Vanderbilt needed to make a splash hire after firing Bryce Drew.
New athletic director Malcolm Turner wasted no time in finding a splashy replacement in Jerry Stackhouse.
The Commodores finished 9-23, including 0-18 in SEC play. True freshman point guard Darius Garland, a 5-star recruit and likely NBA lottery pick, played in five games before suffering a season-ending injury.
Drew recruited well, but the SEC’s first winless conference season since Georgia Tech in 1954 was too much to overcome.
Stackhouse, a North Carolina legend and NBA star, turned to coaching in 2015.
Recruits, and especially their parents, will recognize the Stackhouse name. But he’s earned recognition as a coach as well, earning NBA G-league Coach of the Year in 2017.
Stackhouse also has an AAU background. He founded Stackhouse Elite, which has produced Brandon Ingram (Los Angeles Lakers) and Romello White (Arizona State). AAU basketball plays a pivotal role in college basketball recruiting, which could help Stackhouse maintain the recruiting level that Drew achieved.
Vanderbilt has made the NCAA Tournament in eight of the last 16 years, and at least half the SEC’s schools have made the field in each of the last two seasons. There are expectations in basketball, even at Vanderbilt.
Still, fans will need to be patient with the 44-year-old Stackhouse. Fortunately for the new coach, Turner (the athletic director and his boss) oversaw the G-League.
Stackhouse will need to win recruiting battles (and games) against the likes of John Calipari, Rick Barnes, Bruce Pearl, not to mention former AAU coach and NBA standout Penny Hardaway at Memphis.
Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, who coached Stackhouse for two NBA seasons, is among those predicting success at Vanderbilt. Carlisle cited Stackhouse’s willingness to coach in the G-League.
“A lot of guys wouldn’t want to do that,” Carlisle said, according to The Associated Press.
“That showed real humility and respect for the game. “I figured that Stack would be an NBA coach at some point. So his decision to go to college is probably a little bit surprising to some. Vanderbilt’s an amazing school. He’s got an iron will. I’m sure he’ll turn it around there.”