Of Vanderbilt’s three (true) freshmen, Shane Dezonie came in with the most expectations, as a four-star recruit ranked in the top 100 by both Rivals and 247 Sports, and he came into a situation where playing time was certainly there for a 6’5” shooting guard. In theory, Dezonie was walking into a spot where he could claim the starting spot at shooting guard alongside Scotty Pippen Jr., sliding Jordan Wright and Myles Stute to their more natural positions and Rodney Chatman into a role as a third guard off the bench.
That was the plan, anyway, and Dezonie played a decent amount of minutes early in the season: 25 minutes and 9 points at SMU, 25 minutes and 10 points at Hawaii. But instead, when Chatman returned from an early-season injury, Dezonie found himself coming off the bench — and at times, Jerry Stackhouse decided that walk-on Drew Weikert was a better option. In ten SEC games, including the last seven of the regular season, Dezonie saw fewer than ten minutes of action. He had a brief resurgence in the SEC Tournament before playing a grand total of 18 minutes in Vanderbilt’s three NIT games.
Certainly, we saw considerable upside in Dezonie’s performance — he probably isn’t really a 56 percent three-point shooter (nobody is), but even if he’d settled in as a 40-45 percent shooter, that’s really valuable to have around. The main problem was an absurdly high turnover rate (34.9%, and 38.0% in SEC play) that limited his value; Dezonie also was relatively foul-prone, though his limited minutes meant that he was never really in foul trouble.
Unlike fellow freshman Gabe Dorsey (who’s also now out of the program), it really did look like there was something to work with here; Dezonie probably would have developed into a three-point shooting specialist at worst and might have had upside beyond that. Unfortunately, he’s off to St. Joseph’s as a transfer. He’s leaving before Vanderbilt really has a chance to see his upside, and as such, we’re grading his actual performance while he was here.