"Scott Hundley has been terrific in every way," remarked Coach Kevin Stallings after Hundley's 13-point, 8-rebound outing in Vandy's most recent win, 83-63 over Michigan. "It's kinda funny, when guys get to be seniors... Scott is playing as close to his potential and as well as any player on our team."
In his first three years as a Commodore, Hundley has been in the starting lineup only eight times, and had averaged only 13 minutes per game. Thus far in his senior year, the former Mr. Basketball from Kentucky has no starts, and has averaged only a little over 20 minutes.
But the way he has made the most of his minutes, one wonders if that might change soon.
"I enjoy coming off the bench," Hundley said after the Michigan win. "It gives me an opportunity to get a look at the game and see what the team needs me to do. [The coaches] needed someone to spark the offense. I tried to get into the gaps and penetrate, and give the open man the ball.
"I think I fit the role because I just enjoy it."
Of all the current Commodore players, Hundley has perhaps exemplified the selfless attitude that has contributed to the team's fast start. A screen here, a rebound there, a charge taken over here. In his first three years as a Commodore, savvy fans got used to seeing Hundley contribute a couple of assists, a couple of rebounds, a blocked shot or two, and a whole lot of hustle in his frequent appearances off the bench.
But so far this season, the numbers have started to come in other areas. From the field, Hundley is 25-of-36 for an astounding 69%. From the free-throw line he's 9-of-11. He's the team's second-leading scorer behind Freije, with 12.2 points per game.
Hundley has been a monster on the boards as well. Including his last three games from last season, Hundley is averaging 5.8 per game.
"Scott Hundley had five offensive rebounds," raved Stallings after the Michigan game. "He's the reboundingest son-of-a-gun for a guy that is 6-4."
A post player at Scott County High School, Hundley was able to develop his instincts for which direction a missed shot would carom, and those instincts are serving him well in the college game, he says.
"Over time, I got a good feel for where the ball would be coming off," he said. "Now, today, I can use that as a perimeter player, and it gives me a big advantage over other perimeter players."
Like many of his teammates, Hundley seemed to enter the season a little stronger, a little quicker.
"Coach asked that we all get in the weight room and gain a little muscle mass over the offseason," Hundley told VandyMania recently. "He felt like we got pushed around a little bit last year. As a whole team, we committed ourselves to get bigger and stronger to get ready for this season, and I think it's paid off."
Unlike the post players like Freije, Julian Terrell and David Przybyszewski, Hundley didn't seen any dramatic weight gains in the off-season. "But I've definitely increased my strength," he said. " I haven't increased my weight much-- it stays pretty consistent. I've definitely gotten stronger though, and I think everybody can see that."
Suddenly, a team that went 3-13 in its conference last year is off to a 5-0 start, and the competition hasn't exactly been chopped liver. Hundley is quick to attribute Vanderbilt's quick start to a strong off-season work ethic and a universally unselfish attitude among the players.
"Everybody just has such a great attitude this year," said Hundley. "We've all just gotten tired of losing, so we've all just committed to giving the same level of effort.
"Then there's the seniority on the team. We all-- me, Russ, Freege and Martin-- we've been trying to step up and provide a little solid leadership for the younger guys. Coach Stallings looks to us in practice-- if something is going wrong, he doesn't have to correct it himself. He'll allow us to correct it.
"It's helped practice go better, and it's helped the younger guys to look to us when something's going wrong, and we can correct our own problems.
Though the team's quick start has fueled fans' excitement and raised expectations exponentially, Hundley is quick to point out that March is still a long way off. A grueling conference season awaits, and every game counts toward the post-season-- including the next one, Wednesday vs. Tennessee State at 7 p.m.
"We're just looking at every game individually, and we've taken them all very seriously," he said. "We've just been playing our game, playing good defense. We haven't had a bad shooting night yet, either."