If you follow Vanderbilt basketball at all, you've likely heard that we had a lot of players leave the program (either by choice, or not by choice) in the past couple of years. You know that they're not playing for the team any more, but most of them have continued their careers since leaving Vanderbilt. How are they doing?
The major concern here are recent transfers, so I'll devote most of the ink to them, but I'm also going to go back to the beginning of the Stallings era in an attempt to settle arguments about this being a long-term problem for the program.
Why he left: Johnson was part of the 2011 recruiting class along with Dai-Jon Parker (more on him in a minute) and Shelby Moats. He played a reserve role as a freshman on the 2012 team before starting in 2012-13. Then he was dismissed from the university for a year, with the opportunity to get back in the good graces of Vanderbilt, but ultimately didn't and was forced to leave the program.
What he's doing now: Johnson hopped on I-40 west to Memphis, where he was granted a waiver to play immediately thanks to the NCAA's runoff rule (allowing immediate eligibility to players who were not welcome to return to their previous program.) Johnson has actually regressed since his promising sophomore season at Vandy. Perhaps the year off affected him, but in 21.7 minutes per game he's averaging 6.2 ppg (on 40.9% shooting from the field), 2.5 assists and 2.0 turnovers -- and his turnovers per 40 minutes have actually gone up at Memphis. While it might seem like we're not missing much, I'd argue that a year of not playing basketball and then going from playing for Kevin Stallings to playing for Josh Pastner may have hampered his development as a player, so who really knows how he would have turned out if he had stayed at Vanderbilt.
Why he left: A member of the 2011 recruiting class like Johnson, Parker spent three years in the program before being dismissed by Kevin Stallings shortly before the start of preseason practice in 2014.
What he's doing now: Parker transferred to Division 2 Indianapolis, presumably for eligibility reasons (NCAA rules waive the one-year residency requirement for players transferring from Division 1 to Division 2.) The Greyhounds are currently 22-4 and ranked #16 in the Division 2 national rankings; Parker has started every game and is currently the team's fourth-leading scorer at 10.0 ppg. He also ranks second on the team with 47 steals.
Why he left: This could take a while. Jeter, a member of the 2012 recruiting class, spent a year at Vandy. Sometime in May, Pittsburgh fans and sports talk hosts started talking about the possibility of Jeter transferring to Pitt; at that point, Jeter had not officially announced that he was leaving Vanderbilt. He ultimately did decided to transfer from Vanderbilt to Pitt; Kevin Stallings' spidey sense evidently told him that there might have been tampering, and Stallings refused to grant Jeter his release to go to Pitt. Which didn't ultimately stop him from going there, of course.
What he's doing now: Jeter went to a JUCO for a year to get around Stallings, didn't play there, and ultimately transferred to Pitt with three years of eligibility remaining. Jeter has appeared in 28 games this season, averaging 4.7 ppg and 2.6 rpg in 13.9 minutes a night for a rather mediocre Pitt team. While that appears uninspiring on the surface, like Kedren Johnson there's potentially reason to think that the year out of playing basketball (during which time he wasn't even practicing with a college team) may have stalled his development.
Why he left: The classic example of a guy at the end of the bench transferring out of the program because he wanted more playing time.
What he's doing now: Astroth transferred to Towson, where he's playing 15.7 minutes a night and averaging 3.3 ppg for a 12-19 CAA team. At least on the surface, this is a classic case where the program probably benefited from the guy leaving since his departure opened up a scholarship for Luke Kornet.
Why he left: To get paid, son. Or more accurately, Bright wanted to be closer to his ailing mother in Germany and the only way to do this was to sign with a professional team in Germany.
What he's doing now: Bright is currently (from best I can tell) a reserve player for the Fraport Skyliners of the German basketball league, and he's averaging 1.8 ppg in 4 games (while also appearing in three games this season for Fraport's "B" squad and averaging 7.0 ppg in those games.)
Why he left: Dismissed from the team after a couple of arrests for theft surfaced.
What he's doing now: Playing sparingly (7.2 mpg) as Kevin Pangos' backup at Gonzaga, though his minutes figure to increase next year with Pangos gone.
Early Departures of the Past
John Jenkins: Declared for the NBA Draft after his junior year. Has played in 12 games for the Atlanta Hawks this season, averaging 3.7 ppg, though he's also averaged 18.0 ppg in a pair of stints in the D-League this season. Obviously his departure hurt the 2012-13 Vanderbilt team, but arguably Vanderbilt was fortunate that he even stayed three years.
Andre Walker: Walker spent four injury-riddled years at Vandy before transferring following the 2011 season to Xavier as a graduate student, where he averaged 5.3 ppg and 5.8 rpg in his one season there.
Charles Hinkle: Hinkle played sparingly in two and a half years at Vandy (he redshirted his first year), then transferred to American at semester break in 2009-10. He played a minor role his junior year there before developing (unexpectedly) into an 18 ppg guy for a 20-12 team as a senior. He's currently playing for the Los Angeles D-fenders of the D-League, in one of the more unlikely success stories for a former Vandy player.
Darshawn McClellan: McClellan decided to redshirt in 2010-11 rather than come off the bench in what would have been his senior season... and then, noticing that Vandy was returning a loaded team in 2011-12, spent his final year at UL-Lafayette. He averaged 9.5 ppg and 5.4 rpg in his one season there.
A.J. Ogilvy: Ogilvy left for the NBA Draft after three years at Vanderbilt, went undrafted, and currently plays professional basketball in Spain. Arguably Ogilvy hurt his draft stock by staying at Vandy after his freshman year.
George Drake: Drake was a big-time recruit who never really did much in four years at Vandy (including a redshirt year), and ultimately wound up getting recruited over. He departed for UAB as a grad transfer after the 2009 season and averaged 6.5 ppg and 3.1 rpg in one season with the Blazers.
Keegan Bell: Bell was a role player as a freshman on the 2007-08 and transferred to Chattanooga, where he averaged 8.4 ppg and 5.5 apg in three years. This is one of the rare instances where the player cited Stallings as a reason for the transfer... but it's equally likely that that was just spin. With Jermaine Beal having two more years of eligibility and Brad Tinsley rumored to be coming in (and ultimately doing so, though that wasn't official at the time), Bell may have just seen the writing on the wall.
JeJuan Brown: Brown flashed some potential as a freshman in 2006-07, averaging 3.1 ppg and 2.5 rpg for a Sweet 16 team, then left the university for "personal reasons" shortly before the 2007-08 preseason. After a year at a JUCO, Brown spent his final two years at Arkansas State and averaged 6.7 ppg and 4.2 rpg. Like Keegan Bell, this may have been an instance where the player saw the writing on the wall: his departure oddly came shortly after Festus Ezeli enrolled at Vandy and about a week or so after both Lance Goulbourne and Steve Tchiengang committed.
DeMarre Carroll: Perhaps more than any other player who's left Vanderbilt, this one hurt. Carroll transferred after averaging 10.8 ppg as a sophomore in 2005-06; the stated reason was that he wanted to play for his uncle Mike Anderson, who'd just been named the head coach at Missouri. After sitting out a year, Carroll averaged 14.9 ppg and 6.9 rpg in two seasons at Missouri, and currently starts for the Atlanta Hawks. And yes, the 2007 and 2008 Vandy teams were still good... but can you imagine those teams with DeMarre Carroll?
Adam Payton: Payton played sparingly in two years at Vandy and transferred to William & Mary after the 2003-04 season, where he averaged 10.5 ppg in two years. I'd say this one worked out well for us: when Payton decided to leave the program, Vandy suddenly had a scholarship available for some dude named Derrick Byars, who was all set to transfer to Ole Miss before Payton gracefully left the program.
Brian Thornton: Another one that hurt; Thornton was a starter for the 2002-03 team, so playing time wasn't an issue, though I can't find any clear reason why he left. Transferred to Xavier, where he averaged 12.7 ppg and 6.3 rpg over his final two seasons.
Brendan Plavich: One of Stallings' first recruits, he left the program after the 2001-02 season, his sophomore year, in which he averaged 10.1 ppg. The reasons were rather nebulous, but it might have had to do with losing his starting job late in the year. Went to Charlotte and averaged 12.9 ppg in two years there.
Billy Richmond: Another of Stallings' first recruits, was dismissed from the team shortly before his sophomore season started (2001-02.) I remember Richmond's signing being a big deal since he was Vandy's first signee out of the city of Memphis in forever. Transferred to Memphis, where he ultimately got dismissed from that program as well, making him that rare player to be run off by both Kevin Stallings and John Calipari.
Rick Jones: Stallings' very first recruit at Vanderbilt, signing in spring 1999 shortly after Stallings got the job, Jones lasted just a year before being dismissed from the program. Resurfaced at Murray State a couple of years later, where he averaged 8.8 ppg in two seasons with the Racers.
Sam Lekwauwa: A VBK recruit, Lekwauwa played on Stallings' first Vanderbilt team as a redshirt freshman and averaged 5.1 ppg and 2.9 rpg. He left the program after that and even Google can't seem to figure out what happened to him.