Golden Hammer's Hoops and Football Notes

It's no secret that Vanderbilt suffered one of its worst and most embarrassing losses in school history against Florida. The loss was complete in every phase of the game, and the contest was well out of hand soon after it began.

The Hammer is still stinging from the spanking placed on VU by Florida, and I just do not feel like writing about it. I am pretty sure most of you have heard enough about it by now as well, so enjoy these college football and VU hoops notes and analysis. hammer's notes Academic Annihilation: It's no secret that Vanderbilt suffered one of its worst and most embarrassing losses in school history against Florida. The loss was complete in every phase of the game, and the contest was well out of hand soon after it began. After viewing our complete self-destruction (and admittedly during it), I began my usual ritual of watching about every other game I could catch throughout the day, and I began noticing a disturbing trend. The premier academic teams in major conferences, even those who were supposed to carry the banner of great academics and good football, were being trounced at every turn. Even the media darlings like Stanford and Northwestern were suffering large beatings, especially in the first half. Virtually every game was over by halftime, even a favored Northwestern was behind by an astonishing 42 points against an Indiana team with a coach on the hottest of seats.

Noticing the trend I decided to do an analysis of each major conference containing a distinctly different private, nationally-respected school and their games last weekend. Most of the games, except Northwestern-Indiana and Duke-NC State, pitted their conference's "Vanderbilt" against a nationally ranked conference foe, and the results were not pretty.

Private versus Public

Conference Match-up Halftime Score Final Score
ACC Duke NC State NCST 49 Duke 7 NCST 55 Duke 31
Big 10 Northwestern Indiana Indiana 42 NU 0 Indiana 56 NU 21
Big 12 Baylor Texas Texas 28 Baylor 10 Texas 49 Baylor 10
PAC 10 Stanford Washington Washington 21 Stanford 10 Washington 42 Stanford 28
SEC Vanderbilt Florida Florida 37 Vanderbilt 0 Florida 71 Vanderbilt 13
WAC Rice Fresno State Fresno 31 Rice 17 Fresno 52 Rice 24

AVG SCORES Public 35 Private 8 Public 54 Private 21

  • The absolute shocker of the lot had to be the Northwestern - Indiana game. Northwestern was getting battered 42 to 0 at halftime and surrendered more than 550 yards to a bad Indiana team. Keep in mind that Indiana had a worse record coming into the game than Vanderbilt.
  • Not surprisingly, the only team to be competitive was Stanford versus Washington. The Huskies are enjoying a second straight strong season under Rick Neuheisel, but Stanford had been rolling as well with an outside shot at the BCS title game after consecutive big wins over Oregon and UCLA.
  • Duke had a huge second half out of Junior quarterback D (no period, full name) Bryant, who exploded for 400 yards passing and 24 second half points. Despite the outburst they were still soundly beaten and dominated.

The Fresh Faces: Anxious to put the football debacle behind me, I decided to arrive for the first shoot-around at Memorial Gym before the Commodores debuted the 2001-2002 edition. I got to see all of the shoot-rounds and warm-ups from courtside, which afforded me the chance to watch each of the newcomers. Here are my initial impressions after warm-ups and the game:

  • Jason Holwerda - Despite reports on the message board, I thought he looked very nervous in the final shoot-around. It showed in his mannerisms and several very short shots. I think it carried over into his play initially, as he was very passive in the offense and with the ball. That is in stark contrast to one of the most in charge players I have ever witnessed on the high school level. Defensively he may have been overly zealous to help in the man to man for a good portion of his 15 minutes. Midway through his second stint of action, it seemed like he really began feeling good on the court, and his aggressiveness picked up considerably. He rebounded, literally, from his timid start to be tied for second in rebounding with 4 (including 2 offensive). Jason did have one turnover, but it was a "good" one if any turnover can be. He showed tremendous court vision making a pass to the open man under the basket. When he gets comfortable, we will have quite a player. He has tremendous elevation on his jumper, and he can get red hot shooting the ball to go along with his wiry athleticism.
  • David Przybyszewski - The talk of his shooting ability has not been hype, it is for real. David is nearly automatic during the shoot-around from a variety of ranges. In the early shoot-around he worked on his turn-around jumper and soft hook shot with others. These are skills that could use some improving, but are still fairly well-developed. David needs to be much more intelligent with his fouls, as most of them came away from the action around the basket. If he is going to pick up fouls, I would much rather see them being picked up during rebounding or defensive efforts in the paint. He also appeared too tentative during many rebounding opportunities, and his rebounding effort and desire need to improve dramatically for VU to be successful. David probably will not start very often, but very likely will be the first post off the bench spelling either the 4 or 5 positions.
  • Corey Smith - Though Corey saw the fewest minutes of any scholarship player, he was easily the most efficient player in the game. In warm-ups Corey was very focused and intense, and displayed an adequate shot. On the court Smith appears to have a Vince Ford game with a James Strong mindset. He made the right decisions with and without the ball for each of his minutes, and showed a desire to run the floor, especially during a critical transition down the stretch. Smith was perfect from the field and stripe, picked up 3 rebounds, dished out 2 assists, and committed no turnovers. On defense he played tough man. Corey looks like he still has some conditioning to do, but I really like his aggressive mindset and finishing on the break. He does not appear to be one of the best shooters on the team, but first impressions lead me to believe he is a smart shooter, which is almost always better.
  • Brian Thornton - Thornton had to be the surprise of the night. Despite a jumpshot/setshot that requires the extra mechanic and time of moving his feet together before he shoots, he looks to be as complete as a freshman big man can be. Even that mechanical deficiency on his shot, does not keep him from being a capable shooter out to 15 feet. He is much more physically ready than anticipated, and he does not appear afraid to mix it up under the basket. Other than 3 turnovers in 15 minutes of action, he had a very impressive performance. In that limited action he picked up a couple of blocks and 4 rebounds. His physicality and size (at least 6-8, maybe 6-9 to 6-10) and developed game were quite impressive. Thornton looks very comfortable on the court, and very well could start at center by the opening game. Top Stories