Optional Musical Accompaniment
Well, the Vanderbilt basketball program is up to three players in the transfer portal. As expected, redshirt junior center Ejike Obinna entered the portal on Sunday night; yesterday, it was another redshirt junior, DJ Harvey, and then senior guard Maxwell Evans entered it too:
Breaking: Much more surprising move here, as Vanderbilt senior guard Maxwell Evans has entered the transfer portal according to a source.— Robbie Weinstein (@rwweinstein) March 16, 2021
Career-best season in 2020-21.https://t.co/xSD3MyV6Tt pic.twitter.com/yt8R858Qw0
My thought on this is that so far, this is the healthier version of losing players to the transfer portal. It sounds like, based on his postgame comments after the season-ending loss to Florida, Jerry Stackhouse had already expected Obinna to leave (reportedly because he wants to pursue a graduate program that Vanderbilt doesn’t offer.) And as Simon Gibbs pointed out on Twitter yesterday, Joe Rexrode read Harvey’s postgame comments last week as stating his intention to transfer:
After the SEC Tournament, I asked DJ Harvey about playing with Pippen Jr.— Simon Gibbs (@SimonGibbs26) March 16, 2021
I read “I hope I get to continue playing with him” as some form of indication that Pippen Jr. might declare; @joerexrode read it as Harvey stating his intent to transfer. (You win) https://t.co/bHUFbk16Mk pic.twitter.com/zlMp7ZcjbH
As for Evans, well, he was a senior who we were expecting to lose either way. The NCAA did grant everyone an extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic, but I was expecting Evans to move on; that he’s decided to see if he can catch on at another program for his final year isn’t a huge surprise, and while it would have been helpful to have him back, that certainly wasn’t something you would have planned on happening.
There are players whose departure (to the transfer portal, anyway) would say bad things about the state of the program, but this isn’t that. Obinna was averaging 8 minutes a game in 2020-21 and didn’t figure to see more playing time next season, assuming Quentin Millora-Brown and Akeem Odusipe take advantage of the offseason to improve their games. DJ Harvey was a worse player than Jordan Wright, who’s a sophomore, and he also might have lost playing time to Myles Stute next season. Evans, from all appearances, is leaving for reasons that have nothing to do with basketball. Now, if guys who are playing real minutes and project to play the same or increased minutes next season start leaving, that’s a problem. This isn’t, and the departures of Harvey and Obinna mean that Vanderbilt now has two scholarships available for next season going into the spring.
Baseball beat Belmont 4-1 last night as Christian Little made his case to move into the weekend rotation.
Football opens spring practice today, and as Robbie Weinstein notes, the Commodores welcome back a few players who opted out or missed much of last season, including Cole Clemens, Bryce Bailey, Jonathan Stewart, Feleti Afemui, and Donovan Kaufman.
And finally, don’t forget to join the AoG Bracket Challenge.
SEC Baseball Last Night
Murray State 13, Kentucky 8 ... Auburn 9, Lipscomb 7 ... Oklahoma 8, Arkansas 5 ... Mississippi State 10, Samford 2 ... Tennessee 9, ETSU 6 ... Florida State 10, Florida 2 ... Louisiana Tech 13, Ole Miss 1 ... LSU 10, SE Louisiana 7 ... Texas A&M 9, Houston 4.