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State of the Program This Week

For discussion of Vanderbilt Commodores men's basketball games and recruiting.

Moderators: NateSY, KarenYates, Vandyman74, roanoke, VandyWhit, kerrigjl, BrentVU, jfgogold

alathIN
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State of the Program This Week

Post by alathIN » Fri May 07, 2021 8:01 pm

Seems like just last week I was lamenting the Disu transfer and thinking the outlook was pretty dismal.
The only thing that's really changed is the recruitment of Dezonie, but there's a gold tinge to my outlook again.

With Robbins, Chatman, Pippen, and Disu I'd have said we have a roster for getting some wins in the 2021-22 season. Next year's team will have the dubious distinction of most of the best players being freshmen (or Freshman-ish; guys without a full season of previous experience). That is not a formula for winning a lot of games right away.
But sometimes there is a "narrative arc" of a coach's tenure - basically amounts to: "Can you make a plausible case that the program going in the right direction?"
Winning in 2021-22 would certainly have provided that.
But I think there can still be an optimistic arc based on young talent. Stackhouse is a proven player development guru and I'd say a pretty good game coach. The question has been is he bringing good enough talent in to the program.
Dezonie Dorsey and Daniels is a heck of an incoming 2021 freshman class and the 2022 class already looks really good with Dort and Shelby. Stackhouse has gone a long way toward answering the questions about his recruiting, plus bringing in some quality transfers.

Next year's projected roster, not by position, but by age/experience:
Freshmen or Frosh-ish:
Lawrence
Dezonie
Frank
Dorsey
Daniels
Experienced Proven Contributors
Chatman
Wright
Robbins
Some Experience, Could Up Their Games
QMB
Thomas
Stute
Ongoing Project
Odusipe
(PS - not giving up on Odusipe - thinking of Fez, Siakam, and other "raw athlete" type guys, I think there's a realistic prospect he could be really good as a Junior/Senior).

I don't see this roster winning a lot in 2021 but I think we will see some talented young players growing and improving throughout the year.
Throw in the 2022 incoming class, and I think we could end the 2021 season feeling really good about the future and the stockpile of talent for Stackhouse's Player Development Factory.
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docdore
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Re: State of the Program This Week

Post by docdore » Sat May 08, 2021 7:00 am

thomas is an experienced proven contributor, imho.
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UltimateVUFan
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Re: State of the Program This Week

Post by UltimateVUFan » Sat May 08, 2021 1:02 pm

docdore wrote:
Sat May 08, 2021 7:00 am
thomas is an experienced proven contributor, imho.
He was a solid late pickup last year, especially considering how unheralded he was as a recruit. However, he was a little turnover prone to be the starting PG on an SEC team looking to climb out of the cellar. I agree with the OP that he is a promising player who still needs to up his game if the team is going to rely on him in the possible absence of SPjr.
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Re: State of the Program This Week

Post by Jason94 » Sat May 08, 2021 3:27 pm

docdore wrote:
Sat May 08, 2021 7:00 am
thomas is an experienced proven contributor, imho.
At the moment he is a proven spot up shooter who is a bit position-less. He is both short and small, and doesn't possess great athleticism to make up for his lack of size. His size suggest he should play the point, but he did not prove to be a good passer or ball handler as a freshman. His foul rate was only exceeded by QMB and is a bit of an indicator that he was overmatched defensively.

He will play because he is likely our best returning three point shooter, but has to get passable in other aspects of the game in order to avoid being an overall liability.
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Jason94
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Re: State of the Program This Week

Post by Jason94 » Sat May 08, 2021 3:28 pm

alathIN wrote:
Fri May 07, 2021 8:01 pm
Seems like just last week I was lamenting the Disu transfer and thinking the outlook was pretty dismal.
The only thing that's really changed is the recruitment of Dezonie, but there's a gold tinge to my outlook again.

With Robbins, Chatman, Pippen, and Disu I'd have said we have a roster for getting some wins in the 2021-22 season. Next year's team will have the dubious distinction of most of the best players being freshmen (or Freshman-ish; guys without a full season of previous experience). That is not a formula for winning a lot of games right away.
But sometimes there is a "narrative arc" of a coach's tenure - basically amounts to: "Can you make a plausible case that the program going in the right direction?"
Winning in 2021-22 would certainly have provided that.
But I think there can still be an optimistic arc based on young talent. Stackhouse is a proven player development guru and I'd say a pretty good game coach. The question has been is he bringing good enough talent in to the program.
Dezonie Dorsey and Daniels is a heck of an incoming 2021 freshman class and the 2022 class already looks really good with Dort and Shelby. Stackhouse has gone a long way toward answering the questions about his recruiting, plus bringing in some quality transfers.

Next year's projected roster, not by position, but by age/experience:
Freshmen or Frosh-ish:
Lawrence
Dezonie
Frank
Dorsey
Daniels
Experienced Proven Contributors
Chatman
Wright
Robbins
Some Experience, Could Up Their Games
QMB
Thomas
Stute
Ongoing Project
Odusipe
(PS - not giving up on Odusipe - thinking of Fez, Siakam, and other "raw athlete" type guys, I think there's a realistic prospect he could be really good as a Junior/Senior).

I don't see this roster winning a lot in 2021 but I think we will see some talented young players growing and improving throughout the year.
Throw in the 2022 incoming class, and I think we could end the 2021 season feeling really good about the future and the stockpile of talent for Stackhouse's Player Development Factory.
This roster really needs a proven scorer. Pippen returning is probably the difference between 3-4 wins and 7-8 wins.
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Re: State of the Program This Week

Post by Ndorefin » Sat May 08, 2021 7:15 pm

Jason94 wrote:
Sat May 08, 2021 3:27 pm
docdore wrote:
Sat May 08, 2021 7:00 am
thomas is an experienced proven contributor, imho.
At the moment he is a proven spot up shooter who is a bit position-less. He is both short and small, and doesn't possess great athleticism to make up for his lack of size. His size suggest he should play the point, but he did not prove to be a good passer or ball handler as a freshman. His foul rate was only exceeded by QMB and is a bit of an indicator that he was overmatched defensively.

He will play because he is likely our best returning three point shooter, but has to get passable in other aspects of the game in order to avoid being an overall liability.
That’s a little harsh, Jason. I realize he wasn’t a highly rated recruit, but he made some significant contributions in several games last year. Stats never tell the whole story, so why don’t we celebrate him as the sparkplug he became in the games where he got hot and hit some critical 3s. He won’t play a significant role next year, but he gives it all he has and will play an important role in a few games and was the biggest surprise and most effective contributor from all the frosh last year.
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Re: State of the Program This Week

Post by Jason94 » Sat May 08, 2021 9:32 pm

Ndorefin wrote:
Sat May 08, 2021 7:15 pm
Jason94 wrote:
Sat May 08, 2021 3:27 pm
docdore wrote:
Sat May 08, 2021 7:00 am
thomas is an experienced proven contributor, imho.
At the moment he is a proven spot up shooter who is a bit position-less. He is both short and small, and doesn't possess great athleticism to make up for his lack of size. His size suggest he should play the point, but he did not prove to be a good passer or ball handler as a freshman. His foul rate was only exceeded by QMB and is a bit of an indicator that he was overmatched defensively.

He will play because he is likely our best returning three point shooter, but has to get passable in other aspects of the game in order to avoid being an overall liability.
That’s a little harsh, Jason. I realize he wasn’t a highly rated recruit, but he made some significant contributions in several games last year. Stats never tell the whole story, so why don’t we celebrate him as the sparkplug he became in the games where he got hot and hit some critical 3s. He won’t play a significant role next year, but he gives it all he has and will play an important role in a few games and was the biggest surprise and most effective contributor from all the frosh last year.
I didn't say that he wasn't a gamer or someone who didn't do as much as could be expected of him or didn't play hard. But I'm looking at who will contribute next season, and if he is expected to play starter's minutes (as he did last season), then we are going to struggle. The post I was responding to suggested that Thomas was a proven contributor, and I was adding context to that suggestion. I thought my assessment was fairly clinical in nature, as he cannot affect how tall he is or his natural athleticism, it is definitely not a commentary on his character.
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Re: State of the Program This Week

Post by alathIN » Sat May 08, 2021 9:55 pm

Maybe I should clarify what I mean by "could up their games."
These are players who have at least one season of SEC experience, who have shown a combination of strengths and weaknesses, and it remains to be seen how much they can contribute. For example, both Stute and Thomas showed they can get hot from behind the 3pt line, and they both were at times a liability on defense.
If one or both of them makes significant offseason improvements, they could assume a bigger role... or fail to do so and be limited role players.
That's what I mean by "could up their games."
If last year's QMB is our best post player, we probably won't have a great season. If in late January everyone is saying, "wow, QMB has really improved his defense and rebounding in the paint," that will portend really good things for him and the team.
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Re: State of the Program This Week

Post by Jason94 » Sun May 09, 2021 12:01 pm

alathIN wrote:
Sat May 08, 2021 9:55 pm
Maybe I should clarify what I mean by "could up their games."
These are players who have at least one season of SEC experience, who have shown a combination of strengths and weaknesses, and it remains to be seen how much they can contribute. For example, both Stute and Thomas showed they can get hot from behind the 3pt line, and they both were at times a liability on defense.
If one or both of them makes significant offseason improvements, they could assume a bigger role... or fail to do so and be limited role players.
That's what I mean by "could up their games."
If last year's QMB is our best post player, we probably won't have a great season. If in late January everyone is saying, "wow, QMB has really improved his defense and rebounding in the paint," that will portend really good things for him and the team.
I agree with what you said completely, and got what you were saying originally. Those players, like most players have limitations that they need to improve upon for them to be contributors to a good team. It cannot be controversial to say that no tournament team would have last year's version of Thomas as a starting off guard, which is essentially what Thomas was for us last season. That is not to say that Thomas didn't perform admirably when faced with playing significant minutes against players who were consistently bigger and more athletic than he was, and in many cases was able to use his outside shooting to overcome or mitigate the physical disadvantage he possesses. But it is what it is.
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Re: State of the Program This Week

Post by Nashmann » Mon May 10, 2021 9:04 am

I fully understand you, Jason. Thomas has many limitations to overcome or work on. Can't just be a spot-up shooter.
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Re: State of the Program This Week

Post by Ndorefin » Mon May 10, 2021 11:01 am

We all agree on his limitations and as competitive as he is, I’m sure he is working hard everyday.....he sees it, the coaches see it and everyone sees it, so we are stating the obvious. He is a great spot-up shooter and that will be his role in the future. He will improve on his all around game, but I doubt if he will be able to work on being taller or much bigger. I’m not disagreeing with the above assessments, but, (to coin a phrase) it is what it is and I don’t think criticizing someone who will give everything he’s got to improve is necessary when others don’t give half his effort. Certainly, if he starts, it means others more talented aren’t willing to put forth the effort and the team will suffer because of it, but that won’t be his fault. If he has to start, we may be in trouble, but if that’s the case we would certainly be worse without him.
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Re: State of the Program This Week

Post by mydores » Mon May 10, 2021 12:32 pm

I enjoy watching him because he plays with heart and passion. That’s something that is sorely missing in today’s game. Other than the ability to shoot the ball what did John Jenkins bring to the table? Vandy can win with Thomas in the line up if the other players do their part.
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Re: State of the Program This Week

Post by Jason94 » Mon May 10, 2021 12:41 pm

Ndorefin wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 11:01 am
We all agree on his limitations and as competitive as he is, I’m sure he is working hard everyday.....he sees it, the coaches see it and everyone sees it, so we are stating the obvious. He is a great spot-up shooter and that will be his role in the future. He will improve on his all around game, but I doubt if he will be able to work on being taller or much bigger. I’m not disagreeing with the above assessments, but, (to coin a phrase) it is what it is and I don’t think criticizing someone who will give everything he’s got to improve is necessary when others don’t give half his effort. Certainly, if he starts, it means others more talented aren’t willing to put forth the effort and the team will suffer because of it, but that won’t be his fault. If he has to start, we may be in trouble, but if that’s the case we would certainly be worse without him.
How is noting that he is 5'-11" and 165 lbs criticizing him? Or that it was his fault? You are reading things into my posts that just aren't there.
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Re: State of the Program This Week

Post by Ndorefin » Mon May 10, 2021 1:59 pm

Jason94 wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 12:41 pm
Ndorefin wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 11:01 am
We all agree on his limitations and as competitive as he is, I’m sure he is working hard everyday.....he sees it, the coaches see it and everyone sees it, so we are stating the obvious. He is a great spot-up shooter and that will be his role in the future. He will improve on his all around game, but I doubt if he will be able to work on being taller or much bigger. I’m not disagreeing with the above assessments, but, (to coin a phrase) it is what it is and I don’t think criticizing someone who will give everything he’s got to improve is necessary when others don’t give half his effort. Certainly, if he starts, it means others more talented aren’t willing to put forth the effort and the team will suffer because of it, but that won’t be his fault. If he has to start, we may be in trouble, but if that’s the case we would certainly be worse without him.
How is noting that he is 5'-11" and 165 lbs criticizing him? Or that it was his fault? You are reading things into my posts that just aren't there.
This is to what I was referring, “He will play because he is likely our best returning three point shooter, but has to get passable in other aspects of the game in order to avoid being an overall liability.”

Jason....I certainly enjoy your posts as I find you knowledgeable and insightful. I don’t believe anything you stated was not factual, but I guess I took your comment to be a little harsh in noting his shortcomings and improvements needed “to avoid being an overall liability”. I may be a little over sensitive when it comes to criticism of some VU athletes, as I know, personally, how difficult It is and how hard they have to work to compete in the SEC while being a student at our great University. I apologize if I overreacted.
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Re: State of the Program This Week

Post by UltimateVUFan » Mon May 10, 2021 3:12 pm

mydores wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 12:32 pm
I enjoy watching him because he plays with heart and passion. That’s something that is sorely missing in today’s game. Other than the ability to shoot the ball what did John Jenkins bring to the table? Vandy can win with Thomas in the line up if the other players do their part.
I mean. This is a bit of an apples-oranges comparison. Jenkins is 6’4 and is a truly elite shooter. He shot .483 on just shy of 5 3PA as a freshman. For comparison, Thomas shot .398 on 4 3PA - solid freshman numbers, sure, but not elite. Not to mention he is very much a spot shooter who requires space. Jenkins could often create (though definitely improved on this as he developed during his career) or even shoot over defenders at his size. I believe this gets to part of Jason’s point; not trying to be overly critical, simply realistic about what he brings to the table.
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Re: State of the Program This Week

Post by Jason94 » Mon May 10, 2021 4:53 pm

Ndorefin wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 1:59 pm
Jason94 wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 12:41 pm
Ndorefin wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 11:01 am
We all agree on his limitations and as competitive as he is, I’m sure he is working hard everyday.....he sees it, the coaches see it and everyone sees it, so we are stating the obvious. He is a great spot-up shooter and that will be his role in the future. He will improve on his all around game, but I doubt if he will be able to work on being taller or much bigger. I’m not disagreeing with the above assessments, but, (to coin a phrase) it is what it is and I don’t think criticizing someone who will give everything he’s got to improve is necessary when others don’t give half his effort. Certainly, if he starts, it means others more talented aren’t willing to put forth the effort and the team will suffer because of it, but that won’t be his fault. If he has to start, we may be in trouble, but if that’s the case we would certainly be worse without him.
How is noting that he is 5'-11" and 165 lbs criticizing him? Or that it was his fault? You are reading things into my posts that just aren't there.
This is to what I was referring, “He will play because he is likely our best returning three point shooter, but has to get passable in other aspects of the game in order to avoid being an overall liability.”

Jason....I certainly enjoy your posts as I find you knowledgeable and insightful. I don’t believe anything you stated was not factual, but I guess I took your comment to be a little harsh in noting his shortcomings and improvements needed “to avoid being an overall liability”. I may be a little over sensitive when it comes to criticism of some VU athletes, as I know, personally, how difficult It is and how hard they have to work to compete in the SEC while being a student at our great University. I apologize if I overreacted.
When I say "liability", I mean relative to the guards in the SEC he has to defend or are defending him. Right now, when he shoots well, he is a net positive, but when he doesn't, he is a net negative (in pure terms of the other team scoring more points than we do when we are on the court). An opposing team's mission in terms of neutralizing Thomas is straight forward (not necessarily easy, especially when he is hitting shots) - prevent him from good looks at three. Providing more variable for opponents to have to deal with will greatly enhance his ability to stay on the court playing for an improved team, but his size makes the likelihood of this happening less so than MFD (who is actually a very similar played outside of the 6" height difference). I don't want to take away from his heart or effort, but wanted instead focus on the anticipated contributions of players, which was the point of the OP. He certainly was the most effective freshman, I agree with that sentiment, but even looking at what we have coming in as freshmen next season he will have competition for PT.
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Re: State of the Program This Week

Post by Nashmann » Mon May 10, 2021 11:23 pm

I have a feeling Thomas will have been recruited over or will be shortly. Wouldn't surprise me to see him hit the portal at some point. Not athletic enough for his size to guard the quick larger guards in the SEC. unless he works on other parts of his game significantly he will mostly be used as a spot-up shooter. No doubts about his heart and work ethic!
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