In the spring of 2006, Vanderbilt was at a bit of a crossroads. The Commodore careers of Mario Moore and Julian Terrell had come to an end in an unfitting fashion. Preseason promise soured and lofty expectations were not met. The gutshot of an underachieving team turned into a nightmare when it was announced that DeMarre Carroll would transfer elsewhere. Really, it's amazing how quickly things can go south (Gamecock fans I'm sure can empathize with this sentiment).
Jermaine Beal, not even graduated from high school but committed and signed to a scholarship to play for the Commodores, had a message for Vandy fans:
"Relax. I'll be there in the fall and I'll be taking care of business" (or something to that effect).
Thank you, Jermaine Beal, for keeping your promise.
90 Wins. 40 SEC regular season wins. You never saw a losing season in conference play. You have a career win percentage of 70.3% and an SEC win percentage of 63.5%.
You came here, not without flaws, but eager to learn and more than willing to work. You leave as the winningest basketball player in Vanderbilt Men's Basketball history. Your statistics speak for themselves. You represent everything that makes it so easy and so great to be a Commodore fan. It's been our pleasure. Thank you for everything.
Vanderbilt is the second most efficient offensive team and the twelfth most efficient defensive team that the Gamecocks will have played this season. South Carolina is the 22nd most efficient offensive team and the thirteenth most efficient defensive team that the Commodores will have played this season.
Devan Downey needs no introduction. He has been particularly effective at scoring against the Commodores. I would expect tomorrow to be no different. That said, Vanderbilt dominates the tempo-free statistics in this matchup, nearly sweeping the Gamecocks outright among the key contributors.
Four Factors: Vanderbilt has very large margins in eFG% and FTRate. South Carolina has slim leads in TO% and OReb%. Prediction: South Carolina wins TO%. Vanderbilt wins everything else.
Traditional Statistics - South Carolina Gamecocks
Traditional Statistics - Vanderbilt Commodores
Vanderbilt will honor senior Jermaine Beal and senior managers Sam Ferry and Justin Wheeler after the game in their last appearances at Memorial Gym. Beal, the Commodores' lone senior player to be honored Saturday, will leave the Vanderbilt program as the winningest four-year player in the history of the program. The senior point guard from DeSoto, Texas, currently has 90 wins in his four-year career - the previous best four-year total of wins came from 1965-68, when Vanderbilt won 87 contests.
"If he's not first team All-SEC, then they shouldn't have a voting," Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings said. "He should get consideration for player of the year. I understand that there are guys that are more hyped. But I would challenge anybody to go find a guy in this league that has meant more to their team — on a team that's really been successful like ours has been — than Jermaine has meant to us."
It will be a sad day tomorrow at Memorial. Commodore Nation will say goodbye to the all-time wins leader in Vanderbilt history. Jermaine Beal has amassed 90 wins in his career, and will look to add number 91 against South Carolina.
Garnet and Black Attack is the SB Nation affiliate for the South Carolina Gamecocks. They are the fine folks responsible for the organized chaos that is the SEC Hoops Power Poll.
Tipoff is scheduled for 13.00 CT and the game will be televised by ESPN2 (Comcast ch. 29 or 203 HD). Our open gamethread will go live about an hour before tipoff. Also, don't forget to head over to Stat-King to submit your predictions for the game. Finally, senior day honors will take place *AFTER* the game.
Dolla Dolla Beal, y'all.