Vandy Basketball Pro Day
By: T. Hood
The Vanderbilt Commodores Men's basketball program will be hosting their first Pro Day ever on October 9 at Memorial Gym. All 30 NBA teams are invited to the event, where the players will go through a combine-like practice conducted by coaches and staff. Unfortunately, this event will not be open to fans. The Commodores start practice for the 2018-2019 season September 26.
There's a ton of optimism surrounding the Commodores this upcoming season. Led by coach Bryce Drew and staff, the Commodores were able to secure their best recruiting class in program history. Coach Drew is building the foundation for a big season with the additions of five star freshmen Darius Garland and Simi Shittu along with four star forward Aaron Nesmith. Garland, a Nashville native, was long coveted by many blue blood programs but opted to stay home. The four time state champion is an incredible play maker and shooter. Shittu is an athletic big that provides a prescence down low and will fortify their frontcourt. He is returning off of a major knee injury but appears to be on the right track. Rising sophomore Saben Lee will be alongside Garland in the backcourt and giving an additional offensive punch along with his versatility. The talented combo guard led the Commodores in steals and assists as a true freshman. Lee's play coupled with Garland's playmaking ability will make for a dynamic backcourt in what is arguably the toughest conference in college basketball. Additionally, Joseph Toye who had a big game against conference foe Kentucky will add experience to the nucleus of young players.
Sophomore guard Saben Lee on sharing the point with Darius Garland: “We’ve definitely done some one-two... Definitely a lot more transition, a lot more pick and roll and just making plays.” Adds that that type of basketball fits Bryce Drew’s style as a former PG his himself. pic.twitter.com/zaxbm4UWKJ— Max Herz (@MaxHerzTalks) September 26, 2018
The SEC promises to provide another strong field of teams after sending 8 to the NCAA tournament last year. It is headlined by Kentucky and Tennessee, but Auburn, LSU and others look to make it interesting. Coach Drew was able to lead the Commodores to an NCAA birth in his first season and I believe will have an opportunity this year as well. Overall, the Commodores will have a lot to prove but are headed in the right direction. I can foresee the 1-2 punch of Garland and Lee being very impactful for Vanderbilt and as Shittu regains full strength and health, we will see the Commodores primed for a big year.