Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Instant Analysis: Vanderbilt Trio's Returns "Signficance Should Not Be Understated"'s Eye on College Basketball Blog: Making the Leap: Vandy Trio Returns does a great job capturing the import of today's announcement. Unlike the editors at who don't seem to think the news of Nashville deserves any attention, this story gets just how important the Ezeli, Jenkins, Talyor return is to the Commodores: "On the surface, the casual basketball fan might not care as much about these three players as the star-studded Tar Heels frontcourt...But there is little doubt that Vanderbilt’s trio means more to Kevin Stallings’ program than the North Carolina crew means to Roy Williams." The story goes on to say:
"The return of Jenkins, Taylor and Ezeli to Vanderbilt puts the Commodores in the mix for a top-five preseason ranking and makes them a Final Four threat next season. On paper, they can compete with Kentucky’s band of supremely talented five-star recruits. Without those three, though, Vanderbilt would be a longshot for the NCAA tournament."

While many national college basketball reports choose to ignore or dismiss the import of the trio's return, whoever wrote this post has clearly done some homework (or is a regular reader of VSL):
"Stallings loses zero key players from last season’s team, which won 23 games and earned a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament before flaming out in its first game once again. Double-figure scorer Brad Tinsley returns to run the point, although he will now get help from top-100 freshman Kedren Johnson. Kyle Fuller was also solid off the bench on the perimeter.

Flanking Taylor and Ezeli up front will be Lance Goulbourne, an active rebounder who had a six-game stretch in the middle of the season where he averaged 11.3 rebounds per game. Steve Tchiengang was effective off the bench down low, and Rod Odom is versatile and can stretch the defense.

Simply put, this team is loaded, both inside and out. Not many teams can compete with their trio of Jenkins, Taylor and Ezeli, and the bench adds even further separation.

I'm just glad I've already re-upped my tickets for 2011-12.