October 4, 2012
Hoops rebuilding with new freshmen
Last year, 12-year Vanderbilt head basketball coach Kevin Stallings had the Proverbial stars align, with five starters that had been in the program a combined 20 years. Three of those players were drafted by NBA franchises, two in the first round.
Inevitably, when you have all that talent going out at one time, it leaves a giant hole. That hole will be filled, at least initially, with three true freshmen who know the spotlight will be on them.
"We know we followed a great group of players," said freshman A.J. Astroth, a 6-foot-5 wing from Florida. "But the three of us are excited about the challenge."
Despite the fact that practice hasn't even officially started, the challenge has already been posed by some of their classmates. New faces brings a level of curiosity that Stallings hasn't had since Stallings landed his career's best recruiting class five years ago. That class included Jeffrey Taylor, who started every game he played in during his four years in Nashville.
Taylor is now playing for the Carolina Bobcats, and appears destined for a very long stay in the NBA. But he leaves a massive hole on both ends of the court for a VU program that plays in a conference that takes no prisoners.
Sheldon Jeter"A lot of people have asked me if I will be the next Jeffrey Taylor," said Sheldon Jeter, a 6-foot-7 wing from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. "I just say, I want to be the best player I can be. I'm not trying to be anyone but me."
"Me" may not be that much of a fallback. Jeter is easily the most heavily recruited player in the group. The Pennsylvania All-State first teamer was offered a scholarship by a huge array of well-known basketball programs.
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