A while back, former Vanderbilt player Matthew Fisher-Davis said on Twitter (and I’m not going to go find the exact tweet) that in the transfer portal era, signing a freshman has ended up being like a one-year tryout for the player.
Noah Shelby came in to Vanderbilt as a four-star recruit. You’d have thought entering the season that he would displace Trey Thomas in Vanderbilt’s backcourt rotation; instead, Shelby played the second-fewest minutes on the team, and that was only because Lee Dort missed a significant portion of the season due to injury. He had a stretch of seven games in the middle of the season where he played 88 minutes total, and posted 12 points and a season-high 15 minutes at Tennessee. After an 0-for-5 performance against Alabama on January 17, though, he only appeared in four games — and none after February 14.
For a guy who was fairly highly touted to be this little-used — when, again, playing time was available — was strange to see. Shelby shot 14-of-45 on the season from three-point range, and Jerry Stackhouse would hint at problems on the defensive end when asked about it, because Shelby’s lack of playing time was a frequent question throughout the season. But I had though entering the season that Shelby would play the most of the freshmen simply because he had the clearest path to playing time of the five and, instead, he played the least, and nobody really knew what to think of that.
With all that said, statistically Shelby didn’t contribute much of anything other than occasionally hitting a three-pointer, and he didn’t do that nearly often enough to be the kind of player you can carry as a three-point shooting specialist. He elected to transfer shortly after the season and wound up at Rice, which will be playing in the AAC next season.