Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Waiting in the Wings

Naturally, when a team starts 16-0 for the first time in school history one isn't exactly inclined to look into the future.

And while there will be no Shan Foster, Alex Gordon, Ross Neltner, or Alan Metcalfe suiting up for the Commodores next year, there are a few worthy recruits who could provide an immediate impact. To begin with, Steve Tchiengang (see right, and sorry, no pronunciation guide available) chose Vanderbilt over solid programs like Georgia Tech, Oklahoma, and Notre Dame. Rivals tabs him as the No. 79 player in the class of 2008. He has a unique skill-set with a 6'8" frame that can bang inside coupled with the ability to knock down the 18-foot jumper.

Next on the list is Lance Goulbourne, a 6'7" forward for the Hun School in New Jersey. Goulbourne received offers from Marquette, Virginia, West Virginia, and Notre Dame. He's got a great stroke past the three point line, but his well-roundness enables him to score in quite a few ways.

Goulbourne is a particularly attractive recruit for the Dores because he will provide scoring from the bench, which has been an achilles heel for the 2007 Dores. The third and final member of the 2008 class is the 6'6" Jordan Smart, who will be walking on. Smart is appropriately named, as he turned down the top three academic institutions in the country--Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Smart is a proven shooter in nailing over 40% of his threes and 90% of his free throws. It remains to be seen whether he has the first step to get an open shot or the footwork to play defense.

Joining Tchiengang, Goulbourne, and Smart are Festus Ezeli and Charles Hinkle, who are both coming off red-shirt seasons. Hinkle is said to possess excellent three point shooting ability, but probably will see limited playing time. Even among the three new recruits for next year, Festus Ezeli is easily the most intriguing.

His gargantuan stature gives Vanderbilt a legitimate shot-blocking presence and a good partner for A.J. Ogilvy on the offensive glass. How Stallings divvies up playing time for a team that already has forwards Andre Walker and Darshawn McClellan will be interesting. It might be the first Vandy team in years to not only reverse the trend of guard laden Vanderbilt teams, but also to be oriented towards the front-court.

Check back later for the Class of 2009...


Jarred Amato said...

Is it just me or does that picture look like a mini Kevin Durant? Man, that makes me excited...

Chip Robie said...

I was more thinking Kevin Garnett, but that would work too!