While Jerry Stackhouse and company certainly didn’t turn any heads during his 1st season on West End, there is definitely something to build on for the future. As disappointing as it sounds, an 11-21 (3-15) record was a success if you really take a dive into what Coach Stackhouse had to work with. After losing his best post presence, Clevon Brown, and projected lottery pick, Aaron Nesmith, to season ending injuries, Coach Stack had to dig deep into his bag of tricks and find a way to re-energize his team midway through the 2019 campaign. For the most part, he managed to keep the team together and battle all the way to end of every game, despite playing in the top conference in college basketball.
At times, there were 3 to 4 walk-on’s on the Court for the Commodores and a severe lack of depth off the bench. This just goes to show Vandy fans that Stackhouse did a marvelous job keeping this team competitive for most of the season despite having to overcome many obstacles along the way. On another note, Vanderbilt won their last 2 conference games (@Bama, vs SC) with 7 scholarship players. This reveals the desire and grit this team has every time they touched the court. Overall a Solid first season for the Stackhouse era with a limited roster overcoming an injury to a lottery pick for two years straight.
Now we look ahead to the 2020 Season for Commodores. It’s going to be a very intriguing one there’s no doubt about it. After losing top talent at the guard position to the NBA Draft, Vanderbilt fans may wonder where the scoring going to come from next season. Well, it starts with the X-factor in my opinion, the Notre Dame transfer DJ Harvey who will most likely start at Small Forward for the Commodores. The former 4-Star recruit of out high school averaged 10.7 points for the Irish during the 2018-19 season.
Harvey should be ready for a breakout season after many practices and sessions with Aaron Nesmith this past season. He has been putting in tons of work in the gym that’s for sure. After Harvey, Coach Stack will need his Guards to be very consistent next season. That starts with PG Scottie Pippen Jr. and SG Maxwell Evans. There’s no doubt both are capable of putting up big stats lines, but the question is can they do it every night?
Stackhouse has also found himself with a very nice front court to work with. Clevon Brown receiving a 5th year of eligibility is huge for Vanderbilt. Brown is by far the best shot blocker and defensive presence in the paint. Sophomore Standout Dylan Disu will also be a very nice piece in the front court and will be relied on heavily for his offensive ability outside and in the post.
This leads to a predicted starting lineup of Pippen Jr-Evans-Harvey-Disu-Brown. The main difference from last years to and this years upcoming team will be the depth off the bench. Stackhouse added 4 2020 recruits and 2 transfers to the 2020 roster. This will be a massive improvement in the Commodore’s ability to stay in games late with the big dogs of the SEC, something Vanderbilt struggled severely last season.
It starts with Guard depth. Issac McBride, the Kansas transfer/commit, will be a big piece backing up Pippen Jr. Sophomore Jordan Wright and Freshman Myles Stute will likely backup the Notre Dame transfer at the Small forward position although both can most definitely play Power Forward as well. Redshirt Junior Ejike Obinna will be a nice veteran option off the bench to add further the depth down low for the Commodores.
Something Vandy fans haven’t seen in a while is quality depth. Rice Transfer Quentin Millora-Brown will get some action as well early on while Freshman Akeem Odusipe seems likely for a redshirt season to improve his skillset. The only question mark going forward is wether Sophomore Braelee Albert will receive a scholarship after being a walk-on last season. Albert started in most games down the stretch and will be interesting to see if he gets a coveted scholarship.
Overall, Vanderbilt fans should be very pleased with the job Jerry Stackhouse has done to get the roster back to full capacity with quality depth and hopefully it shows itself in the 2020 campaign. Gonna be an exciting one for Commodore nation!