This is what I have learned this season:
[I want to preface my comments by saying I graduated from Vanderbilt in 2004 and have watched every game the last 10 years. I witnessed in person the buzzer beater against Murray State last year and that stung. I thought last week against South Carolina was a travesty and then we repeated the exact same mistakes (mostly coaching related) a week later against Tennessee. In all the years I have watched Vandy basketball, including the buzzer beater in San Jose and the horrible loss against Siena in the tourney, I have never been more disappointed and hurt as a fan than on Saturday. With that being said, I have never been more excited because this is the best team we have ever had.]
1.) I wear Taylor’s jersey every game and every game I get more disappointed. Jeffrey has gotten a lot of hype but is nowhere near being a pro. Every time I hear an announcer say that I am like, you are kidding, right? He is our 3rd best player behind Jenkins and Ezeli. Ogilvy got a lot of press and he was a guaranteed lottery pick, too; where is he now? Lets hope Taylor's story isn’t the same. He is a phenomenal athlete but he needs to pick it up and play with enthusiasm and passion all game long. The dunks are amazing, but they still only count for 2 points.
2.) Ezeli needs to stay out of foul trouble. No one in the SEC can compete with his physical stature down low. He is a future NBA player and is the reason we will go deep in the tourney if Jenkins doesn’t keep shooting when he is ice cold and Stallings can figure out how to coach a team who's up by double digits.
3.) Jenkins is a great shooter. If he goes 0/5 from 3s to start the game, he should be done shooting except for lay ups until half. At half-time warm up if he isn’t draining them, he should be done for the day and needs to pass and become a team player. He can win games for us and is our best shooter, but he can lose us games too, especially if Ezeli gets into foul trouble.
4.) This point is by far the most important -- and the only reason we are not undefeated. I love Stallings as a coach but what a huge disappointment he's been this year. The coaching has been awful. Up 17 against UT, up 14 against SC, plus double digits blown at least 10 times this year has lead me to question Stallings as a coach. There is no doubt he is a great recruiter, but questionable coaching lately.
I beg you to please call a timeout the next time we are up over 10 points to focus the team. I would like you to say to them "lets slow it down and make every possession at least 20 seconds to control this game." We should have at least been up 14 going into half against UT, but you gave everyone the green light for the 10th time this year and for the 10th time we increased the pace of play, missed shots, and allowed the opposing team to quickly come back. If the team starts coming back, immediately call a timeout and disrupt the momentum -- but this won’t happen if we control the pace of play, taking 20 seconds each time on their side of the court.
Please review your coaching strategy as you can take this team deep, really deep in the tourney!