Jerry Stackhouse is slowly building a coaching staff. Former Cal, UCLA, and Oregon State assistant coach David Grace was officially announced as the associate head coach on Thursday, and now it appears there’s another addition to the coaching staff: one of Jerry Stackhouse’s former assistants when he was head coach of the G-League’s Raptors 905.
No, not that one. Stackhouse is going to hire Nicki Gross, per Adam Sparks, who was the only female assistant coach in the G-League while working with Raptors 905 — and was most recently working as an analyst for the Memphis Grizzlies. (It appears Gross is being hired for an off-court position with Vanderbilt.)
Gross has an interesting background: a former soccer player at Seton Hall and Monmouth, she served as a graduate manager for former Vanderbilt assistant King Rice in 2012-13 before going into the G-League, first for the Bakersfield Jam, then for the Iowa Energy and the Raptors 905.
On to other news: Vanderbilt women’s golf shot even-par on Thursday and moved into sixth place in the stroke play portion of the SEC Championship. The top eight teams advance to match play over the weekend, and Vanderbilt is currently eight strokes ahead of ninth-place MIssissippi State going into the final day of stroke play.
Men’s tennis beat Kentucky 4-3 in their first match of the SEC Championship on Thursday. They’ll advance to play second-seeded Mississippi State in the quarterfinals at 7:00 AM CT today. Women’s tennis, the 3-seed in the SEC Championship, opens play today at 10:00 AM CT against Kentucky in the quarterfinals.
Baseball opens a three-game series against last-place Alabama tonight at 6:00 PM CT on the SEC Network+.
The Hustler talked to Ryley Guay.
Off the West End
Well, Bryce Drew doesn’t seem to be taking his dismissal well. In the story by Yahoo’s Pete Thamel, Drew says that his first formal meeting with Malcolm Turner came on the day he was fired.
There are a few things to point out in here. I think the dismissal didn’t have to happen — though I absolutely disagree with the national media takes that Vanderbilt had no business making a move after an 0-18 SEC record — but I do think Drew’s decision to redshirt Ejike Obinna, and not to burn the redshirt after Garland went down, suggests that he never really viewed his job as being in danger. And particularly in light of the fact that Drew says here that Obinna might have helped the team win a few games down the stretch. Which, okay, I don’t know if I believe that (Obinna looked all right as a raw 17-year-old freshman, but didn’t show anything to suggest he’d have been a difference-maker this season) but it does appear that Drew believed his job was safe, until it wasn’t. On the other hand, the shots at Vanderbilt — like, say, polling a few athletic directors (who I’m sure were selected at random) and having them say they’d rather have Drew than Stackhouse, or asking the opinions of Rick Barnes and Tom Crean, two people who I’m sure would prefer that Vanderbilt field a good basketball team — seem a little unnecessary. I also think Malcolm Turner might have done better to get out in front of some of this; it seems, really, that the reason we’re getting a one-sided picture of things is because Turner isn’t saying anything and Drew (and a bunch of people who like Drew) are saying a lot. I don’t know.
I mean, really, the difference between Bryce Drew and Tubby Smith — fired after his second year at Memphis in which he went 21-13 — is that Memphis had Gary Parrish and his national media microphone to explain just why Memphis had to get rid of Tubby Smith to hire a high school coach who used to play in the NBA. Because on paper, that move was way more puzzling than Vanderbilt’s decision to flip Drew for Stackhouse.
Your NBA playoffs winners last night: Philly and BEN SIMMONS (!), now up 2-1 over Brooklyn; San Antonio, which now has a 2-1 lead over Denver; and Golden State, which this time was able to keep a 30-plus point lead to go up 2-1 on the Clippers.
And in the Stanley Cup playoffs: Carolina ties things up with Washington; St. Louis goes up 3-2 on Winnipeg; and San Jose holds off elimination against Vegas.
For those of you who care about the PGA Tour after the Masters, Shane Lowry leads the RBC Heritage after one round. Former Vanderbilt golfer Luke List is one off the lead; Brandt Snedeker shot even-par and is six off the lead. Current golfer John Augenstein shot a 2-over 73 in the first round.