On Sunday, in the wake of The Streak coming to an end on Saturday night, I thought it would be a good time to make a call for mailbag questions. And the questions, if nothing else, were exactly what I expected. This is great content.
So, without further ado, on to the Mailbag!
Why, dear God, why?
Because God is punishing us for firing Bryce Drew, I guess.
so is ADMT dipping into the emergency kitty for the basketball staff the reason why we have another year of Mason? I expect definitive, fully-sourced answers to his.
It’s a difficult question, and one that nobody seems to have a definitive answer to, I’m afraid.
See, here’s the thing. We don’t know exactly what the terms of the contract extension Derek Mason and David Williams agreed to in late 2018 were, but whatever they were, there was a persistent rumor going into the 2019 season that Mason was extremely safe no matter what happened on the field. Which is exactly what happened, by the way. But there’s another, possibly more important factor: at the time that the decision was made, Vanderbilt had an interim Chancellor who may or may not have been willing to sign off on potentially eight figures to pay Derek Mason to not coach the football team (note: the first person who comments “but he’s already not coaching the football team” will be banned so hard.)
The basic reality is that circumstances may well have dictated that Derek Mason was going to be retained either way, regardless of what Malcolm Turner did with Bryce Drew. And then we would have Derek Mason and Bryce Drew right now. But as with everything Vanderbilt, it’s all speculation.
Absinthe or Whiskey?
See, while absinthe is tempting because of the higher alcohol content, this also means that you may be too drunk to comment at Anchor of Gold before you reach the three-drink minimum. Therefore, whiskey is the answer.
Anyway, as a lawyer, what are your thoughts on the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo?
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was as much a “treaty” as VIto Corleone’s offer to the movie producer who refused to cast Johnny Fontaine was “a valid contract.” The more appropriate question is what I think of the Gadsden Purchase, which was basically just “Sorry about that treaty we made you sign, here’s $10 million for some useless desert.” (Apologies to any residents of Tucson, Arizona, who may be reading this.)
Do we or do we not still hold the record for most consecutive games with a threesome?
I assume Wilt Chamberlain holds that record.
What are the odds we 0fer the conference schedule again?
And if we do, does that mean we will win the CWS again?
The fun part about the first question is that Ken Pomeroy still gives us just a 3.2 percent chance of getting goose-egged in the SEC again. That’s reflective of the fact that (a) there are 14 games left, and (b) there’s always a chance that we just randomly have one of those NBA Jam Team Fire games and/or somebody else randomly faceplants during a trip to Memorial Gym. Or... uh, here, answer this question for me, Matthew Fisher-Davis:
Y’all killed Simi all season long.. don’t give me that. You can accidentally win a conference game..... that NCAAT team Drew’s first year was Stallings’ team— Matthew Fisher-Davis (@MFD5_) January 20, 2020
Right, the Bryce Drew Experience made us forget that it’s actually really hard to go winless over an 18-game conference schedule. Put differently, just within my memory, Mississippi State under Rick Ray, Missouri under Kim Anderson, South Carolina in Darrin Horn’s last year and Frank Martin’s first year, Auburn under Tony Barbee, Georgia at points under Dennis Felton ... those teams were all as bad or worse than this Vanderbilt team, and those teams all managed to win SEC games. More than one, in fact. I don’t know that we’ve emphasized this enough: not only was there no SEC team before last year’s Vanderbilt team that had ever gone 0-18 in conference, there were only two that had gone 1-17 (1966-67 LSU and 1968-69 Alabama, if you’re wondering.) And even last year’s team, remember, needed a controversial hook-and-hold on Clevon Brown and a 28 percent three-point shooter making a three with the shot clock expiring and a stupid technical foul on Saben Lee (in three separate games) to actually go 0-18. The point is that it takes a terrible team that’s also quitting and/or running into insanely bad luck for this to happen.
As far as the CWS goes... well, let me ask you this, would you make that trade?
Andrew VU ‘04 asks:
What fresh hell is this?
“Fresh hell” is an accurate description of what happens when you hire Anton LaVey to coach your basketball team.
Is it not Vanderbilt’s new destiny and purpose to schedule UNLV and Princeton for the expressed purpose of pressing the inbound, gluing our five guys to the arc on defense, inviting clear drives to the hoop unimpeded, and holding the ball on offense so as to minimize Rebel/Tiger possessions?
UNLV and Princeton are not Vocokyteps (OO), therefore there is no need to be jerks just because we couldn’t keep our streak going.
We seem to be losing a lot of players due to injury (Men: Luuuuke, MFD, DG the PG, 3smith; Women: like the whole team last year, Alexander, Newby, this year). Do you think there’s some sort of conditioning/training issue or just a run of bad luck?
A fair question, but when you look at the individual injuries... Luke Kornet had, if memory serves me correctly, some sort of foot issue that’s probably a natural outcome from being 7’1”. Matthew Fisher-Davis had a shoulder injury. Darius Garland suffered an MCL sprain during a game. And let’s also point out on those last two that there was a non-zero chance that either of them could have returned at some point, but both immediately chose to shut it down to prepare for professional basketball. But the broader point is that of the men’s injuries (I honestly don’t know enough about the women’s team to have an opinion), Nesmith is the only one that could plausibly even be blamed on a conditioning or training issue.
Why does the basketball team not run Offense plays? Sat night, zero organization except CJS standing on side line looking bewildered.
See, one of the common criticisms you hear about Roy Williams is that his teams often don’t look like they’re running set plays either, and that he just “rolls the ball out there.” I assume this was probably a criticism leveled against Dean Smith back in the day, too, I don’t know. I think we just got so used to Kevin Stallings’ offense that running anything else looks like we’re just not running plays. Which we may not be, I don’t know, but not every offense runs set plays in the sense you’re thinking of.
When is Roy Williams’ contract over? We’ve got a group of alumni players who want to restore our program to greatness, but we cannot afford to buy out another coach.
Does anyone have an idea what the contract terms are for Stackhouse and his extensive staff? I realize its Vanderbilt and nothing is public. I just hate to think we are stuck with another Derek Mason situation if our G league experiment doesn’t work out.
All right, so it’s way too early to be going down this road. (Also, alumni players who want to restore our program to greatness? Please tell me this isn’t Jan van Breda Kolff.)
But no, this probably isn’t going to be a Derek Mason situation, if only because Jerry Stackhouse made $84 million during his NBA career, and if there are stories about him going completely broke after his career ended because he was terrible with his money, I haven’t seen them. You can’t have a Derek Mason situation when the coach’s grandchildren are already set for life before he even took the job.
With all that said... just give this time.
Doesn’t tcstephensonlaw at gmail dot com sound more like a profession email address than one tailored to a sports blog?
Yes, I only have one email address. So sue me.