DePaul Blue Demons vs. #20 Vanderbilt Commodores - Wednesday, December 12th, 7:00 p.m. – Allstate Arena – Rosemont, Illinois
Television – ESPN Classic
Radio – Sirius Channel 114
Internet Radio Links to Listen Live -
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Vanderbilt Athletics Site
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Game Preview – Unbeaten Vanderbilt rolls into Allstate Arena - by Mike Whiteside
When most people over the age of 40 hear the name The Commodores, their minds immediately conjure up images of the 1970's R&B ensemble led by the world-famous Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter, Lionel Richie, which produced numerous smash hits such as Brick House and Easy.
But these days another group of Commodores from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee are taking the college basketball world by storm. In a city known much more for country music and The Grand Ole Opry than for top-flight college hoops, Coach Kevin Stallings and his own band of Commodores are making their mark on the national stage with a perfect 9-0 record and a top-20 ranking in this week's AP poll.
After last season becoming one of only two Southeastern Conference schools to reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament twice during the last four years (along with the two-time national champion Florida Gators), "Vandy" has already notched impressive wins this year over traditional college basketball stalwarts like Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Bradley.
Now in his ninth season at Vandy, Stallings' team hasn't missed a beat after losing seniors Derrick Byars (17.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg), the SEC Player of the Year; Dan Cage (11.2 ppg, 2.2 apg); and Ted Skuchas (4.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg). The Commodores were picked to finish fifth in the SEC's Eastern Division before the season.
This year's Commodores squad features the SEC's top two leading scorers in 6-6 senior wing, Shan Foster (20.4 ppg) and 6-10, 250-pound freshman big man A.J. Ogilvy (19.6 ppg), who came to Nashville by way of the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, Australia.
Known for his sweet shooting stroke, Foster leads Vandy with 37 3-pointers made out of 69 attempts (53.6%) and ranks third on the team in rebounding at 4.7 rpg. Foster also leads the way for the Commodores on the defensive end of the court with 1.3 steals per game.
Already being touted by NBA scouts and personnel directors as a potential lottery pick in next June's draft, Ogilvy brings a wealth of international experience with him after averaging 22.3 ppg and 9.8 rpg in nine games for his home country in this summer's FIBA Under-19 World Championships.
Ogilvy leads Vandy in rebounding (6.3 rpg) and blocks (1.4 bpg) while shooting a spectacular 70.1% from the field and 78.3% from the foul line.
Besides Foster, additional senior leadership is provided by point guard Alex Gordon (10.2 ppg, 3.7 apg) and 6-9 power forward Ross Neltner (9.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg).
Sophomore Jermaine Beal, a 6-3 guard, is Vandy's assists leader with 5.0 helpers per contest to go along with a 7.4 ppg scoring average.
As of Tuesday, Blue Demon freshmen Mario Stula and Kene Obi had not yet been cleared to play by the NCAA. Senior center Wesley Green's status is to be determined after being benched due to timing issues on the team's road trip at Kansas last weekend.
DePaul Coach Jerry Wainwright on the Commodores – By S. Newhouse
"Vanderbilt is a legit top 25 (team). If they stay healthy, I think they are one of the favorites in the (East division) of the SEC. You can put a label on them that they have the potential to be a Sweet 16 team or higher just by seed alone. They have a tremendous new player in Ogilvy. I saw him play for Australia in the 19-and-unders (in Serbia). I think he's really hardened his body up. He's a really experienced international player, a little bit quicker than Andy Bogut. They're kind of similar, kind of a do-all guy, pass, rebound. They've got big guys who are terrific free throw shooters. He really knows how to play basketball. Vanderbilt has always been a good three point shooting team, but now they have the depth and a definitive inside presence."
"They're like a 75% free throw shooting team. They have an outside player who's obviously as good as anybody in the SEC in Shan Foster. I have great respect for his game. He's a proven older player. They have a really, really good basketball team. They pass, they move. They are very skilled. Because of that in the early going, they've been overpowering."
NO NAME Class Pos. Height Weight Hometown/Previous School
0 Jermaine Beal SO G 6-3 210 DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto
13 Keegan Bell FR G 6-1 180 Hazel Green, Ala./Hazel Green
15 Elliott Cole FR G 5-11 175 Memphis, Tenn./Memphis U. School
34 George Drake RS SO G 6-4 210 Calera, Ala./Calera
50 Joe Duffy FR F 6-8 225 Charotte, N.C./Phillips Exeter Acad. (N.H.)/Charlotte Catholic
1 Festus Ezeli FR C 6-11 245 Benin City, Nigeria/Igbinedion Education Center
32 Shan Foster SR G/F 6-6 205 Kenner, La./Bonnabel
3 Alex Gordon SR G 6-0 170 Pensacola, Fla./Pensacola
2 Charles Hinkle FR G/F 6-5 200 Los Alamitos, Calif./Hebron Academy (Maine)/Los Alamitos HS
21 Darshawn McClellan FR F 6-7 220 Fresno, Calif./Edison
11 Alan Metcalfe SR F 6-9 265 St. Helens, England/Notre Dame Academy (Va.)
41 Ross Neltner SR F 6-9 238 Fort Thomas, Ky./LSU
Davis Nwankwo SR F 6-10 245 College Park, Md./Georgetown Prep
4 Andrew Ogilvy FR C 6-11 250 Sydney, Australia/Australian Institute of Sports
24 Andre Walker FR F 6-8 214 Flossmoor, Ill./Brewster Acad. (N.H.)/Homewood-Flossmoor
DePaul vs. Vanderbilt Game Preview
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