Vanderbilt Basketball: What 2021 Might Look Like For The Roster
Change is a constant in the world of college athletics, and the Vanderbilt Commodores men's basketball roster will have some significant changes in 2021.
Some might consider change a good thing for a team that won just 11 games while losing 21 last season, and some of the changes could help, but the losses will be substantial for head coach Jerry Stackhouse.
Aaron Nesmith- off to the NBA Draft after a season and 14 games in a Commodore uniform. It's the right move for the sophomore star who will be a first-round selection and is touted by most "experts" as the best shooter in the draft class.
Matthew Moyer- The Syracuse transfer never really found himself for the Commodores. He spent most of the season as a role player, coming off the bench. From a depth perspective, Moyer returning would have given Stackhouse another body with which to work, but Moyer just wasn't much of a scorer and that likely would not have changed with another season in Nashville.
Oton Jankovic- the 6'10" Croatian was also a role player for the Commodores in 2020, and as his role increased after the loss of Clevon Brown, Jankovic never established himself in any real way with regularity.
Saben Lee- tossed his name into the draft pool and is being evaluated by NBA teams as we speak. He did not hire an agent and is keeping open the possibility of returning to Vanderbilt for his junior season, depending on the evaluations he receives in this process.
Richard Staymen covers the NBA and Dallas Mavericks for our Sports Illustrated site Dallas Basketball, so we reached out to him to get a look at what Lee might hear in the coming days.
"While Saben Lee doesn’t stand out in the same way as his Vanderbilt teammate Aaron Nesmith, Lee still brings many attractive qualities to the NBA as a point guard. Standing at 6’2”, Lee plays bigger than his size with good post footwork, fearless slashing ability, and with his strong defense. While Lee has to improve his jump shot (32% from 3 as a junior), his ability to get to the rim and create for others allows him to constantly be effective. "
"One area Saben Lee needs to continue improving outside of shooting is his left-hand drives. Lee is a right-hand dominant player and is able to beat his defenders consistently enough with his explosive first step that he can afford to live by his right hand in college, but in the NBA he will have to become ambidextrous."
"Saben Lee’s draft range is likely in the second round or potentially going undrafted. In my most recent mock draft, I have Saben Lee being selected to the Toronto Raptors with the 58th pick. In a class that is strongest at point guard, Lee will have to stick out in pre-draft workouts and show signs that his shot will continue to improve. Lee is unlikely to play major minutes next season as a rookie, should he remain in the draft, so fit isn’t as important in the short-term for many teams. However, a team with an older point guard or a team that lacks point guard depth should target Lee in the second round. Lee is one of the under-the-radar players in the draft, and could very easily turn into one of the bigger steals of the draft if he hits his upside."
The million-dollar question is, will that be good enough to keep Lee in the draft if that is what he hears from the league?
As the roster stands today, without Lee, the starting lineup barring any other transfers of high school signees could look like this.
PG Scotty Pippen Jr.- 6'1" sophomore who played well overall as a freshman, starting the majority of the season.
SG Maxwell Evans- 6'2" senior, became a starter and showed flashes of brilliance, including his 31 point performance in the Commodores win over LSU and his 20 point game in the South Carolina win.
SG DJ Harvey- at 6'6" 235 pounds, he will bring a strong, physical body to the roster. A former four-star prospect, the Notre Dame transfer should be ready to assume some of the scoring load.
SF Dylan Disu- the 6'9" sophomore to be had some impressive moments last season, with his 21 point game against Alabama in their first matchup being his best. He has great range as a shooter to be a stretch four for Stackhouse, he just needs to find consistency and add some muscle to his lean frame.
PF Clevon Brown- The wildcard for Stackhouse and company, Brown missed most of the season, playing in just nine games while averaging 9.0 ppg. He scored in double figures in four of those games including a season-high 19 against South Carolina State. His return will help, and hopefully, he can add some muscle between now and then.
Jordan Wright- Played some solid minutes as his role increased and should take another step with a year in the program.
Myles Stute-Incoming freshman should be able to find a role right away for a team needing bodies.
Ejike Obinna- The big man became a starter, lost the role for a few games and returned to that role later. He had some nice moments including his 13 point game at Ole Miss and twice collecting 12 rebounds in a game, both in SEC play.
Quentin Millora-Brown- at 6'9" the Rice transfer brings length to the COmmodores, and starting experience in D-I basketball, having started 28 of his 32 games with the Owls. He averaged 7.2 ppg during that time and finished third in Conference USA, connecting on 59.8% of his field-goal attempts.
Braelee Albert- the 6'5" walkon found himself in a starter's role in several games last season because of the depth issues the team faced. That experience should serve him well and he should be a solid contributor this season once the coaching staff settles him into a role that hopefully won't include starting.