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Anchor Drop, April 24, 2019: James Strong Returns

Also, men’s golf competes for the SEC Championship.

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NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Toronto Raptors Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning.

Catching up on some stuff from the last two days, Vanderbilt men’s basketball has a new Director of Player Personnel, and it’s a familiar face: James Strong. Strong played at Vanderbilt from 1996-2000, in the same recruiting class with Dan Langhi and Atiba Prater, and scored 827 points in his Commodore career. Strong spent the last eight years on Rick Byrd’s staff at Belmont and prior to that was at Furman.

There seem to be a couple of important things here. First off, Vanderbilt now has two staff members confirmed for non-coaching positions. That’s a sign that Malcolm Turner may be catching up with the rest of the SEC on that front: while everybody makes light of Alabama’s army of analysts in football, SEC teams have been adding these types of positions for years (and we haven’t even gotten to “video coordinator” or “director of basketball operations,” the two additional positions that Vanderbilt has long had.) And second, Jerry Stackhouse hasn’t even filled the third assistant coach position, meaning that whoever he has in mind for that is likely more qualified than James Strong. This is a good sign.

Men’s golf opens the SEC Championship today at Sea Island, Georgia, as the number one seed. Shawn will presumably have more on this, but the main thing to know for now is that the format is the same as last week’s women’s championship.

Lacrosse player Maddie Souza is the AAC Freshman of the Week for the second week in a row, your weekly reminder that our lacrosse team competes in the AAC.

Adam Sparks and Joe Rexrode podcast a response to Bryce Drew’s post-firing interview. Sparks especially has a lot of good points in here; namely, Drew tried to hang on to the loss of Garland as an excuse for far too long, and notes that Malcolm Turner likely saw in the one practice he attended that players didn’t seem like they were on a long losing streak. He also notes the heavy lifting that “formal” is doing in the sentence that Drew’s first formal meeting with Turner came on the day he was fired. And, Joe Rexrode correctly calls shenanigans on Drew’s insistence that he could have burned Ejike Obinna’s redshirt to win games, which doesn’t follow any train of logic (if he was really capable of helping the team win games, why on earth was he redshirting?)

We don’t love speculation, but Brown transfer Desmond Cambridge, who averaged 16.5 ppg in two seasons with the Bears, is down to Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech. Worth noting: Cambridge is from Nashville, and his sister Jordyn is on the Vanderbilt women’s team.

Vanderbilt will host Tulsa in basketball next season.

Off the West End

The NBA has released the official early entry list. No surprises here: Darius Garland and Simi Shittu are on the list, and Aaron Nesmith isn’t. But Samir Sehic is!

So this happened after midnight:

In other NBA Playoffs action, Toronto and BEN SIMMONS (!) move on to the next round. Denver is one win away from moving on after blowing out the Spurs.

Meanwhile, I couldn’t even stay up late enough to tell you who won Game 7 between Vegas and San Jose in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Boston did beat Toronto 5-1 to move on though.