What else can I say about Scotty Pippen’s sophomore season at Vanderbilt?
Pippen, something of an afterthought in the 2019 recruiting class (when he was a late signee whose best competing offer was from, like, Washington State), came to Vanderbilt and was a starter from the jump, averaging 12 ppg and 3.6 assists as a freshman. I thought after his freshman season that Pippen struck me as a Riley LaChance type, where what you see is what you get and he’d probably top out as a guy who averaged 15 ppg or so.
Well, that was clearly wrong. Pippen upped his scoring average to 20.8 ppg, second in the SEC behind LSU’s Cameron Thomas, and managed to do it without sacrificing his ability as a creator and distributor: he also ranked second in the SEC (behind Georgia’s Sahvir Wheeler) in assists per game. Some of that was simple shot volume; Pippen averaged 14.5 field goal attempts per game. You have to go back to Dan Langhi’s senior season in 2000 to find the last time a Vanderbilt player took more shots than that, and Langhi averaged 22.1 ppg and was the SEC Player of the Year.
Of course, that team came very close to making the NCAA Tournament (and really should have, but Fuck Vandy rules were applied by the NCAA.) Last year’s team came nowhere close to making the tournament, even with Scotty’s contributions. And his shooting percentages admittedly weren’t great, though they were passable for a high-volume guy. But when he was on, he could completely take over a game — as he did in a 36-point outing at Cincinnati in the last week of the regular season. And he was excellent at getting to the foul line; in his final six games of the season, he attempted 62 free throws.
Scotty is back for another season, and what I would like to see this time around is better efficiency. But what we’re already seeing is very good.
And with that, the player report cards are complete. You may stop your running joke in the comments.