Stallings, Byars Earn Honors from TSWA

Vanderbilt men's basketball head coach Kevin Stallings and recently graduated senior swingman Derrick Byars earned awards for an outstanding 2006-07 campaign from the Tennessee Sports Writers Association (TSWA) recently.

Stallings was named the state's men's college coach of the year while Byars earned recognition as Tennessee's men's college player of the year. Byars also was named to the all-state team along with Joey Dorsey and Chris Douglas-Roberts of Memphis, Justin Hare of Belmont and Chris Lofton of Tennessee.

Stallings earned coach of the year accolades from his peers in the Southeastern Conference following Vanderbilt's 22-12 season that included a second-place finish in the SEC Eastern Division and a run to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16.

Byars also garnered SEC player of the year honors from the league's coaches after ranking among the conference leaders in an SEC-best nine categories. He averaged 17.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists for the year and led the Commodores in scoring in 14 of their last 20 games.

The all-state teams were selected by a vote of TSWA members and announced on June 23.

The players and coaches of the year will be presented their awards during the annual TSWA Convention in July in Nashville.

TSWA Men's Coach of the Year
Kevin Stallings, Vanderbilt University

Named the 2007 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year ... orchestrated the Commodores standout 2007 campaign that was capped off with the school's second visit to the Sweet 16 in the last four years ... after starting the season 1-3 and losing the services of starting center Alan Metcalfe with a broken left foot, Stallings and his staff reorganized the Commodore attack and directed Vanderbilt to a 22-12 overall record during the season ... The Commodores beat a school-record six nationally ranked teams during the regular season - a number that ranked third most in the country behind only UCLA and North Carolina. Vanderbilt defeated topped-ranked and eventual national champion Florida, 83-70, on Feb. 17 and swept SEC traditional power Kentucky for the second consecutive season ... Vanderbilt finished with the second-most league wins in the SEC with 10 and became the only squad in the league to never lose back-to-back conference games during the year ... Stallings tutored senior wing player Derrick Byars who blossomed in his final season in Nashville and was named the 2007 SEC Player of the Year by the league's coaches ... The Commodores were ranked in the national polls for the first time since 2004.

TSWA Men's Player of the Year
Derrick Byars, Vanderbilt University

Guard/Forward, Memphis, Tenn.
Named 2007 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and unanimous First-Team All-SEC selection by the league's coaches ... helped lead the Commodores to a 22-12 overall record, the second most league wins in the SEC (10) and a visit to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament ... finished the year ranked among the SEC leaders in a league-high nine statistical categories: scoring (fourth at 17.0), 3-pointers per game (eighth at 2.32), field goal percentage (ninth at .457), 3-point field goal percentage (ninth at .373), steals (11th at 1.41), free throw percentage (12th at .711), assists (12th at 3.41), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.45-to-1) and rebounding (23rd at 4.9) ... finished second in scoring with 19.1 points per game during league play ... A two-time SEC Player of the Week selection, Byars led the Commodores in scoring 17 times during the season, including 14 of 20 games from the start of conference play through the postseason. He also led Vanderbilt in scoring in seven of its 10 games against ranked opponents, averaging 20.2 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 51.4 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from 3-point range ... netted 24 points on 11-of-19 shooting in Vanderbilt's 83-70 victory against then-No. 1 Florida. He posted 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting to go with seven rebounds in an 82-81 win over then-No. 16 Tennessee. He willed Vanderbilt to the Sweet 16, pouring in 19 of his game-high 27 points after intermission during the Commodores' 78-74 double-overtime thriller against then-No. 13 Washington State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament ... finished the year as the team leader in scoring (17.0), assists (3.4) and steals (1.4). Top Stories