That which you see above is the 2015 Vanderbilt recruiting class, arrived on campus. The newest Commodores are joining a squad that returns almost everyone of note, save for James Siakam and Shelton Mitchell. How do they fit onto next season's team?
Djery Baptiste (6'11"/250, Haiti by way of Plano, TX/Prestonwood Christian)
While researching this article, I was reminded of how much I hate hoops mixtapes:
Between the weird slo-mo effects and the wholly unnecessary background music... what exactly did I learn from that, really? I learned that Djery Baptiste is tall, solidly built, and is good at blocking shots and dunking. Of course, the unnecessary effects make it difficult to get a handle on how athletic he is, because every time he's about to do something, the video inexplicably slows down. Because I suppose college coaches recruiting him find that helpful.
Of course, there are scouting reports that can be a good source of unintentional humor:
Djery is a athletic big man prospect who is athletic.
All righty then. Makes sense. What we know about Djery is that he's tall, solidly built, athletic, and has been playing basketball for about four years. So then it's not really a surprise that his offensive game is unpolished, as you might be able to tell from the fact that that mixtape of him (granted, it's about two years old) mostly just shows him dunking and blocking shots. Of course, that's more than Josh Henderson can do, so we can expect him to be the backup center in 2015-16. And that's really about all that Vanderbilt needs from him with Damian Jones back in the fold.
Camron Justice (6'2"/175, Hindman, KY/Knott County Central)
Justice was Kentucky's Mr. Basketball in 2015, and luckily for Vanderbilt, Big Blue Nation has lost the ability to goad their basketball coach into offering a scholarship to such a player. Camron actually committed to Tennessee during his junior year, then decommitted before being Vanderbilt's first commitment of the 2015 class. As a senior, he averaged 24.2 ppg on 42.6% shooting from three and 84.8% from the free throw line. So... you could say he's a good shooter.
And granted, those shooting percentages came while being (I'm assuming) the focal point of his high school team's offense, which he won't be at Vanderbilt. He doesn't look like the kind of player you can build an SEC offense around, but his ability to shoot the three will make him a valuable third or fourth option down the line. In terms of immediate impact, with Vandy already having a ton of depth at the two (Riley LaChance, Nolan Cressler, and even Matthew Fisher-Davis) he probably won't play much as a freshman, and there's a good chance he will redshirt.
Samir Sehic (6'9"/250, Cypress, TX/Cypress Woods)
The 2015-16 roster will definitely have a Texan flavor with Sehic joining Luke Kornet, Carter Josephs, and Jeff Roberson on the roster. Sehic, who was Djery Baptiste's AAU teammate for Texas Titans, is the son of Bosnian immigrants. He has the size and upper body strength to bang down low, which should make him a nice complement to Kornet at the four, but also has the ability to step back and hit the occasional jumper. To be honest, his game reminds me of former Commodore Ross Neltner:
Sehic averaged 18.4 points and 12.7 rebounds per game as a senior at Cy Woods. His free throw shooting (58 percent as a senior, 64 percent for his high school career) could use some work, but it didn't stop him from hitting 34 percent of his occasional three-point attempts. He should fit nicely into Vanderbilt's frontcourt rotation as a freshman and while he doesn't have the upside of Baptiste, his offensive game is far more developed at this stage.
Joseph Toye (6'7"/190, Chicago, IL/La Lumiere School)
If you like dunks, Joseph Toye is your guy:
I think that video pretty much speaks for itself. At 6'7" and a freak athlete, Toye is what you think of when you imagine your ideal swingman. He only weighs 190 so he could stand to put on some weight, and his jump shot looks decent (although it's not really emphasized on the mixtape.) But he'll compete for playing time at the three right away and currently ranks as the most likely Vanderbilt player to appear on a SportsCenter Top 10.
Odds and Ends
@VandyMBB played a little game today, revealing the uniform numbers for the 2015-16 team. Nolan Cressler will switch from #42 to #24; the rest of the returning players will keep the same number they wore last season.
Camron Justice will don #0 as a Commodore. Joseph Toye will wear #2, Djery Baptiste is #12, and Samir Sehic will wear #21.