Vanderbilt Commodores

Fresh off an SEC Coach of the Year award, the Vanderbilt Commodores attempt to weather the offseason once again.




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The Vanderbilt Commodores finished 6th in the SEC last season despite a 22-15 overall record, with an 11-7 conference record.  The Commodores started slow but came on strong in the later parts of the season. Selected for the NIT, Vanderbilt made the quarterfinals before losing to UAB. The ‘Dores beat Pitt and Fresno State in non-conference, and then defeated Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi State, and Auburn in SEC games. 

The late-season turnaround earned Jerry Stackhouse the SEC coach of the year as well as the Ben Jobe award, despite not culminating in an NCAA tournament bid. However, the momentum coming into this season cooled down a bit after multiple players left in the transfer portal this offseason. Jordan Wright and Myles Stute both left for other SEC schools, while Trey Thomas, Noah Shelby, Quintin Millora-Brown, and Malik Dia all transferred to mid-majors. Star center Liam Robbins graduated and signed with the Pelicans as an UDFA. 

While Vanderbilt did get some much-needed help in the transfer portal with Tasos Kamateros and Evan Taylor, perhaps the biggest addition was simply a non-subtraction. Tyrin Lawrence entered the transfer portal and was linked to multiple schools before eventually deciding to come back to Vanderbilt. 

Click here to learn more about our preseason top 100 teams heading into the 2023-24 college basketball season.

Head coach: Jerry Stackhouse (5th season, all at Vanderbilt)

2021-22 record: 22-15 (11-7)

2022 postseason finish: Lost to UAB, 67-59, in quarterfinals of NIT Tournament

Notable departures: Liam Robbins (NBA), Jordan Wright (transferred to LSU), Myles Stute (transferred to South Carolina), Trey Thomas (transferred to Bowling Green), Noah Shelby (transferred to Rice)

Notable non-conference games: vs. Texas Tech (Dec. 16, Fort Worth), vs. North Carolina State (Nov. 23, Las Vegas), at Memphis (Dec. 23)

Projected Rotation

PG: Ezra Manjon (6-0, 170, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 10.5 PPG, 3.8 APG, 2.7 RPG

SG: Tyrin Lawrence (6-4, 200, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 13.1 PPG,  4.4 RPG, 1.7 APG, 50.2 FG% 

SF: Evan Taylor (6-6, 205, Gr.)

2022-23 stats: 14.2 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.1 APG, 80.0 FT% (Lehigh)

PF: Tasos Kamateros (6-8, 240, Gr.)

2022-23 stats: 12.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.7 APG, 40.1 3PT% (South Dakota)

C: Lee Dort (6-10, 255, So.)

2022-23 stats: 1.7 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.2 APG, 65.0 FG%, 6.5 MPG, 17 games played

6: Colin Smith (6-8, 215, So.)

2022-23 stats: 4.7 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 0.6 APG, 37.6 3PT%

7: Ven-Allen Lubin (6-8, 225, So.)

2022-23 stats: 6.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 0.4 APG (Notre Dame)

8: Malik Presley (6-6, 185, Fr.)

247Sports Composite No. 163 rated recruit

9: Carter Lang (6-9, 245, Fr.)

247Sports Composite No. 177 rated recruit

10: Paul Lewis (6-2, 170, So.)

2022-23 stats: 2.9 PPG, 0.9 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.4 SPG, 10.0 MPG

11: Isaiah West (6-2, 190, Fr.)

247Sports Composite No. 202 rated recruit

12: Jason Rivera-Torres (6-7, 190, Fr.)

247Sports Composite No. 110 rated recruit

13: JaQualon Roberts (6-8, 210, Fr.)

247Sports Composite three-star recruit

14: Jordan Williams (6-3, 205, So.)

2022-23 stats: Redshirt at Texas A&M

Vanderbilt Commodores MVP: Tyrin Lawrence

The best news of the offseason was the return of Tyrin Lawrence. While it’s never a good sign for a program when the high point of an offseason is simply retaining a player, Lawrence’s return is worth all the hype in Nashville and more. He was the heartbeat of the late-season surge for the Commodores, and when Liam Robbins went down against Kentucky, Lawrence made sure the Commodores didn’t miss a beat. Averaging 13.1 PPG on 50.2% shooting from the field, Lawrence can score from everywhere on the court. And don’t forget that shot that took down rival Tennessee at the buzzer.

Fending off programs like Auburn and Georgia in the portal was huge for this Vanderbilt staff as they brought back Lawrence. While Liam Robbins was arguably the best player on the roster last year, Lawrence was the most consistent offensive threat for the ‘Dores. Statistically, Lawrence placed 11th in the conference in offensive rating and 12th in offensive win shares. He’s able to get to the basket and draw fouls as well, shooting the 13th-most free throws in the SEC last season and 7th-most for a player in the guard position. Pacing the ‘Dores in points produced last season, the Vanderbilt offense should be powered by Lawrence again this year. 

Especially given the exodus of transfers out of Nashville this offseason, Lawrence may have to do some heavy lifting on the offensive side of the ball. Vanderbilt no longer has the benefit of depth, and with 10 of 14 projected players on the roster being underclassmen, it won’t be shocking to see Lawrence finish this season with averages over 16-18 PPG. 

Vanderbilt Commodores make-or-break player: Ezra Manjon 

Manjon is shifty and one of the quickest point guards in the conference. If you need evidence, check out this game-winner against Auburn. Or this absolute dime to Tyrin Lawrence at the buzzer to beat rival Tennessee. Manjon is the poster child for keeping his cool in big moments. Is there any other lead guard in the conference that I’d rather have the ball with 5 seconds left? Maybe Wade Taylor IV? Even then, I’d give the nod to Manjon. 

He started out his career at UC-Davis, where he scored 1,028 for the Aggies over 3 seasons before transferring to Jerry Stackhouse and the ‘Dores. His listed height is 6’0 but he could be mistaken for 5’11. That really doesn’t matter, because Manjon is capable of doing everything he needs to do on a basketball court. Who led the Commodores in AST% last year? It wasn’t Tyrin Lawrence or Jordan Wright, it was Manjon with a 27.6% mark, almost 10% higher than Wright, who was second on the team. He’s careful with the ball, with only 2.0 turnovers per 40 minutes. Really, Ezra has every quality you’d want from a lead guard. 

The duo of Manjon and Lawrence is a fantastic 1-2 combo, and transfers Evan Taylor and Tasos Kamateros should shine as well, but after that, it’s really a mystery where the offense is going to come from. However, regardless of who’s shooting, it will be easier when Manjon’s the one getting them the ball. 

Key analytic: Opponent offensive rebounds per game

Even with Liam Robbins on the court for most of each game, Vanderbilt struggled with giving up second chances to their opponents. For the year, they ranked 334th out of 363 schools with 9.9 opponent offensive rebounds per game. After Robbins went down, however, the defensive rebounding was nowhere to be seen. In three consecutive March games against Mississippi State, LSU, and Kentucky, Vandy gave up 21, 20, and 18 offensive rebounds. Coppin State, who ranked last in the country in opponent offensive rebounds, still only gave up 11.4 per game. 

The national average per game sat at around 8.2 per game, but Vanderbilt had 22 games last season in which they gave up more than 8 offensive rebounds. Looking ahead to this year, Vanderbilt will lose 4 of 5 top defensive rebounders from last season. Liam Robbins, Jordan Wright, Myles Stute, and Quintin Millora-Brown are all gone, leaving a void in an already struggling stat category. Who’s capable of stepping up this year? Lawrence has the most defensive rebounds by a returning player with 3.8, followed by Manjon with 2.1 and Colin Smith with 1.7.

It’s not realistic to assume Manjon is going to up his average when he stands at 6’0” and has to replace 4 players over 6′ 6″. Incoming transfers Tasos Kamateros and Evan Taylor combined for 10.9 defensive rebounds per game, but against mid-major competition. Lawrence at 6 ‘4, Kamateros at 6’ 8, and Taylor at 6 ‘6 should all help fill the void, but replacing the role that 7-footer Robbins and 6’ 10 Quintin Millora-Brown had on the defensive glass is still a need. However, the replacements may already be on the roster. 

The trio of Lee Dort, Colin Smith, and Carter Lang is the key to improving the defensive rebounding stat category this season. Dort, although he only averaged 6.5 MPG last season, is the tallest player on the roster at 6’10, and was a 4-star recruit in the class of 2022. Playing second-string center behind Liam Robbins won’t typically grant a freshman much opportunity, so there’s a small sample size to show from last season. Dort did lead the Commodores in rebounds per 40 minutes, even ahead of Liam Robbins, but there’s no denying that he’s raw.

Dort had 1.5 fouls per game in just 6.5 minutes, so he has to clean that up this season if he wants an expanded role. Smith could be the 6th man this year after averaging 4.7 PPG on 16.8 MPG last season. He ranks 3rd among returning players in rebounds per 40 minutes, and his height at 6 ‘8 could mean expanded minutes at the 4. Freshman Carter Lang enters as the second-tallest player on the roster behind Dort. Being an underclassman on this roster shouldn’t be a huge obstacle to court minutes, as mentioned above, 10 of 14 players are underclassmen. Lang could see minutes at center or power forward, and it seems he’s put on weight since arriving in Nashville, listing at 245 pounds on the team roster but just 220 on his 247 recruiting page. 

It will be hard to improve on last year’s opponent offensive rebounding numbers, even with such a high number to start with, due to all the personnel losses. However, it’s not unachievable. Stackhouse will have to make scheme changes on defense to prevent second chances, Dort will have to stay out of foul trouble, Kamateros and Taylor need to produce on the glass, and the freshmen need to be reliable on the court. If all that happens, Vanderbilt can drop their opponent’s per game rate closer to 7.5-8.5 per game, which isn’t fantastic, but is certainly preferable to last year’s mark. 

Vanderbilt Commodores 2023-24 projections

Projected conference finish: 12th in SEC

Projected postseason ceiling: NIT Bid

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