The 2014-15 Vanderbilt basketball season was a big step forward in this program's development. After two sub-.500 seasons, the Commodores returned to the postseason and won 21 games. A talented freshman class helped push the 'Dores out of their doldrums and have made Vandy a popular pick to be one of the SEC's top teams in 2016.
This week, we'll begin our player-by-player review of the season. We'll pour through Vanderbilt's scholarship players and reflect on the year they had and what may be ahead for them. Today we turn our attention to a pair of seniors that played limited minutes for the Commodores in 2015. Josh Henderson and Shelby Moats got squeezed out of the rotation by injuries and younger talent, but they still played key roles for this developing team. Let's take a closer look at their contributions.
Preseason expectations: The biggest burden for Henderson was to stay healthy after suffering season-ending injuries in 2011 and 2013. If he could stay on the court, the senior could provide key depth up front and a soft-handed complement to Damian Jones's aggressive post moves in the paint.
2014-15 Stats: 7.3 mpg, 2.2 ppg, 1.2 rpg, .1 blocks, 50.0 FG%
2014-15 Comments: Henderson lacked the physicality and quickness to replace Jones's defense in the paint, but he was still a long-armed shot re-router who played a valuable role for the team.
Did Josh underperform, meet expectations, or exceed expectations? Hendo met expectations, providing Vanderbilt with a safety net when Jones wound up in foul trouble. The senior showed off composure and leadership for a young team that needed both. Henderson accepted his role and played it to the best of his ability, showing up every now and then to hit a sweet turnaround jumper in the paint. His 12 point, 5-5 performance against Georgia Tech was the highlight of his season.
2015-16 expectations: Rumors swirled this winter that Henderson had been granted a medical redshirt that would have extended his career for one more season. However, the big Virginian walked with Moats and James Siakam on Senior Night and appears to have played his last official game at Memorial Gym. Lower level European squads may be willing to take a flier on a 6'11" big man who can shoot jumpers, but there's a chance that his competitive basketball days are over.
Preseason expectations: Moats never really stood out as a rotation player, but was still expected to add third-line bulk and toughness up front.
2014-15 Stats: 4.2 mpg, 1.1 ppg, 1 rpg, 57.1 FG%
2014-15 Comments: A concussion robbed Moats of the bulk of his final year in Nashville, but he was unlikely to see much time on the floor due to the growth of James Siakam, Luke Kornet, and to a lesser extent, Jeff Roberson. The senior only played in nine games this season and logged fewer than three minutes of court time in SEC play. He didn't attempt a shot after November 23rd.
Did Shelby underperform, meet expectations, or exceed expectations? Moats failed to meet expectations through no fault of his own. The Commodores had no reason to rush him back to the court in a rebuilding year.
2015-16 expectations: Moats's playing days are over, but he was always a solid team ambassador on Twitter. He's got an undergraduate degree in economics and seems like a lock to have made the All-SEC Honor Roll all four years of his career. I think he'll be okay.