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Vanderbilt Basketball Season in Review: James Siakam

James Siakam was the only senior in Vanderbilt's rotation and he led this team by example on the court. The Cameroonian power forward was one of the SEC's most underrated player en route to averaging 10 points, 7 rebounds, and nearly 2 blocks in conf. play.

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014-15 season marked James Siakam's arrival as an impact player in the SEC. Commodore fans knew that Siakam could grab rebounds from the day he stepped on campus, but it took four years for the raw Cameroonian to develop into an efficient scorer and rabid defender in the front court. His senior leadership helped carry Vanderbilt to 21 victories and their first winning season since 2012.

Today, our player-by-player look back at Vanderbilt basketball will roll on with the last senior on the roster. Losing James Siakam will be a significant blow for this team, but the impending arrivals of D'Jery Baptiste and Samir Sehic will help the 'Dores soften the impact. "Bamba" stepped up in a big way for this team, and a quick look at his play in the SEC shows just how effective he was.

James Siakam

Preseason expectations: Siakam was going to be the veteran leader for this young team, but he also had to beat out Luke Kornet for the starting role at power forward next to Damian Jones.  The senior had developed into a reliable rotation player in 2014, but it was unclear if he'd be able to roll that improvement through 2015. Siakam could dunk the ball and pull down rebounds in traffic, but he still had yet to show off the expanded game that would make him a threat against SEC opponents.

2014-15 Stats: 24.3 mpg, 9.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.2 blocks, 62.7 FG%

2014-15 Comments: Wow. Siakam was one of the most efficient players in the country thanks to his impressively high field goal rate. Most of those baskets came from plays at the rim, but the senior also showed off a newfound comfort when it came to shooting from the elbow outside the paint. His interior game and pressure defense was an outstanding complement for Kornet's long-range shooting.

More importantly, Siakam gave this young team a veteran presence on the court. The Cameroonian set a tremendous example for Vandy's freshmen by remaining composed on the court and coming through late in some of the Commodores' biggest games. He improved his free throw shooting to nearly 76 percent and gave this team a prime example of what can happen when potential meets hard work.

Advanced stats support this. A look at win shares and PER suggests that Siakam was the team's MVP. He was also Vanderbilt's most effective rebounder and led the team in true shooting percentage at 68.3% thanks in part to his improved play from the free throw line.

Did James underperform, meet expectations, or exceed expectations? "Bamba" exceeded expectations. While we've focused mostly on his improved scoring, Siakam was also a tenacious defender who excelled as a shot blocker in the second half of the season despite being an undersized power forward. His play helped hold opponents to an inefficient 40.6 FG% for the season. Wisconsin, for comparison, has drawn rave reviews for their defense but is hold opposing teams to 42.6% from the field.

After February, Siakam averaged 10.4 points, seven rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. He made 60.3 percent of his field goal attempts. That's a big reason why Vanderbilt finished the season on a 10-4 run.

2015-16 expectations: Siakam's Vanderbilt career is over, but he showed off an expanded offensive game that should make him a commodity overseas. If "Bamba" wants to get paid for his work on the glass, he won't have trouble finding job offers in 2016.