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May 8, 2012

Vanderbilt gains Tulsa transfer

Just days after Vanderbilt gained a big commitment from Beaver Falls (Pa.) senior forward Sheldon Jeter, the Commodore staff has added a significant transfer in the form of Tulsa freshman guard Eric McClellan.

The 6-foot-4 Austin (Texas) native visited the school on Monday and soon made a commitment to enroll at the school this summer. He will sit out this coming season due to NCAA transfer rules but will have three years of playing eligibility starting in the 2013-2014 season.

McClellan, who received a release from Tulsa just a few weeks ago, saw interest from many schools and eventually chose the Commodores over Baylor, Gonzaga, Illinois, Marquette, and Nebraska. He announced his decision via Twitter late Monday night.

"I'm Officially A Vanderbilt Commodore! Truly Blessed For This Opportunity! Can't Express How Grateful I Am!," McClellan wrote.

Though ultimately considered a Top 50 prospect in the state of Texas during the 2011 recruiting period, McClellan was a bit of a late riser. He led Austin High to a 29-4 record during his senior year while averaging 18.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists. He led the Maroons to a UIL District 15-5A title and its first playoff victory in over 50 years during that season.

He received numerous offers from schools like SMU, Wichita State, Tulane, Pepperdine, Northeastern and others, but it was a relationship with then Tulsa recruiting coordinator David Cason and head coach Doug Wojcik that ultimately led to McClellan choosing the Golden Hurricane during the regular signing period that April.

McClellan emerged as a starter during the second half of his true freshman season, averaging 8.5 points, 2.2 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game for the Golden Hurricane. The wirey combo guard also shot 38.3-percent from behind the arc as well as 74-percent from the free throw line while averaging a little over 23 minutes a game. He reached double digits in scoring on 11 occasions including a career-high 25 points in the Hurricane's triple-overtime loss to Marshall during the Conference USA Tournament.

He's described as a smooth ball handler with the ability to hit the open three and score in traffic. He's also shown the ability to push the tempo and distribute off of dribble penetration. His length and alertness also makes him a capable defender. McClellan was third on the team with 20 steals last season.

McClellan now reunites Cason at Vanderbilt and figures to give the Commodore backcourt even more versatility going forward. Though considered more of a point guard, he can play some two, which could allow Vanderbilt play with a quicker, three-guard lineup moving forward.

The Commodores lose six members from last season's SEC Tournament Championship squad and will have no seniors next season as well as only two juniors.

Commodore head coach Kevin Stallings indicated to the Tennessean today that his 2012 recruiting class is probably complete. In addition to Sheldon Jeter and McClellan, the Commodores signed guard A.J. Astroth and wing Kevin Bright during the November signing period last fall.

Vanderbilt would appear to have at least two open scholarships to use for the upcoming 2013 recruiting class.





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