Vanderbilt is facing a dearth of big men in the future - something that probably can't be fixed in time to make an impact on the 2012-2013 season. However, there are steps that the team can take to fill out their center and power forward rotation this spring. As we've discussed before, several intriguing players will be transferring in 2012 and head coach Kevin Stallings will be making a play for the athletes that can fit best into the Commodore system.
One such player is Wake Forest's Carson DesRosiers. DesRosiers is a sophomore center and skilled shotblocker who has started in Salem since his freshman year. At 7'0" tall and 240 pounds, he's a defensive presence (1.9 blocks per game last year) with a developing offensive game and the ability to shoot from long range. Fortunately for the Commodores, that's just the kind of player that this team is looking for.
CBS Sports's Jeff Goodman reported Thursday that Vanderbilt is in the mix for the young center. This is encouraging news for a team that graduates every big man who played significant minutes next month. If Stallings could convince the New England native to come to Nashville, it would help fill out a roster that barely goes 10 deep heading into next season.
DesRosiers would pair with redshirt freshman Josh Henderson to impose a lengthy platoon in the middle if he were to choose Vanderbilt. Henderson was limited by a foot injury in his first eligible year, but showed flashes of a nice offensive game around the basket. While he's not likely to make anyone forget about A.J. Ogilvy with his scoring, he's a smart player with a soft touch and the ability to score in the paint, especially as he grows into his body.
DesRosiers would provide a stronger defensive presence alongside him, but their fit together on the offensive end could end up being a major asset for the team. The sophomore improved as a shooter in his second year at Wake Forest, raising his FG% from 39.3 percent to 44.1 percent, but still struggled to be an efficient force on offense. However, he showed signs of being able to stretch the court with a developing three-point shot, and could become a Steve Tchiengang-style rover in the half-court set in Vandy's system.
The big man isn't great on the boards, but much of his low rebounding output can be attributed to the factor that kept Festus Ezeli's numbers so low - he's often out altering shots rather than getting in position for misses. Despite gaining 30 pounds since leaving college, he isn't much of a banger inside, which would make him a better fit on the perimeter as a face-up player rather than someone who looks to post up inside as Ezeli did these past two seasons. A player with his skills could create a solid inside-out combination alongside the talent that Vanderbilt already has, and it's clear that he would be an asset to this rebuilding team.
However, getting DesRosiers will take some work. The Boston Herald reports that his list of transfer schools is limited to three right now - and Vanderbilt isn't on it. Providence, UMass, and Oregon State are the early leaders in the quest for Carson and all three schools have ties to the northeast, where DesRosiers grew up. While Oregon State seems like an outlier, they are coached by Craig Robinson, the former coach at Brown. Vanderbilt lacks these connections, and that could give the coaching staff a disadvantage when they make their pitch to the center.
While Vandy can offer the center immediate playing time once he becomes eligible, they may lack the selling points of a potentially resurgent Providence squad. The Friars will welcome two of the nation's top 10 recruits (Ricardo Ledo and Kris Dunn) to campus in 2012-2013 and their all-star backcourt will need an interior presence to stabilize things. DesRosiers would also have the chance to pair with talented freshman LaDontae Henton to create a solid Big East frontcourt. Those positives may outweigh the Vandy core of Kedren Johnson, Dai-Jon Parker, and Rod Odom.
It'll be a tough fight for Stallings and his staff to get DesRosiers to Memorial Gym, but it's not impossible. The Commodores have the strongest recent tradition of any of the teams that are vying for the big man's services and a track record of developing PF/Cs who have range out to the three-point line. Vanderbilt doesn't have the advantage of any hometown ties in their pitch for DesRosiers, but they may be able to offer the best combination of fit, talent, and tradition. If the 'Dores can pick up the seven-footer from Wake Forest, it would be a strong step in the right direction for a rebuilding team.