Vanderbilt Preview Capsule

Vanderbilt Preview Capsule

Eds: With: BKC–Vanderbilt-Preview.

By The Associated Press=

Vanderbilt

Last season: 21-14, lost in NIT quarterfinals.

Nickname: Commodores. Coach: Kevin Stallings.

Conference: Southeastern.

– Key returners: Four starters return led by All-SEC center Damian Jones returning for his junior season. He led the SEC in shooting percentage and was Vandy’s top scorer (14.5) and rebounder (6.5). The others include Wade Baldwin IV, Jeff Roberson and Riley LaChance, who led SEC freshmen scoring 12.3 points per game. Matthew Fisher-Davis led SEC freshmen hitting 1.9 3-pointers per game, and Baldwin led the league’s freshmen in assists. Those four freshmen all played crucial roles last season and now are building on that experience.

– Who left: James Siakam is the only starter lost, and he played a crucial role averaging 9.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Siakam could grab a crucial rebound or get a much-needed basket with his athleticism. Guard Shelton Mitchell transferred to Clemson after his freshman season, and Shelby Moats, a leader with his work ethic, graduated.

The Skinny: Stallings has his deepest, most talented team since winning the SEC tournament in 2012 when the Commodores knocked off Kentucky on its way to a national title. Center Damian Jones is headed to the NBA after this season, and Stallings has plenty of shooters to keep opponents from smothering the preseason first-team All-SEC pick.