Pt 2: Vandy campers continue summer stories

Vanderbilt's returning veterans were in a talkative mood this week as they assisted younger players during the program's girls' basketball series of camps. In Part 2 of VandyMania's look at what the ‘Dores did with a month-long break, rising junior Jordan Coleman and four sophomores dished on rehab, travel and family time.

Jordan Coleman, hair pulled back and a binder in her hands, watched intently as her little charges scurried around the court. For much of the 2009-10 season, Jordan also observed from the sidelines. The Floridian started the season strong, posting high team stats until her leg buckled eight minutes from the final buzzer on December 3. The ACL tear suffered in the Wright State game ripped a promising season from the sophomore and threw the Commodores into a brief tailspin as adjustments were made without her post presence.

Hours on the stationary bike and other physical therapy have helped. Today she is running and lifting weights as the rehabilitation continues. There were also pickup games with her sister's 14-and-under team. Now, whether that truly made a difference, she is undecided. "It was so intense. It was ridiculous," she says laughing. "I guess it didn't really count." Jordan also followed her family to Daytona Beach, far enough from the oil spill her mother feared might wash up on shore.


Jordan dishes out pizza to a crowd of youngsters.

Jordan arrived on campus early to maintain rehabilitation along with teammates Stephanie Holzer and incoming freshman Kayci Ferriss, a 6-8 center who sat out her senior Smith County school year with a stress fracture. The trio has already settled into summer dorms and will remain when others depart until the new term in July.

Stephanie, who was off crutches during most of the SEC season, has made great progress since surgery on a fractured ankle early last season.

"My ankle is feeling really good, really strong," she said. "I'm working with (trainer) Michelle Loftis and Tash (Weddle) every day, getting better, getting stronger. I'm doing rehab in the morning and workouts in the afternoon and I'm doing very well. I'm really happy with where I am. The doctors are happy with where I am and Michelle is happy, so hopefully everything will go as planned this time."

The Philly native is working her first Vandy ball camp and is delighting the 4th- and 5th-grade youngsters who circle her. "They are crazy but I love them. They want to hold my hand. They get on my back, whatever makes them happy, right?"

Atlanta teammates Tiffany Clarke and Elan Brown headed home after the recent term, but haven't been there long enough to connect or exercise together.


Stephanie and Tiffany on break before lunch.

"Besides working out, I've just been traveling and vacationing a lot," Tiffany said. The post player is stringing trips to D.C. and New York together after the camp to visit friends, including one who plays football for Maryland.

Elan headed to the Deep South where she and her mom visited her sister in New Orleans, the birthplace of Elan's Creole French family. "My sister had graduated from New Orleans' Xavier. We just hung out. I hadn't seen her in a while. When I got home, I ran with family mostly."


Elan gets drinks ready for the campers' lunch.

Elan was faithful to the workout plan devised for the break by Strength & Conditioning Coach Tasha Weddle. A Vandy practice player from previous seasons had moved to Atlanta so she had a substitute workout partner while Tiffany was in Orlando.


Gabby works with mini-ballers in a group circle.

Gabby Smith, who has worked with youth before as an active volunteer in Cincinnati, also enjoyed family time. One of six children, Gabby had options. Her brother plays lacrosse for West Point, and she attended his tournament. After that she went to Michigan with her grandmother to visit more family. When the Cincinnati native returned home, she "hung out with my friends and worked out." Her sister, who plays basketball for the University of Charleston, came home and joined Gabby in all of her workouts.

With the week of camp now over, July 11 is circled as the date when the entire team is due back in Nashville. Pickup games, conditioning and summer classes will begin; official practices start in October. The 2010-11 season, will all its promise, will soon be under way.

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