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Vanderbilt Basketball Player Preview: Emmanuel Ansong

Sometimes, you just have to use a scholarship.

Syndication: Green Bay Press-Gazette Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK

In some ways, you have to like a guy like Emmanuel Ansong. The 6’4”, 195-pound fifth-year senior from New Jersey started his college career at Wheeling University, a Division II school. After two years there, he transferred to Green Bay, where he played two years and started all 28 games he appeared in for the Phoenix last season, averaging 11 ppg and 5 rpg. He shot 56.9 percent inside the arc and was arguably the team’s best player, albeit a very bad team that went 5-25 and finished 11th in the 12-team Horizon League.

What I don’t know is how all of that translates to the SEC. This is always the hard part of projecting transfers from the mid-major level to a power conference: sometimes, a good player at a mid-major is just that, and they’re little more than a benchwarmer in a power conference, but there are instances of a good player on a bad mid-major team carving out a role on a power conference team as well. I just don’t know that I see it here: he’s a guy who from all appearances is more comfortable playing inside the arc, but at a size (6’4”, 195 pounds) that’s usually more associated with guards in the SEC. And, sure, Vanderbilt got something out of an undersized power forward last year in Jamaine Mann (who was listed at 6’6”, but was probably closer to 6’4” in reality), but Mann was a lot more solidly built than 195 pounds.

Of course, all this is tempered by the fact that Ansong was a very late pickup, transferring in because Jerry Stackhouse still had a scholarship available in August. The other option wasn’t to add a better player; it was to play the 2022-23 season with 12 scholarship players, or putting a walk-on on scholarship. There are certainly worse uses of the team’s 13th scholarship, and if Vanderbilt gets anything out of Ansong, it will be a win.