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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

September 9th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball

 

Vanderbilt Commodores

Overall Rank: #63

Conference Rank: #8 SEC

 

2005-06: 17-13, 7-9, 4th East

2005-06 postseason: NIT

 

Vanderbilt has had their share of ups and downs over the last few years.  This season it could go either way.  An NIT trip would be expected and an NCAA berth would be great for a squad that lacks an interior game.  Anything less than a postseason berth spells trouble for Coach Kevin Stallings.

 

Who’s Out: As if losing Julian Terrell and Mario Moore wasn’t enough, the transfers of DeMarre Carroll and Kyle Madsen really hurt the Commodores.  Terrell averaged 10.5 points and a team high 7.6 rebounds.  Moore, a part-time starter at point guard, averaged 5.7 points and 2.3 assists.  The frontcourt took a huge hit with the unexpected departure of Carroll.  Carroll started over half the games and averaged 10.8 points and 6.4 rebounds.  Madsen, the heir apparent under the basket, left the squad and will transfer to Ohio State.

 

Who’s In: Ross Neltner will be expected to start at power forward and help out on the glass.  The 6-9, 240 pound Fort Thomas, Kentucky product averaged 2.9 points and 3.1 rebounds two years ago at LSU.  After sitting out last season, Neltner will be ready to be a leader in the frontcourt.  Incoming freshman JeJuan Brown has all the skills necessary to become a great post player for the Commodores.  With a little experience, he will be a star, but for now anything more than a contribution off the bench will greatly help out the post issues.  Jermaine Beal will be the backup point guard.  He will look to pass first and his defensive peskiness will be an attribute right away.  Redshirt freshman George Drake will add more depth on the wings.  It will be tough for Drake to find too many minutes this year, but he is a hardworker and solid shooter.

 

Who to Watch: Due to the lack of frontcourt players, we may see a more up-tempo style in Nashville this year.  And that works perfectly well for point guard Alex ‘Red’ Gordon, wings Shan Foster and Derrick Byars and sixth man Dan Cage.  Gordon proved last year that he can run the show effectively.  The quick 6-2 Pensacola, Florida native will need to become a floor leader, but he has the talent to lead Vandy to an NCAA Tournament.  The strength of this team is Foster and Byars on the wings.  Both are dangerous long range threats and should once again be the top scorers on the team.  Sharpshooter Cage will provide a spark off of the bench.  If any success finds Vanderbilt during the 2006-2007 campaign, it will be on this underappreciated groups shoulders.

 

Final Projection: Alan Metcalfe averaged just 7.6 minutes in 19 contests last year, but it is hoped he can be much more effective this year under the basket.  The 6-9, 260 pounder will split time at the five spot with fellow returning big man Ted Skuchas.  Skuchas has much more experience, starting 19 games last year, but if Vandy wants to have a special season, Metcalfe will have to live up to his potential.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT

 

Projected Starting Five:

Alex Gordon, Junior, Guard, 5.7 points per game

Shan Foster, Junior, Guard, 15.9 points per game

Derrick Byars, Senior, Guard, 12.4 points per game

Ross Neltner, Junior, Forward, DNP last season

Alan Metcalfe, Junior, Forward, 2.2 points per game

64 West Virginia » Complete List » 62 Akron

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