The 2015 SEC preseason media basketball poll picked Vanderbilt to finish right behind the Kentucky Wildcats. Kentucky received 406 points as favorites to take the SEC title, which is no surprise, but Vandy followed closely with 357 points.
Vanderbilt basketball picked by media to finish 2nd in SEC – Vanderbilt – Scout https://t.co/BoLx2S6FIn
— VandyMania.com (@VandyManiacom) October 21, 2015
The Commodores are experienced on the court this year considering seven of the top nine players on the team from last year are returning. Four of them are starters, and all of them helped Vandy advance to the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament.
Although there are new additions to the team like freshman Djery Baptiste and Cornell University transfer Nolan Cressler, the changes are for the better according to coach Kevin Stallings.
“I’ve learned that you can have the exact same guys back and have a completely different team,” Stallings said when speaking to the Tennessean’s Adam Sparks. “The dynamic just changes. But the confidence in the group that we are bringing back is such that if it changes, it will only change for the better.”
Damian Jones, a 7-foot, 245-pound center, is one of the key players returning. The junior, who received First Team All-SEC honors, averaged 14.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season, and blocked 70 shots.
Vanderbilt star Damian Jones to enter NBA Draft https://t.co/Kvq8F3114A
— CollegeBasketbllTalk (@CBTonNBC) October 21, 2015
The potential 2016 NBA draft pick will be one to watch out for, especially with the help of forward Luke Kornet, point guard Wade Baldwin, and forward Jeff Roberson.
The Commodores will open up the season Nov. 13 against Austin Peay.