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Vanderbilt Basketball Mail Bag #4: Answers to your Questions

You ask, we answer.

Syndication: The Tennessean George Walker IV / / USA TODAY NETWORK

Question from Your Uncle Mike:

How do you fire Jerry Stackhouse? I mean, he’s got some basketball cache (probably not as a college coach). Probably let him know it’s coming to let him resign for another job? Or an out and out sacking? Or does Jerry throw another social media fit and quit in a huff, saying no one believes in him or the team and we’ll never win here?

Answers from AoG:

Tom Stephenson: I kind of doubt that he’s gone prior to next season, if that’s what you’re asking, barring some such nonsense as going 0-18 in the SEC. That might not be the answer you want to hear, but given the injuries plaguing this year’s team and next year’s recruiting class, he probably gets another year. Next year is the “make the NCAAs or walk” year.

Stanimal: I agree with Tom on this, but I do think now is the time where Stack doesn’t sit comfortably. This team should have won against SMU and Temple, period. Loyola-Chicago is well-coached and efficient, so I really can’t blame that one, but even with the Robbins and Chatman injuries, we should have won those other two. That’s what tournament teams do, and that’s what you should be expecting from him.

Andrew VU ‘04: I assume you fire him like you fire anyone—defenestration. References to medieval Prague aside, if Stack were to be fired this year, I think you’ve accurately portrayed how it would go down. He would be quietly told by the AD that he needs to meet certain expectations, he would throw a Twitter and media blast public hissy fit, and would either resign or be bought out. There is very little chance of us orchestrating a shooty hoops coaching trade of sorts with Pitt again. Now, if you mean “will we fire Stack this year?” well, there’s a small chance of that, I would think. If he goes all last year of Bryce Drew 0-18 in the SEC, then yeah, consider him gone. Short of that, the incoming ‘crootin class is likely enough to buy him one more year. Only one, though.

PatrickSawyer: It depends on when it happens. If this season goes REALLY south (see: repeated references to 0-18 like Drew), it's a straight up firing which probably includes a public circus. If it is after next season is a flop, Stackhouse probably orchestrates his way back to the G-League. He has too much pride to go out ugly if he has a choice. The snide remarks about lack of faith/belief/support all come after he has his new job.

Question from Vandyfan1:

what has happened to trey Thomas’s jump shot? do we have any idea why is he shooting less then 19% from three?

Answers from AoG:

Tom Stephenson: Until further notice, I’m chalking this up to small-sample-size hijinks and/or losing confidence from not seeing the ball go into the basket. Because there doesn’t appear to be anything fundamentally wrong with his shot, this is just like Riley LaChance suddenly becoming a brick machine in his sophomore season.

Stanimal: I think it’s a cold streak that he has to work through. Nothing more. That being said, on a team that really lacks shooters, it’s especially pronounced.

Andrew VU ‘04: His confidence appears to be shot. There’s no mechanical issue I can see in the tape. Doubt is a powerful thing, and psychosomatic responses happen all the time.

PatrickSawyer: Poor offensive sets. He's taking more contested or DEEP 3s. Neither of those are good for someone of his stature. The misses and blocks have obviously hurt his confidence, too.

Question from JesseCuster44:

Why is this brand of offense (1-2 passes then a one v one matchup) chosen over a motion offense that gets more players involved and requires the defense to work harder? Is Stack that obtuse and stubborn?

Answers from AoG:

Tom Stephenson: I don’t think a motion offense is something that Stackhouse is really schooled in, or at least not enough to really run it, but then I don’t think having Scotty play ISO ball is what he wants either.

Stanimal: I think part of the problem is that we’ve got some confidence issues amongst the team and Scotty probably feels he has to take the load on himself. In a motion offense, it’s about finding shots. Who on this team right now do you trust to take the open look? As long as we have no post-presence, we will have to live and die by the three. We need some guys to warm up.

Andrew VU ‘04: Because Stack hates us.

PatrickSawyer: There's no Plan B. We run one motion set, make the 2 or 3 passes, and, barring an open look, have no further options. Guys should still be moving or finding open space off the first set. They aren't, and I'm not sure if it's laziness (doubtful) or what they're coached to do (much more likely). It is infuriating to watch in person because you see guys just standing and waiting to see if a teammate gets that open look or has to do it 1v1.

Question from WestEndMayhem:

How unreasonable is that pre-season prediction of last in SEC play with the SEC POTY now looking?

Answers from AoG:

Tom Stephenson: I mean, that was always ridiculous because as I said at the time, if Scotty were playing at an SEC Player of the Year level, there was no way Vanderbilt was finishing 13th; likewise, if Vanderbilt really is finishing 13th, then it’s fair to assume that Scotty is not playing at that level. And Vanderbilt might finish 13th (really 12th, because Missourah and Georgia are terrible) because, no, Scotty is not playing at that level this season.

Stanimal: I still don’t think that’ll happen because I think this team will play much better in SEC play.

Andrew VU ‘04: It is no longer unreasonable. This team will need the two injured guys to come back, and fast, if they don’t want to go the way of the Saben Lee iso ball season.

PatrickSawyer: Is Pippen playing at an SEC POY level? Because I don't think he is. So the ridiculousness of the combined predictions stands.

Question from Mark Lonergan:

How many SEC games will Vanderbilt win in 2021/2? And in a related question, who could be our NEXT men’s coach when Jerry is cut loose?

Answers from AoG:

Tom Stephenson: They could win a few. They play Georgia twice (Georgia being terrible) and they get Missourah at home, so there’s three right there. Home games against South Carolina and Texas A&M are definitely winnable. So you don’t have to squint that hard to see five, and maybe they spring an upset or two... so I’ll go with six or seven. It’s sad that this is improvement over the last three years.

As to the second question, I have no idea. Interestingly Vanderbilt has hired assistants from top-tier programs to run both the football and women’s basketball programs and I would not be surprised if they went that route. As far as specific names, well, I don’t have any.

Stanimal: Tom is right on the SEC prediction. As to coaching hires, I disagree with him there. I think we’ll get a head coach. I just don’t see us giving state of the art facilities to an assistant coach. But as to names, that always depends on when the game starts to get real.

Andrew VU ‘04: I can’t speculate on who the next coach would be (certainly not this early in the season and with a coach still under contract). Ask that part again if the writing appears on the wall going into the SEC Tourney and we have some rumors to dig through.

If Tom’s setting the line a 6.5 SEC wins, I’ll take the under. These past few games have de-feathered my Emily Dickinson velociraptor. Oh, you thought “The Thing With Feathers” was a bird? I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Me after the opening two wins over Alabama and Texas States, respectively:

Me after being completely dismantled by Loyola-Chicago:

PatrickSawyer: I will go 7 wins because I am contractually obligated to be the optimist. Really, I think it's difficult to pin down what they will be. Stack's teams have tended to play better down the stretch plus two starters should be back for that stretch run.

And to appease the Twitter folks, Drew Maddux will be the next head coach if Stackhouse is gone.

Question from Admirable Snack Bar:


Answers from AoG:

Tom Stephenson: Big, if true.

Stanimal: Yep.

Andrew VU ‘04: Indeed.

PatrickSawyer: Could not have said it better.