I’m learning about this year’s basketball team at basically the same time all of you do, but something that’s quietly impressed me about this team as I’m doing write-ups on the five-man freshman class is that for the most part, Vanderbilt doesn’t need any of these guys right away.
Case in point: Noah Shelby is a talented combo guard. He was ranked #86 in the Rivals 150 and #117 on 247 Sports, he can play the point and appears to have a good jump shot, and while he’s a bit undersized to play the two-guard in the SEC at 6’3” and 180 pounds, he can probably handle it.
He’s ranked about where Riley LaChance was coming out of high school, but where Kevin Stallings basically had no choice but to throw LaChance into the fire right away because the guards on the team the previous year had found their way out of the program in one way or another, Vanderbilt enters this season not really needing a whole lot of Shelby. UC-Davis transfer Ezra Manjon will likely start at the point, and Tyrin Lawrence will play a lot at the two.
Now, Manjon and Lawrence aren’t great by any stretch, but they’re also good enough that I can’t look at Shelby and say “this guy will start right away.” And that’s not a bad position to be in. If Shelby is better than those guys, he’ll play, and that’s a good thing. If he needs a year to adjust to the college game, that’s fine, too; Vanderbilt can get by with Manjon and Lawrence (and Trey Thomas, for that matter.)
With all that said, there’s a lot of potential here, and Shelby is going to be a good player for us by his sophomore year at the latest. I just don’t know how much Vanderbilt is going to lean on him as a freshman, but I’d guess he’ll be playing 15-20 a minutes a game.