Vanderbilt rallied to win 10 of their final 14 games. The confident play of Matthew Fisher-Davis was a big part of that.
The freshman sharpshooter gave the Commodores an accurate three-point threat off the bench late in the season. While the young guard didn't offer much inside the arc, his biggest games helped carry Vandy over opponents like Ole Miss, Alabama, and South Dakota State.
But did the young gun live up to expectations? Despite emerging as a key part of the Commodore machine, his one-dimensional play left Vandy fans wanting more from the former three-star recruit. Let's take a closer look at Fisher-Davis's first year in the Southeastern Conference.
Preseason expectations: Fisher-Davis came to Nashville as a skinny shooting threat who needed to establish himself in the midst of a young, crowded backcourt. The consensus was that his three-point range would make him an immediate contributor, but his actual role was still undecided since his other on-court skills trailed his natural shooting ability. Would he be a strong enough defender to justify his role as a floor-spacing threat? Could he put the ball on the floor and score in the paint?
2014-15 Stats: 22.9 mpg, 7.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.4 apg, 0.4 steals, 35.1 FG%, 40.1 3PT%
2014-15 Comments: Fisher-Davis was this team's microwave. He'd come off the bench and heat things up thanks to his three-point shooting. Opposing defenses knew exactly what was coming, but the rangy guard still found a way to make more than 40 percent of his attempts from long range.
However, the freshman needs to expand his offensive game in order to become a full-time player. He made just 17.6 percent of his two-point shots last season. He only attempted 21 free throws all year.
If he can get to the rim with regularity he'll keep defenses from selling out on his three-point scoring. That will make him a more reliable offensive threat both inside the arc and beyond. Defensively, Fisher-Davis struggled to adjust to the speed and strength of opposing shooting guards but did appear to play better - or at least with more confidence - on that end of the floor as the season progressed.
Did Matthew underperform, meet expectations, or exceed expectations? Fisher-Davis surged at the end of the season, making three or more three-pointers in eight of the team's final 12 games. However, he also struggled early in the year, leading to low efficiency numbers and a negative +/- number on the defensive end. Among regulars, MFD's defensive rating trailed everyone but Shelton Mitchell and Riley LaChance. Given the peaks and valleys of his freshman year, he falls into the "met expectations" category.
2015-16 expectations: Fisher-Davis will have to fend off some extra competition on the wing now that Cornell transfer Nolan Cressler and incoming freshman Joseph Toye are NCAA eligible, but his shooting will give him an excellent argument for playing time in a Kevin Stallings offense. The 6'5" rising sophomore has great length for a shooting guard but can also fill in at small forward if he adds some more muscle to his 173-pound frame this summer. His worst-case scenario for 2016 is as a streaky role player who can shoot this team into or out of SEC games. Best case? A full year of NCAA weight training gives him the power to finish at the rim and defend two positions while playing 30 efficient minutes per game.