Last season: 12-20
Coach: Bryce Drew
Who’s gone: G Matthew Fisher-Davis, G Riley LaChance and F Jeff Roberson finished their eligibility. Larry Austin Jr., graduated in May and transferred to Central Michigan. G Payton Willis transferred to Minnesota, and C Djery Baptiste left team to graduate in December and transfer to UMass.
Who’s back: Two starters return in sophomore G Saben Lee and senior G Joe Toye. Juniors Matt Ryan, a 6-foot-8 forward, is eligible after sitting out a year after transferring from Notre Dame. C Yanni Wetzel also is eligible after playing at St. Mary’s College in Texas. Others include Maxwell Evans, Clevon Brown, Ejike Obinna.
Who’s new: Highest-rated recruiting class ever for Vanderbilt with PG Darius Garland, F Aaron Nesmith and F/C Simisola Shittu. Nesmith beat out Duke signee Zion Williamson as the Gatorade South Carolina player of the year, and Garland and Shittu both were consensus five-star recruits.
The skinny: Vanderbilt is coming off its worst season since 2002-03 when the Commodores went 11-18 in Kevin Stallings’ fourth season as coach. Drew is going into his third season in charge of the Commodores and hopes to finally have the pieces to play his style of ball.
Expectations: As talented as the Commodores are, their challenge is competing in a much tougher SEC with five teams in the preseason Top 25, including Kentucky and Tennessee as teams Vanderbilt must play not once but twice this season. Their schedule also includes a visit from Auburn, and the Commodores are predicted to finish eighth in the SEC.