.

Bob Loblaw said...

Well done, Commodores, well done. BTW, the word verification tag for this comment was "manaical". That's all.

Anonymous said...

Also with his size, 6-4 200 lbs, he is capable of playing more positions if needed. He is bound to get a little bigger over his years here and could be a dual threat in the future. I'm really lookin forward to this year, hopin not to have anymore run-ins with Kentucky players but hey, at least i got the headband.